Question: Hi, I live in North Carolina and we need raised planter beds because of the flooding out here. I have some newly built raised vegetable boxes and when I put them in I started with 16 inches of cedar chips and about eight inches of top soil on top. Then I found out that cedar chips are not good for growing on. So how much of a problem is this going to be? Do you suggest that I rip it out?
NICK: Well, let's not get so hasty over here. If you've got 16 inches as a base, and then you have the soil on top eight inches which is really pretty good for starting a vegetable garden, I think you're going to be okay unless that cedar starts to make its way up. Worst case scenario, you could pull the soil out and then put a landscape fabric, so that the cedar doesn't permeate through. Oh, and did you know cedar is a natural insect repellent. Keep us posted if you end up with a bug free garden.
Below is a sample of what cedar bark can look like. This type is usually placed on top of planter beds. Smaller pieces, called Walk-On Bark, are designed for a bit of foot traffic.