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Wood Preservatives

Keep pressure-treated wood or creosote-preserved stuff away from your Fruits and Vegetables. Arsenic-based compounds that have been pressure-forced into treated lumber have been shown repeatedly to leach out into soil in potentially toxic amounts - so why bother when safe alternatives exist?

Organic Gardening magazine published a wood preservative recipe safe for vegetable garden borders: mix 1 gallon mineral spirits with two cups of boiled linseed oil and 2 or 3 ounces of melted paraffin. Paint it onto your lumber, in several layers, and let dry a couple of days.

Note that mineral spirits may not be available locally. Do not use paint thinners instead - these solvents can be quite toxic, and should not be substituted. I personally have used mineral oil (used as a laxative and/or skin cleaner, and also known as liquid paraffin) instead, with good effect; I tend to go up on the linseed oil concentration. Linseed oil itself is also quite safe (raw linseed oil may be fed to livestock), though it helps protect against sun, water, wind and salt, as well as fungal attack.

Topics Referenced

Fruits and Vegetables

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