Can You Use Railroad Ties For a Vegetable Garden?

February 2, 2023 0 Comments

can you use railroad ties for a vegetable garden
If you want to build a raised vegetable garden, there are a few things you need to know before you start. One of these is whether railroad ties can be used for your project.

Railroad ties are wood pieces that are usually used to support railroad tracks. They have a natural, worn look that makes them ideal for landscaping projects.


The chemicals that are used to treat railroad ties are often toxic, and they aren’t suitable for a vegetable garden. These chemicals are called creosote, and they can be harmful to both you and your plants.

The main chemical in creosote is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, which can cause several health problems. These include skin irritation, respiratory tract damage, and a rash. It can also cause a chemical burn in the eyes and stomach.

It is also a probable human carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. It can be ingested, inhaled, or even come into contact with your skin, and it is very difficult to break down in the body.

However, you can avoid the dangers of creosote by using reclaimed railroad ties that are not treated with it. These are usually available from specialist suppliers and you can buy them in a range of sizes and styles to suit your garden.

Another option is to purchase new untreated railway ties. These are generally more durable than reclaimed ties and will last much longer. They are typically available in a variety of sizes and can be cut to fit your garden bed before you use them.

Finally, you can also choose to line your raised garden bed with plastic to prevent the chemicals from contacting the soil. This will help to keep the chemicals from moving around in your soil and potentially causing harm to the plants that grow there.

You will unlikely encounter any health risks when growing vegetables in a creosote-treated railroad tie, but it is still best to avoid it altogether. In the long term, it can have a damaging effect on the soil and your plants, so it is always best to consider other options when you are planning your garden.

Copper Arsenate

Copper arsenate, also known as chromate copper arsenate (CCA), is a common wood preservative used since the 1930s. The chemical combination of chromium, copper and arsenic protects timber from decay fungi, and wood-attacking insects including termites, and marine borers, and improves weather resistance. CCA can also assist paint adherence in the long term.

Despite the use of CCA, it’s important to note that even treated lumber can still contain small amounts of arsenic. This is due to a process called leaching, which can occur over time.

Inorganic arsenic can be found naturally in the environment, especially in areas of volcanic activity, soil, or groundwater. When it comes into contact with the skin, it can cause a variety of health problems including irritation and rashes. Inhalation can result in breathing problems and headaches.

The most significant risks of arsenic are from eating, smoking, and children’s hands-to-mouth activities. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of cancer over a lifetime.

If you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to arsenic, you can replace your garden or other outdoor structure with alternative materials. You can also dispose of old structures at a hazardous waste site.

To keep arsenic from leaching out of your garden, apply a coating to the surface at least once a year and make sure to use oil or water-based stains that can penetrate wood surfaces. If you don’t want to do this, you can line your vegetable garden with plastic, but a plastic liner is not necessary for most garden projects.

If you are unsure about the safety of railroad ties for your vegetable garden, ask a contractor or local nursery for more information. Most of them will be more than happy to give you advice.


When growing food in your garden, it is important to know whether the soil is contaminated with arsenic. If it is, you will want to avoid planting vegetables that are especially sensitive to the metal.

If the soil is contaminated with arsenic, it can affect a variety of vegetables including root crops such as potatoes and carrots, leafy greens such as spinach, and fruiting veggies such as tomatoes and peppers. The metal can also accumulate in plant storage organs such as the roots and seeds, making them more toxic than if they were not contaminated.

To protect yourself from the risk of exposure, you should not use railroad ties for your vegetable garden. These ties have chemicals in them that leach into the soil and can contaminate food crops grown near the railroad ties.

There are other ways to protect yourself from arsenic, but you may have to do a lot of work to get the soil in your garden free of arsenic. One way is to grow your vegetables from seeds and plants that do not have a high level of arsenic.

Another way is to have the soil tested for contamination. Several companies offer soil testing services. These companies will test the soil for a fee and provide you with the results.

You can then make an informed decision on what to plant in your garden. Some people like to use a combination of these two methods to protect their gardens from contaminating soils.

Soils contaminated with arsenic can cause long-term health effects in children, particularly those who eat a lot of home-grown fruits and vegetables. In children, long-term exposure to the metal is thought to increase the risk of developing serious health problems such as cancer and neurological damage.


If you’re growing a vegetable garden, pesticides can help protect your product from damage caused by insects, fungi, and other problems. Some pesticides are designed to kill certain insects while others are used to control weedy plants and other plant diseases, moles, and rodents.

Some of the most commonly used pesticides are herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Many of these chemicals are regulated by Health Canada to ensure they are safe for humans and the environment.

When purchasing pesticides, be sure to read the label and follow the directions for application. The label should tell you how much to apply per unit area of the plant or site. Never use more than the label recommends, as it will waste the product and cause damage to the plants and the environment.

Be aware of the weather when applying pesticides. Don’t spray if it’s raining or windy, as the pesticide may run off into storm drains or creeks, and can contaminate water supplies.

Before using any pesticide, check the label to see if the treatment should be applied to a particular vegetable or fruit crop. The treatment should be done before harvest for that specific crop.

Then be sure to keep your pesticide in its original container away from food, feed, fertilizers, and water. This storage location should be locked and well out of reach of children and pets.

Insecticides can be toxic to animals, birds, and people. They can also irritate the skin and eyes and can cause kidney and liver disease. They can also taint soil and air and affect the development of beneficial insects. In addition, they are often persistent and can bioaccumulate in the environment.


Water is essential for life on Earth, and is the third most abundant molecule in our atmosphere (after hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide). It is the key to maintaining vital chemical bonds in cells. It also helps maintain essential shapes for cells’ inner components and outer membranes.

Vegetables are especially water-intensive crops and can use as much as 16 gallons per plant. That’s a lot of water to lose, so it’s important to be smart with your watering.

One of the best ways to keep your garden watered is by using a soaker hose. It will allow the water to seep into the soil instead of drenching the plant’s foliage. This is much more efficient than overhead sprinklers, which tend to evaporate before it reaches the roots.

Another way to save water in your garden is by watering early in the evening when the weather is cooler. This allows the moisture to seep deep into the soil and reduces evaporation.

It’s also a good idea to check the soil before you water, and ensure that it is not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause the soil to rot and kill your vegetables.

To help the soil retain moisture, amend it with compost or sand. You can also place a rain gauge near the garden to measure how much rainfall you receive each week.

Ideally, you should water your vegetable garden once or twice a week. This will ensure that all plants receive adequate moisture, and prevents fungus, insects, and other diseases from infecting the crops.