make lumber raised bed more attractive

m_taggart(7b)January 6, 2012

I could not think of a better place to put this post, so forgive me if it is out of place.

I'm planning to make some raised vegetable beds or either pallet wood or 2x6 untreated lumber. In order to satisfy my neighbors and (more importantly) my wife, I'd prefer them to be moderately attractive or at least not an eyesore. Does anyone have suggestions for an organic-gardening-safe type of preservative or finish to help improve the appearance of what will be bare wood? Something to darken the color would be great. I was also thinking of maybe a milk paint.

I found a really weird recipe for weather resistant milk paint.

5 parts cottage cheese

1 part hydrated lime

lime safe pigment for colors other than white

Has anyone ever made something like this? You suggestions are welcome.

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Yes. The idea was to darken the paint with charcoal, but it took unbelievable amounts of charcoal to get past light gray. Doing it again, I think I'd stick with plain whitewash simply because it is a lot easier, and not that different.

The paint lasted about a year, I think. After that, the wood just weathered to gray.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Did you make your own paint, or buy it pre-made? There appears to be a finish coat available for exterior applications of milk paint. I am thinking of using that if I decide this is a viable option.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:12PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I made it. Since then, I've seen commercial milk paint for sale.

Is the finish coat something like linseed oil?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:40PM
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When you buy a whisky barrel to use as a planter the inside has been charred to preserve the wood, there is also a Japanese technique of charring wood decoratively perhaps you could do something like that using a blow lamp.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:42PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I guess cost is an issue if you are considering pallet lumber but I don't think there is a rule that veg beds have to be wood. Stone perhaps? If you have an opportunity to collect fieldstone or get some off craigslist, consider that.

Other option that I've used for raised beds is marble or granite off-cuts from a countertop place. They put rather big pieces out in the lane near my place.

Other cheap option, broken-up concrete.

Karin L

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 6:56PM
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