Safest Material for Raised Garden Beds
So what is the safest material for raised garden beds? I think we can comfortably say, we LOVE CEDAR! Cedar is hands down the best material for raised garden beds. Bold statement I know, but it’s true and here’s why.
Cedar is Durable
First of all garden boxes need to be durable. 24/7 exposure to the elements makes the material you choose for your garden boxes of utmost importance. Genuine, all natural Cedar is exceptionally rot, fungi and bacteria resistant and very durable when exposed to weather. Cedar also contains within each glorious grain natural oils that preserve the wood. Making it especially nice when you live in a humid climate. (If you’re in Seattle, Washington reading this I want you to know that we share shipping costs 50/50!) That means there is no need to pressure treat the wood with chemicals to make it durable.
Cedar is a Natural Bug Repellent
Cedar oil may smell nice to us, but to borers, termites and other potential hazardous bugs, cedar oil is a natural poison used by the tree to preserve itself in nature. This makes it an excellent wood for use in our gardens. Funnily enough it also doesn’t deter pollinators. Many bee hives are actually found in cedar trees because the wood is so durable and keeps other insects out.
Cedar is the Most Environmentally-Friendly Option
Our raised garden beds are made out of Incense Cedar. A tree that is prolific throughout southern Oregon, California and in western Nevada. Incense Cedar is a hearty species that can survive in a variety of soils, droughts, and elevations. It is found alongside douglas firs, jeffrey pines, and other trees found in mixed conifer forests. Because it is an excellent seed bearer and because of its naturally pest and disease resistant attributes the Incense Cedar has a strong regenerative quality.
Unlike other manufactured products like concrete and steel, the use of wood is a closed loop for carbon sequestration. When timbre is harvested, its products (like garden boxes) store carbon within themselves. Depending on species, wood is roughly 50% carbon by weight. Then when that renewable resource is re-grown the new trees sequester even more carbon! The United States Department of Agriculture says it well in its article Timber Harvest & Carbon
“Increased risk of carbon loss through disturbances—such as wildfires and insect epidemics—can undercut our efforts to maintain or increase carbon storage. Our primary tools in addressing these risks are by reducing the amount of hazardous fuels and the number of trees on certain acres. Timber harvest initially reduces the amount of carbon on the forest but can transfer carbon to wood products or energy use, and increase productivity and health of the trees that remain. When considering the whole system—forest carbon, use of forest products, and risks from environmental extremes—carbon emissions can be much lower than if the forest were unmanaged.”
Managing our forests well, selective harvesting to reduce fire and disease risk, clearing timbre from recent burns and sustainably managing forests allows the use of timbre to skyrocket as the best material for building.
Steel and Concrete are Suboptimal Choices
This article written by Dovetail Partners compares concrete, steel and wood as construction materials. Its reference to a study conducted by the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Christchurch, New Zealand shows the “life cycle impacts of the use of concrete, wood, and steel for various components of a single-family residential structure.”. You can see in the diagram how the use of timbre far exceeds steel and concrete in carbon emissions due to sequestering carbon within itself. Not to mention other harmful pollution and wastewater from steel production.
Cedar Garden Beds are Beautiful
Your garden isn’t just another room in the house where you hide your things when the in-laws come to visit. No, no. A well thought out garden is a place to not only grow healthy food and gorgeous flowers, but also an entertaining space, a meditative place and a retreat after a hard day’s work. Gardens nourish the mind, body and soul. Having garden boxes that are functional and beautiful to boot is a high priority. (Not only that, but they sequester carbon too.. So cool!) 100% natural Cedar garden beds do just that.
As you can see, we think cedar is the best material for raised garden beds. Take a look at our garden boxes and get your dream garden started today!