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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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Friday - February 13, 2015

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need suggestions for material to build a raised bed garden
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am starting a raised bed garden but cannot find untreated railroad ties or landscape timbers. Does anyone have a source in the Austin or Dripping Springs area? I have tried McCoys, Home Depot, Natural Gardener already but no luck. Thank you.

ANSWER:

It would seem to Mr. Smarty Plants that all wooden railroad cross ties, and wood sold as landscalpe timbers are treated. What you might want to do is consider non wood materias; stone or plastic wood or natural wood that is rot resistant.

This link to University of Missouri Extension discusses several aspects of establishing raised bed gardens. Another link to Better Homes and Gardens  discourages the use of creosote treated cross ties and suggests other materials. Try this link for a list of rot-resistant woods that you might consider. This link to the US Forest Service also has a list of rot-resistant woods.

GIven your location in Dripping Springs, you might consider using Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) which is rot resistant, and in abundant supply. You might also want to contact the folks at the Travis County Office of Agrilife Extension for their suggestions.

 

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