[permaculture] Railroad ties and gardens
lbsaltzman at aol.com
lbsaltzman at aol.com
Mon Apr 23 12:38:10 EDT 2007
I read the article and will stay in the camp of being conservative and not using railroad timbers. This paragraph bothers me.
Some organic gardening publications have claimed that these garden uses are unsafe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of CCA-treated wood for gardens. (Tests have confirmed that arsenic does not leach from timbers used in gardens. Soil was collected from near timbers that had been place from 6 months to 9 years.)
I wouldn't currently trust anything out of the EPA under the current administration, without reading the underlying scientific studies they are based on and determining whether those studies are unbiased or funded by industry.
From: Marimike6 at cs.com
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 6:26 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Railroad ties and gardens
Is it safe to build raised-bed gardens from creosoted railroad ties?
Creosote is the kind of thing that sounds scary in principle-- it leaches
into the soil, it's contains carcinogens, etc. But as a practical matter, it
not appear to me to pose grave problems for either gardener or plants... if
you are to believe the very reasonable sounding explanation found here:
Are treated railroad ties guaranteed 100% innocuous? I don't think anyone
would say that. So it's a matter for each individual to decide. When building
such a bed, maybe you could minimize skin contact by wearing gloves. And be tidy
when loading and unloading your truck. Maybe you could wear a face mask, it
can be stinky work.
The alternative would be to use more easily rotted landscaping timbers that
needed replacing every several years. Maybe you could make one bed from each
material, and compare them under actual conditions to see which you found
Check your untreated landscaping timbers for wood boring insects. They hasten
the conversion of your raised bed into a mound of garden soil.
Don't like either approach? Here's a good third opinion-- cinder blocks. They
don't mention that inches from the blocks your soil pH will be elevated. So I
wouldn't use them near your rhododendrons or forest cultivars.
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