I received this question from one of my students from Seattle Farm School. It is a great one that no one has asked me before!
Untreated wood is recommended for vegetables beds as it will not leach chemicals into the soil. Many people fear that arsenic will leach into garden beds if you use treated wood…but arsenic hasn’t been used since 2003 in pressure treated wood! The process that gave treated wood a super bad reputation CCA (chromated copper arsenate) was replaced with a new process called Micronized Copper Quaternary (MCQ). Click HERE for a good read on treated lumber and garden beds by The Survivalist Blog. Now I am not saying treated wood is as safe as untreated…the decision of what type of wood to use is up to you.
Safe Stains for garden beds?
Now facts….untreated wood will decompose quicker and need to be replaced sooner. Which is what led to question I received…how can you extend the life of a untreated bed, are there safe stains out there? Yes, there are! We actually just used one on our cedar fencing called Penofin Verde. We also used cedar since it is naturally water resistant. Redwood is another good option. Although both options are on the pricey side. Penofin Verde is just one of many stains that could be used on a garden bed. Gardenista has a nice blog post on 5 other stains recommended for raised garden beds HERE.
While my fence was made with untreated lumber and stained with an eco-friendly stain my garden beds were not. I know some of you may be gasping! We made the choice to use treated wood so they would last a long time, our beds are two feet high and on top of that they are located where the yard is 6 feet higher than the street level. In other words it was a major pain to get them in place & filled…we don’t want to ever do it again! 🙂 I did line my beds with plastic though to reduce the chances of any type of leaching.
Garden Planning Fun for Kids!
Do your kids love to color? Use a glue stick? Then they will like this garden planning activity! Plus they will love they actually will have a say to what gets planted in the garden!!!
First of all print off a kid garden bed template. I have created a 3’x8′ or 4’x8′ foot one. See my post on planning a kid friendly garden to see why I think 3’x8′ is best 🙂 Print off the veggie coloring sheets below too!
Click below for templates: (Print in landscape not portrait)
Childrens template 4’x8′
Children’s template 3’x8′
Once you have them printed you will need a pair of scissors to trim off a little on the left size of page 2…like this.
You will then tape or glue together page 1 & 2 like
Next it is time for the kids to color what veggies or fruits they want in their garden!! Once the coloring is complete it is time to cut out the squares….everything is scaled for easy square foot gardening! In each square there is a number with the vegetables name…that number is how many of that type goes in the area. Example the beets box shows 16 so you would plant 4 rows of with 4 beets in each row in that one square foot. Simple right? Ok back to the kids…I just wanted to point out you really can use this to plan out your garden!!
After you have the squares cut out have the kids arrange them on the template and glue them in place for a final garden plan that looks something like this……..
I would love to see what garden plans your kids come up with! Submit them to me via email HERE and I will feature them on a future post!
Other posts you may enjoy:
10 Tips for planning a garden your kids will love!
Free Garden Planning Templates
Edible Garden Planning- What should I plant??
Last year was the first year I had a toddler while gardening and I loved it! My daughter found such delight in the garden! I planted the garden without even realizing that a kiddo as young as 1 would actually want to help me out! Here are 10 quick tips for designing a garden that your kiddos will love!
- Plant food that they can eat as you pick it. Cherry tomatoes, raspberries and blueberries kids can pick on their own without help. Penelope was helping herself to these treats when she only 13 months old! Beans, peas, strawberries, etc. you can eat right off the plant but teach your kids they have to ask you for help before picking these. A whole bean plant can easily be yanked out the ground by an eager kid!
- Plant fun veggies that change colors when you cook them! Or better yet ones that change your tongue color when you eat them! Dragon Tongue beans are a fun purple and cream color that turn a paler shade when cooked. Purple broccoli and purple beans turn green when cooked too. Kids will be amazed! Try Blue Podded Peas and your kids tongues will turn bright purple!
- Leave a spot in the garden or better yet the yard that your kiddo can dig in year round. This is something I highly recommend if you have a toddler. They love digging and this will keep they from digging up your plants if you give them their “own garden”. (more…)
Last year I started my seeds after putting my 8 month old to bed….there was no way I was going to be able to do it when she was up. This year I was contemplating the same approach but the more I thought about it I realized that would not be any fun! My toddler is now 20 months old and loves to play in dirt…so why not involve her? Well before you attempt to start seeds with a toddler a little pre-planning is needed. Here is how to do start your seeds with a toddler……
Why buy seeds when you can get some at your local seed library? Say WHAT?! Yes that is right all across the country there are these awesome seed libraries where you can get seeds for free for your garden!
It is January…yes that is right, the middle of the winter and I have things still growing in my garden! Time for a Garden Update! Here is a little mini tour of what I have going on.
Collards Growing…they are a super hardy plant that stands up to heavy frost or light snow multiple times during the winter.
Kale…this one was a late start last fall and should take off as soon as it warms up a little more. (more…)