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**Please Help** How to treat raised beds for edibles???

Gareth Brown 915Gareth Brown 915 Posts: 11
edited June 2018 in Problem solving

I have come across some untreated timbers that I am going to use to make a raised bed in my garden. I am going to line them with woven polypropelene but would like to know if anyone knows what I am best to treat the wood with? I have asked several people at nurseries and garden centres and they say a water based Ronseal/Cuprinol type thing is safe. But non of the people I have spoken to seemed to be 100% sure. 

Can an anyone help me? 

Thanks in advance 



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,045
    My first raised beds were made 20 or so years ago using planed planks painted with Cuprinol - 2 coats.  Expensive.   It lasted a few years but we ended up gradually replacing them with roofing beams as they rotted.   I now prefer to use ordinary cooking grade olive oil (not extra virgin) shaken up with a  few drops of lemon juice.   Prop up the wood, brush on the oil and leave to soak in 24 hours.   Do a second coat if the surface is rough as this will give extra water protection.  Make sure you oil any freshly sawn ends after cutting to size.

    We also had retaining walls made from railway sleepers to give us a level surface for our veggie plot and we lined those with black plastic sheeting.  They were ex- rail so treated but the plastic stopped nasties leaching into the soil and prevented moisture from the soil rotting the wood from the inside.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks Obelixx 
    Thanks for that, I have also heard Lineseed oil is good? Any experience on that one? 

  • Anyone have any experience with this stuff???
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,045
    Linseed oil is thick and sticky and leaves a residue.  The olive oil can often be found in 5 litre cans in supermarkets and discount stores and is cheap and leaves no residue.  Any excess can be wiped off with a cloth and won't be sticky once it's all soaked in properly.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Ah right ok thanks. And how much lemon juice per, say, each litre? And this has been successful for you? How long have yours lasted? 
    Thanks again
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,045
    A few drops to 1/4 lemon per litre.  We're in anew - to us - garden here and so far I've done it on the garden table cos I can't find teak oil here and it's still fine from last year's application.  We've done it on raised bed boards that have been down for just over a year now and I've done it to the wooden bird table.   

    I use it on indoor oak furniture too - much better than wax or varnish as it feeds the wood and leaves it impervious to water from spilt drinks or floor washing.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks I might give it a try
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,891
    Definitely don't use linseed oil. It attracts rodents. 

    We've used similar products to the 'Eco oil' on construction timber but not tried it for things in the garden. It's an expensive option and I doubt would give you any benefit over Obelixx's solution.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Thanks raisingirl 
  • One more thing, do you know how long it take to soak in? 
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