Suggestions for replacing raised beds

McLardass

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Jun 26, 2020
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in the Mid-Atlantic of the US and have twelve 4ft x 8ft (1.2m x 2.4m) cedar raised beds that have rotted out and need replacing. I'd like to find something that will last longer than the cedar but also not cost a fortune for so many replacements. I've looked into Birdies, Plastic Forests, Trex and similar, stone, and untreated cedar or redwood. Anyone have suggestions for a material that's safe, long-lasting, and cheap? Tall order but I'm out of ideas and trying to keep this within a reasonable budget. Cheers!
 

John M

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Oct 24, 2020
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You could try cinderblocks, bricks, or other types of masonry. Those are all fairly affordable and will last a long time. The only issue might be aesthetics, especially with the cinderblocks.
 

McLardass

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Jun 26, 2020
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Thought about man-made stone as well, not pretty but durable and and relatively cheap. Cinderblocks may contain fly ash (heavy metals) so that's out but new red bricks seem to be fine. Have to run the numbers and see how much everything would cost. I've done some masonry before and after a few years those walls are still mostly level :)
Thanks mate!
 
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daveb

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Oct 22, 2020
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i went with redwood on ones i built for neighbor ages ago , the one trick i found was we actual made the frame work and cover in redwood. the at each corner set a chunk of heave slate block and direct under the area where the bed was going to sit wel set a layer of heavy crush stone about 6 inches wide and 3 inches in height to match the slate. so in fact it raised the wood off the ground, each corner was laidd out and a pin drilled into the slate then down into ground leaving it sticking up so the corner post in the frame had a hole the sat over pin . the raised beds weren't going to move .... i made those 20 years ago with a hinged frame on top with pvc bent and inserted in holes drilled in the 2x4 to make a simple easy greenhouse cover to extend the growing season for them and they have not rotted or shifted because they are up off the ground - any excess water can drain and the coarse broken rock the bugs dont seem to like to well
 

McLardass

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Jun 26, 2020
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Good pointers, I always lay crushed stone below posts so there's drainage underneath to reduce rotting. I used untreated cedar for my current beds, and got 7 or 8 years of life from them, but sections which aren't touching the ground are also rotted through. Pricing out composite and redwood to see what they'll run to replace all the beds. I'd like to build taller beds and do hugelkultur (like Mark does) but that means tripling the height and costs.
 

daveb

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Oct 22, 2020
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i have thought of building some here for myself , i have 4 greenhouses which are getting old and do mostly hydroponics indoors becuase i got injured and cant squat or kneel comfortably anymore. so i am thinking the though to make some the height of a mobile chair where i can reach center from each side. i looked at the composite woods and found most of those dont breath like real wood to let moisture and off gassing because made fro recycles plastic and various poly compound many of which carry questionable compounds. get in friendly with you r local building supplier mom and pop hometown place. and see what they have for damaged bits and pieces of redwood. another thing is there are a few places the harvest cut and sell redwood that is recovered from flooded out areas where dams lakes or water ways flooded and the trees were just left there. but i am not sure who markets it. there are a few wood treatments that are garden safe to treat woods and the arsenic based compounds are gone but even some including Boraxo treated can poison the soil. i have even seen some treated with neem oil which i totally dislike people dont realize the impact neem oit has its not all flowery and good as many claim , so basically only thing i could suggest when you put the wood in the main thing is cedar and redwood and redoak have extremem high levels on taninc tanic acids in the wood so maybe interesting to see if that can prolong normal wood treated with a solution.
 

JoshW

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Mar 29, 2020
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in the Mid-Atlantic of the US and have twelve 4ft x 8ft (1.2m x 2.4m) cedar raised beds that have rotted out and need replacing. I'd like to find something that will last longer than the cedar but also not cost a fortune for so many replacements. I've looked into Birdies, Plastic Forests, Trex and similar, stone, and untreated cedar or redwood. Anyone have suggestions for a material that's safe, long-lasting, and cheap? Tall order but I'm out of ideas and trying to keep this within a reasonable budget. Cheers!
Hi, check out my thread on my raised beds - https://www.selfsufficientculture.com/threads/my-raised-bed-adventure-hugelkultur-inspired.2365/ - you can surely get these materials a lot cheaper than I did also.