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ATP Podcast #48: Questions, Questions, Questions and Answers!

By dave
February 28, 2014

Today's show will be a non-themed show where we'll just talk about a variety of gardening topics we've wanted to cover. We'll answer a few questions we've received from the listeners, along with some timely tips on early spring gardening. Is pressure treated lumber safe for raised bed gardening? What about compost made from biosolids? Listen to find out!

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Northeast Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
MuddyKnees
Feb 28, 2014 9:57 AM CST
Thank you for the in-depth discussion about Bio solid compost.
Also, appreciate the clarification on treated lumber. While recently building a raised bed (we used cedar and untreated lumber) we were even told by an employee at the home improvement store not to use treated wood. Obviously, most folks don't know about the changes in the treatment process. So, when we replace the boards as they rot, we will use treated wood. Smiling
Live and learn....
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Feb 28, 2014 10:02 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I admit that I didn't know about this change in PT lumber until very recently. In fact, I made a raised bed out of cedar just a few months ago. I only learned about the change when I was doing research on something else a few weeks ago.

I guess it takes time for the word to get out and "old wisdom" sometimes does become obsolete. It's actually quite exciting that PT lumber is safe now because it is so accessible and more people can now do projects that otherwise were too expensive.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Feb 28, 2014 7:02 PM CST
The use of horse manure... I actually was wondering about my source so when you talked about this, my ears perked! I know I can ask about antibiotics used on the horses but what about e coli in horses? And will composting the manure kill it? We usually get several loads and put it in a pile to cook for about 6 months. Before we get it, it has already been kept turned to keep the heat up too. It is usually offered every six months so it has been accumulating and being turned for a good while. Oh, and we mix in chicken manure with it too, from our farm.

And, that is exciting about the PT lumber because I keep thinking I cannot use it either!! Yay! Can't wait to see your raised bed plans!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Feb 28, 2014 7:08 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I never worry about using animal manure if it's a year old. Even at 6 months of "cooking" I'd be willing to bet any pathogen is long since gone.

Here's my sketch that I made of my keyhole raised bed. I'll make it nicer for the upcoming article, of course, but this is something for you to see in the meantime:

Thumb of 2014-03-01/dave/5d7cb9

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Feb 28, 2014 11:09 PM CST
That's great news! Now to check on what kind of meds these horses get...

Oh, I really like that! We've been thinking about doing some raised beds here, at our house so we can have some fresh veggies here for days when we don't go to the farm and that would hold quite a few. Can't wait to see it!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 1, 2014 4:13 PM CST
Thanks Thank You! for the sketch of the keyhole garden. I had been thinking of the keyhole garden only 'in the round', but this one will work for me as I can use up some odd bits/lengths of wood leftover from other projects. Don't hold your breath, but eventually it will get finished and be ready for a close-up.

I cannot enjoy listening to the podcasts, so I rely on the comments of others to tell me what I missed. Thanks all. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Mar 2, 2014 11:06 AM CST
Glad I didn't miss this podcast! Also glad you touched on the pressure treated lumber topic.
Years ago I put together some pressure treated facts for one of our local box stores at the request of one of the employees in the lumber department. At that time there was the normal pro and con "feuding" going on about its dangers or not. I was glad the store took the time to talk to their employees about the topic so they could tell customers both sides/views. Fortunately, two years later was when EPA banned the sale of CCA treated lumber for residential use. (I think it might still be available, or was for several years later, to the commercial industry for certain applications.)

And yep, Dave, to this day I have customers who refuse to use the newer copper-treated lumber, preferring untreated for their raised/boxed beds, the latter typically lasting 5 to 8 years on the average. I have no idea (yet) how long the new treated lumber will last but I'm sure much much longer!

Loved the "coffin bed" term...I've built LOTS of them for folks, and myself. And because the husband of ATP-er Vic told me a great way to sturdily fasten together the ends so they stay forever I refer to those beds as "Hank Beds"! I even have a grouping of beds I refer to as "Hankville"! :>)

By the way, you may want to remember that with the new copper treated lumber what they've found out is the hardware will more easily rust/decay/wear away due to the properties of the copper so be sure to use either stainless steel or galvanized nails or screws for longer life.

Again, great podcast!
Much obliged!

Shoe (pic is of Hankbeds/coffin beds built on a slope...turned out halfway decent, eh?)

Thumb of 2014-03-02/Horseshoe/d55137

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Mar 2, 2014 11:11 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Those are good looking coffin beds, shoe! Hilarious!

