Fragile, flimsy, and insubstantial are all words that describe the properties of a disturbing trend in the manfucture of goods and building of structures. How often do you use or hear the phrase, “They don’t build them like they used to?” An emphasis on the cheap and fast is no less evident in the landscape trade. Pressure on the bottom line, transience, and a desire for instant gratification are a few of the forces that drive these trends, but do not most of us crave the quality of craftsmanship and the durability of good materials? Spending some extra dollars today can save you down the road, reduce waste and ease the burden on the planet.
So, let’s turn our attention to garden structures. There are many durable materials for the organic garden that will not poison the ground. However, the rot-resistant wood of cedar and white oak fetches a high price where pressure treated wood should not an option, like in vegetable garden beds.
Black locust is a Massachusetts-grown solution to the problem. The tree was introduced to the region for the purpose of growing timber that is naturally-rot resistant. It is nearly impossible to find in trade, but a regional lumberman may be able to fetch some for a favorable price. Will Conklin of Sheffield has been supplying green, rough cut locust lumber to Land of Plenty for over a year. The green wood is more easily workable than its seasoned counterpart and will not shrink or warp as it dries.
Still, a durable, custom-built raised bed is an investment. So, one should put thought and care into planning and planting a highly productive vegetable garden. The following photo set illustrates the beauty, practicality and efficiency of vegetable gardening in such a bed. These photos by Stacy Vaeth illustrate the results of a well-planned project:
Please contact Benjamin Crouch for a consultation on your project. Preparing a bed in the fall gives you access to the whole growing season starting in the spring!