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Old 06-15-2008, 08:13 PM   #1
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


I have a raised garden bed built of PT (arsenic based ) PT lumber. Although I have added cow manure and fertilized my tomatoes do poorly. The are very spindly and I get leaf die off. Very little fruit. Can the PT lumber be leaching arsenic into the soil and affecting my tomatoes? If so is there any thing I can do short of ripping it all out and rebuilding with non PT lumber?
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


Not the wood's problem. Spindley plants of any kind are usually the result of a plant that is struggling to get sunlight. Did you add composted manure or pure that you got from a local source? Pure manure is extremely potent and will easily "burn" a plant and cause leaf drop. I would look for problems other than the wood. Do you have a state agriculture office or county extension extension office near you? They will often analize soil samples for you.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:19 PM   #3
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


1) don't grow any food crops in a bed bound by PT lumber. Just a bad idea.

2) It is probably a fungus. Too much manure can lead to fungus or can be too "hot" of a fertilizer. Probably a fungus though.


Rip out the bed and rebuild it with a concrete block or non PT wood.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:09 AM   #4
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


I use PT lumber in my raised beds, but I wrap them with 4 mil plastic before filling.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:06 AM   #5
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


I'd never grow food in a bed surrounded by PT lumber.

To evaluate your soil, get a soil test kit from any big box hardware store or garden center, and check your pH, Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash. Then adjust according to your results.

Did you add manure (the stuff you shovel out from an animal's stall)? Or composted manure (the kind you buy in a bag from
a store)? Composted manure is pretty benign to plants and can be applied when they are transplanted. But raw manure should be applied at least a few months before planting.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:31 PM   #6
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


I'm too poor to use anything else.

And if the chemicals reduce my life span-that's just less retirement planning.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:27 AM   #7
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


I use either cinder blocks or regular framing lumber to build my raised beds. The least expensive way is to buy 3 of the 2"x6"x8' lumber and cut one of them in half.Then, just screw or nail the 4' pieces to the ends of the 8' pieces and you have an approx 4'x8' raised bed for very little money.They last longer than you think they will; some of the ones in my yard are still good after several years without any type of coating and will be inexpensive to replace when needed.

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Old 06-22-2008, 10:21 AM   #8
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


Don't know if this applies, it's hard to tell without seeing a picture of your tomatos. But if the plants are long and scrawny, and the leaves look like they wilt before they fall off, you may have something my dad describes as, well, "wilt." His solution (and it worked for me too) was to crush up an asprin or two into powder, mix it with room temperature water in a spray bottle, and spray the plants.

I sprayed mine every couple of weeks, and they came back and did fine.

Now, if your plants are long and the leaves yellow before they drop off, they may just not be getting enough sun. Take the time over a weekend and watch your garden, noting how long the area actually gets direct sunlight. It varies depending on where you live in the US, but for me tomatos have to have true direct sunlight at least about 6hrs out of the day to do any good.

Uhm... ok, so pressure treated lumber isn't supposed to be good for you. Generally, as long as you don't, say, lick your deck, it isn't as big a deal as some make it out to be. But I would think twice about growing food crops in it in general. Covering it up with plastic wouldn't be very expensive, and would probably help a lot. Consider who will be eating your veggies... arsenic is usually considered to be more harmful to children.

Good luck
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:56 PM   #9
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


If this is ACQ lumber, it contains no arsenic. The "A" in ACQ stands for alkaline (alkaline copper quaternary), not arsenic. The switch from CCA to ACQ happened a couple years ago, so if the lumber was recently purchased, there's no hazard. ACQ is a foodsafe product.

Honestly, I am a strong beliver that the concerns surrounding CCA were generally unfounded. Unless you ate copious amounts of the sawdust or frequently chewed on the lumber as a snack, that is. Extreme circumstances eventually prompted the change by scaring the bejeebers out of people.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:59 PM   #10
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


Here's a little info I found on a treated wood website...

Treated wood can be used to construct raised vegetable gardens and flowerbeds. Previously, CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) had been used as a reliable wood preservative. More recently, treated wood manufacturers, including UFP, have made a transition to newer preservatives, including ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary.) Several studies have shown that plants grown in CCA raised beds do not contain higher than normal levels of the preservative chemicals. We believe the same is true for ACQ raised beds. In addition, the components of ACQ are known to be non-carcinogenic.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:09 PM   #11
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


You need to post more details of this bed. How many hours a day does it get sunlight? Do you use this bed year after year without sanitizing it? Are you over watering? What sort of fertilizer schedule are you on?
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #12
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Here's a little info I found on a treated wood website...

Treated wood can be used to construct raised vegetable gardens and flowerbeds. Previously, CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) had been used as a reliable wood preservative. More recently, treated wood manufacturers, including UFP, have made a transition to newer preservatives, including ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary.) Several studies have shown that plants grown in CCA raised beds do not contain higher than normal levels of the preservative chemicals. We believe the same is true for ACQ raised beds. In addition, the components of ACQ are known to be non-carcinogenic.
Not to be, "The Devil's Advocate", but I'm sure the cigarette manufacturers' say their products don't cause cancer either.
I never believe a vested opinion.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:14 PM   #13
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Raised garden bed using PT lumber


http://www.taunton.com/finegardening/pages/g00028.asp

Long but interesting article with some studies on CCA and veggie gardening.
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