Now that you've told us there is a superior technique that Hank taught you, I hope you'll share!
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Mar 2, 2014 1:25 PM CST
Great podcast Dave and Trish - Thank You!

Shoe - thank you for your kind words Lovey dubby Beautiful raised beds!

Dave, I don't know that Hank's technique is superior but he is to carpentry what you are to programming and gardening.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
Image
Horseshoe
Mar 2, 2014 3:07 PM CST
Ten-four on that, Vic... Hank's the superlative "carpenter's carpenter".

Vic, Hank will have to correct me with proper terminology...but basically to connect the corners of the boards, instead of just nailing/screwing one board into the end of another it is best to use 2x4 blocks cut to the width of the lumber you're using, in your case, Dave, using 10" wide lumber for your sides the 2x4 cleats (is that the right word?) would be 9.75 inches. Those are then nailed to the end of your side, 1.75" from the end using 16d nails. Using that size nails there will be ends coming out the two pieces of wood; those extended nails will be clinched over, forming a staple, which will hold the lumber much better than a straight nail OR screw.

When you fit your end boards onto the length/side boards, the ends will butt up against the 2x4 and you can not only put nails through the end boards into the 2x4 but also put nails going thru the side boards into the end boards. This give much more support than just the couple of nails most folks would use nailing the sides to the ends. I really should take a picture because, on this rare occasion, my words fail me to bring a point home. Or maybe I already have a pic, will look when I come back in to take a break and ease my frustration putting a thermostat in my beloved Ford 150. Sad

Shoe (sure is nice weather we are having today~, but more cold/snow predicted for tomorrow!~)
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Mar 2, 2014 3:10 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

That's pretty clear, Shoe, I think I understand it now.

You're right, Hank sure is smart to come up with that. I especially like the clinching over of the nails to form a sort of staple. Makes perfect sense and I would have never thought of that.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Mar 2, 2014 3:20 PM CST
I think you explained perfectly Shoe and if you have any questions Dave, please ask.

Shoe, if one of us was organized Whistling didn't Hank do a print and I emailed it to you?

I hear you Shoe on that weather - I have sugar snaps 1 inch out of the ground with overnight temps coming of 24 Crying
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
Image
Horseshoe
Mar 2, 2014 4:05 PM CST
Hah! I thought so, too...and finally found it in an email.

Here ya go, Dave and others. Sheesh, a picture sure would've kept me from being so wordy, eh?



Thumb of 2014-03-02/Horseshoe/64d621

[Last edited by Horseshoe - Mar 2, 2014 5:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Mar 2, 2014 4:26 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

So it looks like the only nail that is bent over is the one that goes through the inside 2x4 block. Am I seeing that right?
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
Image
Horseshoe
Mar 2, 2014 5:40 PM CST
Actually there would be 3 or more nails in that 2x4 block so it stays firmly attached its whole length to the side board.

I found a pic of a bed that isn't filled with soil yet... it shows how the corners fit together, the nails clinched over, etc.

Hope this helps.
Shoe (off to cook sumpin' on the grill! It's been summertime here today!)
Thumb of 2014-03-02/Horseshoe/ecbbce

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Mar 2, 2014 6:33 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Perfect!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Mar 2, 2014 6:35 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

My method has been to use little 4x4 blocks and screw into them from the outside using deck screws.

Thumb of 2014-03-03/dave/d88fc6

The jury is out how long these'll hold, though.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
Image
Horseshoe
Mar 2, 2014 8:05 PM CST
It looks like it'll hold fine at the bottom but unless you use those little blocks all the way up I think the tops of the outer boards might warp away from each other due to the absorption of water, drying out, absorption, etc. And depending on which way the grain is running that will come into play also. (Hank will know more about this than me...Oh Vic!!) Smiling

All in all I think you're gonna have some great raised beds! I'm already thinking of making some like your diagram!

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Mar 3, 2014 8:00 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Work in progress!

Thumb of 2014-03-03/dave/09e765

The reason I didn't have the 4x4 block go all the way up is because I didn't want to lose any growing room. But using a 2x4 instead of a 4x4 would have been perfect and I should have done that. The good news is that I bet these 4x4 blocks can be easily removed and the 2x4's put in. The soil just needs to be pulled away and the work done.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Mar 3, 2014 8:27 AM CST
Beautiful and I love the design Thumbs up

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