Question from Olivia:
Before writing you with this question I visited your blog to find an answer to my question but I wasn’t able to fully find one therefore I thought I should send you a quick email.
My husband is building a raised bed vegetable garden for me. The redwood and cedar are very expensive and we were wondering if we could use the treated lumber. For years the lumber was treated with arsenic but nowadays the wood is treated with copper. I was wondering if this kind of wood threatening would be safe for plants.
Thank you for your help!
Answer from Pat:
I am not a scientist but from all I have read pressure treated lumber (PTL) is a perfectly safe material for building raised beds for growing vegetables. Nonetheless, when I built mine I used redwood. I was only building one bed. I am an organic gardener. I have some friends and family members who are purists. I figured I would use redwood and avoid any controversy. But this does not mean that I disbelieve in the pressure treated lumber. I am convinced it’s perfectly safe for raised beds, there is no arsenic in it and there is a huge difference in price between building a raised bed of PTL and redwood. I also used to raise my melons in rubber tires and people now say that was not a good idea, but I am still alive and kicking and I ate a great many of those homegrown melons. You also have to think that very little of anything in wood leaches sideways into the ground next to it. Water goes downward, pulled by gravity and takes with it whatever elements are dissolved in soil.
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