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Best wood treatment for raised veg. boxes

Hi all, I'm just about to embark on building vegetable boxes. The wood has already been bought - its just pine wood that is untreated which was all we could realistically afford. 

So I want to treat the wood to help it last as long as possible, and I've spent hours and hours searching the web for what is best and safest to treat the wood with. I just don't want anything that is harmful to the plants or humans. 

After getting nowhere, I don't know whether to now just use any wood treatment regardless of if it is natural or organic and just line the inside of the vegetable box with a plastic sheet to stop any chemicals leaching into the soil, or if there are any treatment products that are safe to use, are available in the UK and don't drastically alter the colour of the wood (i.e go from a light pine colour to almost black for example). 

Any input would be extremely appreciated, thanks.


  • This a tough question to answer.

    Most wood treatments are superficial in the sense they don't get deeply absorbed by wood. Even ye good olde Creosote (which is now banned to us mere mortals under EU legisllation) doesn't soak right in, but gives a good barrier against rot, especially when mixed with old engine oil :). An allegedly less harmful product called Creocote isn't as good but have seen it spilt on lawns and plants and the outcome was somewhat disastrous.

    Tanelising seems to be a very good way of treating timber but would cost more than you paid for it. No idea what Cuprinol or Ronseal would do for wood that's sitting on or in soil.

    For future reference, it may be worth approaching scaffolding companies to see if they have any old boards they want to part with. Those things are solid, hard wood, treated many years ago and will stand the test of time for many years to come. Got a load for next to nothing for raised beds on an allotment and worked out a ot cheaper than new wood.

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