Treated pine beds?

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Pauljm, May 23, 2018.

  1. Pauljm

    Pauljm Member Premium Member

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    Hi folks,
    I am after opinions on using treated pine sleepers and fence palings as garden beds. I know they say not to due to leaching into the soil but has anyone ever heard of this causing actual problems or is it just precautionary? The first garden bed I built was out of treated pine sleepers (before I was aware of the issue) and we have grown and eaten tomatoes, beans and broccoli from there with no issues. I have since built several more out of microshade sleepers but now have heaps of old fence palings I was going to utilise as beds. What do you guys think?
    Cheers for any help
    Paul
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I think it is like a lot of things.
    You wont notice it killing you until you get sick then you wonder why you are sick!
    You might be unlikely to think it is the treated pine, preferring to blame something else.
    But in fact we might never know because on the whole we live in a chemical soup created by modernity in general.
    Its precautionary, like not breathing cig smoke or car fumes.
    Eventually they will kill you.
    Its just how much you are prepared to consume before it actually does kill you.
     
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  3. Pauljm

    Pauljm Member Premium Member

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    Yep cool to thanks for the reply Cliss. I have been thinking about it a bit lately as it is time to replant that bed so was considering maybe lining it with weedmatt or something but I’m not sure I will bother this time around. Way too many things to do in the garden first. I have so many gardening questions I could ask I’m regretting starting with such a stupid one!
    Thanks again for the reply.
    Paul
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That's fine Paul. Ask away.
    Your questions help others find their solutions also! ;)

    Also, your treated pine question was not stupid.
    Its a big issue. Everything we touch these days has been polluted by some company purporting to be doing us good in some way.
    The only good they are doing is to their own hip pockets!
    We live in a chemical soup that will kill us one way or another eventually.
    Anyone who has their head in the sand & cant see that, will probably get hit by a bus or something.
    Not that I have anything against the hard working bus drivers to lumber them with such a horrific incident, but if people think they can remain healthy & untouched by todays physical environment, does have their head some place dark & cant see the road ahead!

    Back to your question, Paul.
    One way to help avoid the nasties in treated pine is not to plant to close to the boards.
    Leaving a clear boarder of, say, 20-30cm might be all that's needed to avoid the leaching of the chemicals.
     
  5. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I was considering the same issue recently, the treated pine is so much cheaper than a good hardwood.

    Try your local salvage place if you have one. I've found some super bargains over the years, they often have big rough cut Jarrah seconds in here in Perth that are great for garden beds.For about $70 I got what would have cost maybe $300 at Bunnings.

    For recycling the fence palings, you could use them to make a frame for shade cloth maybe. It would be a shame to waste the wood.
     
  6. Pauljm

    Pauljm Member Premium Member

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    Yeah thanks guys, as you said Andrew I didn’t want 200 palings just going to the tip so I wanted to try utilise them. Still in 2 minds though. Our local salvage yard seems really expensive but good idea I will go have a look. The microshade sleepers at Bunnings are a few $ more but are apparently safe for veg gardens. That is what I have been using.
    Cheers
    Paul
     
  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I got my palings from 2 fences of different heights.
    They have been very valuable to me for all kinds of requirements.
    Since I have ravenous white ants here, I sit everything on small pellets I make from the palings.
    The white ants are so bad they even get into any bag of potting mix I leave sitting on the ground against the wall of the garden shed!
    So I lay a few palings down then an empty potting mix bag & put my full bags on that.
    Also my garden tools with wooden handles are always at risk of invasion by white ants so I made a 'floor' to rest them on using the palings.
    I made ornamental garden 'picket' fence panels from the palings with the longer ones forming the frame of the panel & the shorter palings making the pickets. The panels are small enough for me to move around to rearrange if needed. The hardwood is fairly heavy so I had to be mindful of the finished weight of the panels.
    I used more to make similar panels for the chook pen.

    One fence was quite old & made from good hardwood so the palings were still very strong. Such a pity to throw away quality hardwood when it still had so much life in it.
    When I created my roundabout garden using all the old outdoor chairs, I laid palings on the ground & sat the legs of the chairs on them so the legs would not sink into the ground with the weight of the full container on each chair.
    Then I sat more palings across the arms so my containers ended up at my waist height for ease of use since my back is so bad.
    I used up half the load doing that.
    Here's a photo I took for another purpose but you can see how I used so many palings. Not only did I place a container on each chair but I spaced the chairs so I could fit another similar container between the chairs all resting on palings. Some chairs have 2 palings across the arms while others have 3, same with the spaces between the chairs, because some containers were not as strong as others & tended to slump once filled with the heavy wetted medium.
    This system has been very successful for me.

    container gardening 4 July cropping.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  8. Pauljm

    Pauljm Member Premium Member

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    That is awesome!
     
  9. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hey Pauljim,
    We ended up using treated - I think there's a discussion in a thread somewhere else...the research suggests that the movement of the toxins is quite minimal - the greater risk is to kids who might "chew" on garden play items made of treated pine, or sit with their hands on the treated pine and then eat, without washing hands. Apart from the leeching being minimal, the uptake by veg is also minimal when tested. Despite this, we still lined our planter boxes with waterproofing and then garden plastic "just in case" - as Clissat says, you don't want to find out 20yrs later that the research was wrong!!
    Yikes Clissat, I have visions of your timber handled spades & utensils literally being carried off by white ant!
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    "Yikes Clissat, I have visions of your timber handled spades & utensils literally being carried off by white ant!"

    Don't laugh too loud Oskar!

    They got into the axe handle & the axe head clipped me on the side of my head as it fell from the handle as I was swinging it one day!

    They also got into my cherished old wooden ladder & when I stepped on the bottom tread, my foot crashed to the ground.
    The ladder was stored against the outer wall of the tool room which comes off the isle that goes through under my house. I have covered the crushed dust with old carpet & the ants got into the legs of the ladder & axe handle through the gravel & carpet.
    Luckily my house is built on sealed steel pipe stumps or it would have been eaten years ago! But they got into the lower treads of one set of steel stringer steps & now they are unusable until I replace the treads with treated timber.
     
  11. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I agree with us not knowing totally is there is leeching into the soil, but I’d rather er on the side of caustion. As Clissat said we often don’t know if something like this has an effect for many years later. Same as taking things like antioxidants. I have a high number of different type of cancers in my family so yeah I try and avoid anything that could add to that risk.

    If you are going to go to all the trouble of making a bed, filling it with soil and growing your own organic veggies it seems counterintuitive to then make the beds out of a timber than could then leak toxins into the soil.

    Lining with black plastic as mentioned could be away of using the palings. We made my beds out of colourbond off cuts that worked out very cheap.
     
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