Frequently Asked Square Foot Gardening Questions – Part 1

Here I am joined by my friend and fellow gardener, Mel Bartholomew, as we tackle some really good questions about Square Food Gardening.  These questions came from you and today I am going to pose them to another square foot gardening enthusiast. Take it away Mel...

1)    What kind of wood should we use to build a square foot garden?

Mel’s answer is simple: FREE. Mel suggests that getting free wood is easier than you think. Just one ride around town, you will most likely see a construction site and where there is a construction site there’s always a dumpster. Most dumpsters hold lots of scrap wood – which is exactly what you need for your square food gardening! Mel suggests that you find the foreman on the site and ask if you can have some of the wood in the dumpster. He or she will always say yes! However, Mel suggests that you could ask them to cut it for you, and they may, but if they say no – don’t feel bad. You are getting what you needed most – which is free wood!

The ideal size for the wood is 4X4 or at least 6” deep for the best results.

2)    What type of wood is best?

Mel explains that there are several different types of wood to choose from.  The cheapest are Pine or Fir. You can get it 1X6 pieces or 2X6. The next grade of wood is Cedar and the most expensive is Redwood, but it lasts the longest and looks the best.  Another option is Man made wood which is a combination of other materials such as plastic or wood by products like sawdust mixed with glue and formed into lumber. Although this is not an organic option it does have its benefits; it lasts forever; no termite or insects will bother it and it won’t rot. The problem of course is that it’s more expensive.

As you know, these are quite easy to put together once you have all of your wood cut.

3)    Can you paint the wood?

The answer is yes and NO! You can paint the outside of the box if you want to, but you should never paint or stain the inside of the wood which will have contact with your plants. The pressure treating chemicals, paint and stain all contain harmful agents which can seep into your vegetables, so really you should not even consider decorating your wood.

Mel’s last tips are:

Stay tuned for more frequently asked questions with Mel Bartholomew...