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Need advice. I think I just made a huge mistake...

 
Posts: 2
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I just built my first raised bed with cedar fence pickets.
Everything seemed alright except that I stupidly applied a coat of waterproofer inside and out before filling soil.
The waterproofer is called Wolman Raincoat that might contain some toxic chemicals.
Do you think it's unsafe to grow edible veggies or the effect is minimal so I can carry on?
I'd appreciate your advice!
 
pollinator
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I would avoid doing things like this, but since it's done I wouldn't worry much about it either.  Things that are waterproof generally don't leach in to the soils much.  Just like plastic having toxins that are bad when they break down, but it takes a LONG time for them to break down in soil.

But if you are still worried about it, just replace it and get it off your mind..
 
gardener
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Hi Kyu,

I too use raised beds and I understand where you are coming from.  I can’t say positively if there is toxic gick in the waterproofing sealer, but my suggestion is to find some fairly thick plastic sheeting and line the inside of the bed edges to prevent soil contact.  Don’t lay the plastic across the bottom of the bed—that would defeat the purpose of the raised bed.  I would get a staple gun and staple sheets to the frame.

I wish you luck, let me know what you think,

Eric
 
gardener
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This is the MSDS (Material safety data sheet) for WOLMAN 5-GL RAINCOAT CLEAR OIL BASE:
https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/da/dab2693a-6629-447b-834c-ceb5b1b72f04.pdf

MSDS are required for all chemical products and list ingredients, toxicity and safety precautions. It's more for handling and application, and not for after it has been applied and dried. So it doesn't say anything about leaching into soil. But you can look up each ingredient and see how you feel about it.

Quick collection of ingredients from the MSDS:


Hydrotreated Light Distillate
Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane
Stoddard Solvents
Solvent Naptha, Light Aromatic
1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene

Soybean Oil
Alkyd Resin
Polybutene



 
pollinator
Posts: 388
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Offhand, I would say that the various solvents will evaporate off in a short period. A lining of landscape fabric may encourage this.

I'm much less worried about this than the use of railroad ties for raised beds. I've seen this, and don't know if it's my business to get in people's faces about it, but coal-tar creosote is a particulary nasty, persistent carcinogen.
 
Kyu Park
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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Wow these are all awesome advices! Thanks a lot everyone!!
Unfortunately, I have gone too far with full soil in the bed so I guess I’m going to stick with it for now. However, I won’t let this happen again for my second bed that is yet to be built.
Anyways I’m so happy that I found this forum. There seems to be lots and lots of educational materials here.
 
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next time try to source some cedar. that stuff lasts forever and you don't need to treat it. all my beds are white cedar.
 
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Location: Southern NH
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Amy Arnett wrote:This is the MSDS (Material safety data sheet) for WOLMAN 5-GL RAINCOAT CLEAR OIL BASE:
https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/da/dab2693a-6629-447b-834c-ceb5b1b72f04.pdf

MSDS are required for all chemical products and list ingredients, toxicity and safety precautions. It's more for handling and application, and not for after it has been applied and dried. So it doesn't say anything about leaching into soil. But you can look up each ingredient and see how you feel about it.

Quick collection of ingredients from the MSDS:


Hydrotreated Light Distillate
Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane
Stoddard Solvents
Solvent Naptha, Light Aromatic
1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene

Soybean Oil
Alkyd Resin
Polybutene





Most of the concerns regarding ingestion are related to the possibility of it getting into your lungs.  Unless you get real confused when it is time to eat those veggies, I think you're going to be ok.  
 
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Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Do you think it's unsafe to grow edible veggies or the effect is minimal so I can carry on?
I'd appreciate your advice!



Maybe just grow some nonedibles/less edibles along the edges? marigolds, sweet allysum...low profile things that won't interfere with your other plants.  
 
master pollinator
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Location: southern Illinois.
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You don't mention the size of the beds.  Given the the sides are vertical,  I assume the flow of water is downward along the sides.  I seriously doubt how far into the bed the sideways action will be.  As has already been said, Keep plants away from the edges and if you are still concerned use a liner.
 
pollinator
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Years ago I did similar with railroad ties. I went back and put cement pavers (8x16 inch) on the inside.  Gave me almost 2 inches of separation.  Now I use cement blocks to form a raised bed and after the soil is settled and there is a root system I remove the blocks and use them on another bed.
 
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