What is the best wood for raised garden beds?

Families across America are integrating home gardens into their lives, working to increase the amounts of homegrown fruits and vegetables in their diets. Because of this, folks frequently ask us about the best type of wood to use for their planter boxes and raised garden beds.

Raised beds are a great idea because they protect growing plants from the scuffs and kicks of passersby while allowing the soil to warm faster in the springtime, generating an earlier crop. They're also quite decorative and can add beauty and charm to vegetable gardens.

By building the boxes out of a beautiful, durable, and chemical-free material, you'll take an important step toward growing nourishing and tasty food, fresh from your own garden. 

Here are the types of wood that are commonly used for this purpose, and the pros and cons of each:

The lifespan data above is derived in part from extensive studies at OSU that test the durability of treated and untreated posts in ground-contact applications. 

Photo at top: Juniper 6x6 landscaping timbers used for retaining wall, raised beds, and stairs.

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