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One last warm, dry day to build a new garden -- and now finally some rain to put an end to these woods fires.

By Andrew Pollack on 04/23/2006 at 11:57 AM EDT

Yesterday was the last of a long series of warm, dry, early spring days here in Maine. Yes, I realize that you southern types are well on toward summer. Here in Maine we're still waiting for the trees and shrubs to come out of hibernation. I took advantage of the nice weather and finally got around to building Barb that new raised garden bed I'd promised last fall. The hard part is digging out the base and laying in the first layer of 4" by 6" pressure treated lumber so that it is square and level. Once in place, a power drill and some 'Timber Lock' fasteners make quick work of holding them in place. The first layer done, I used two layers of fabric barrier over the sand and rock that was used to fill the area when the house was built. I fastened the material between the first and second layers of the pressure treated wood. This will slow down the rainwater and keep it from seeping out of the garden too quickly, without actually blocking it the way plastic would. It will also keep the rich garden soil from eroding down into the rock and sand beneath. I'll add one more layer to this, giving it another 6" of height and then bring in about a square yard of good loam and a couple of hundred pounds of rich compost and peat moss. That will give Barb about a 12" of very rich soil that will hold moisture well and provide plenty of nutrients which I will in turn get back in the form of cucumbers, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, raspberries, and strawberries -- or whatever else she decides to grow in this garden. Who knows, she may opt for pumpkins this year. In another week or so, it will be time to plant even the more fragile crops. By may, we don't usually get frost overnight.

Today we've finally got some rain. For the first time in several days, we're not under a "Red Flag Warning" due to the dry ground conditions that come with early spring. Rain today, tomorrow, and Tuesday should speed the spring "Green-Up" right along and hopefully I won't be dealing with too many more brush fires until fall.

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Pressure treated lumber has some nasty chemicals in itBy Richard Schwartz on 04/23/2006 at 06:57 PM EDT
Depending who you ask, it's either perfectly safe or highly dangerous stuff.
You may want to put a plastic barrier in between the lumber and the soil.

No longer an issue -- even if you ever believed it was.By Andrew Pollack on 04/23/2006 at 07:37 PM EDT
CCA treated lumber was, in theory, able to leach arsenic into the garden and in
theory it could then accumulate in your vegetables and be eaten. This was
always untrue of nearly all vegetables, but it SOUNDED good.

Newer pressure treated lumber uses different processes and is not toxic at any
reasonable level. The newer process also does not produce any toxic waste as
part of its creation.

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