Constructing raised beds

Q. My husband and I want to make some raised beds in our front-yard to grow our own veggies, cutting flowers and such. I was looking at your beds in your photo gallery, and would like to know what kind of wood you used to outline the beds with? We do not want to use treated lumber, for fear of chemicals leaching out into the dirt.
I really enjoyed your website. Thank you for sharing your information with the rest of us!
Blessings, Donna Grafton, Ohio

Q. I work at an elementary school in Santa Ana, CA. We are creating some vegetable gardens at the school, and I am trying to find an economical material to make raised garden beds. I don’t want to use pressure treated lumber because of possible leaching of chemicals into the soil. I saw the article about your garden and was wondering what you use? Alice

A. In our front yard we don’t have any raised beds. It’s more “landscaped” with edibles — fruits, berries, herbs, vegetables. The backyard, however, has the raised beds for food production.

Redwood and cedar are best but expensive. The majority of our beds are made with plywood. We are currently using 3/4″x4’x8′ plywood sheets cut into 6 – 8″x8′ planks. We then assemble the planks into 2′, 3′ or 4’x8′ beds with screws, (we can get 2 beds from each piece). FYI: This is a temporary solution because the plywood lasts about 3 years before rotting, but it’s a simple, cheap and non-toxic solution.

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