Among the popular building materials used nowadays for making a raised garden bed is corrugated metal or galvanized metal. Aside from the sturdy structure that can be created from this material, it is also a popular option among beginners in gardening because it gives a unique look in the garden.
If you are interested in trying galvanized steel for your garden bed, you have probably asked yourself if it is a safe option for growing an organic garden. Just like other gardeners, the last thing you want to experience is growing crops that are unhealthy and pose health risks to you and your family.
Below, you will learn more about this type of material and whether it is a good option to use for your raised bed garden. You will get to know why more people are choosing this material and why it is getting more popular among gardeners.
can you use a corrugated metal sheet for building raised garden beds?
The common question among beginners when it comes to building their raised beds is if the use of galvanized sheets or corrugated steel sheets is safe for growing plants for a vegetable garden.
Well, the answer is yes. They are safe to be used for gardening. The zinc coating used for the surface of the metal requires acidity to be broken and before it can start leaching into the soil.
Since most garden soils have a neutral pH level, zinc will cause little to no impact on your garden. Besides, zinc is an important plant micronutrient and is normally a part of the soil.
should you worry about chemicals leaching in the soil and reaching your plants?
Unlike the use of treated lumber that is well-known to leach chemicals to the soil and is not recommended for gardens that grow vegetables, galvanized steel is different. Yes, they are coated with chemicals, but the chemical present is not hazardous to the health of both the plants and people who will eat it.
As mentioned, zinc is an important mineral and is even recommended to be taken in small amounts. Just keep in mind that these are used as watering troughs and used before plastic or galvanized pipes were in the market. It can be used to build raised beds, but it is not suitable to be used as cookware. This is because it can lead to a serious health risk when made in contact with any acidic food.
why are more people interested in using metal in their garden beds?
The main reason behind the increasing popularity of using galvanized steel or corrugated steel sheet in raised beds is that it can last longer than wood. In addition to this, other reasons are the following:
- Resistance to Damage
As much as possible, many want to invest in their raised beds wisely so they often go for something that can last longer and can withstand changes in the environment. Instead of using pressure-treated wood that can certainly leach chemicals to the soil, this is the best alternative available that can last for decades.
Depending on how you organize your garden, this material can improve the look of your garden and exude an industrial look. Another advantage of this material is that it will not easily contract or swell.
You do not have to paint or oil the surface as it is durable enough, though you have the option to paint it you want to. Just make sure that you use a safe kind of paint if you feel like enhancing the beauty of these containers.
Once you have prepared the beds, make sure that each one is filled with soil that is pH neutral and well-draining. Shallow beds are easy and quick to fill, but deeper beds will require additional materials to fill it.
should you try using corrugated metal in building a raised garden bed?
With the reasons mentioned above, there are a lot of reasons why you should try this material for your garden bed. Just be careful with the pieces that you will use. As much as possible go for new ones or those that have no signs of rusting or scratches.
The zinc used for the steel is the protective layer that prevents the steel from rusting when exposed to moisture. However, a scratched surface of the steel means that there is a spot where rusting can start. This may cause damages in the long run and affect the health of your plants. It can also affect the appearance of the bed.
Corrugated steel raised beds is excellent containers you can use for gardening. Plants are known to grow well in these beds and will save you from bending over too much. Yes, the zinc and cadmium may leach due to long term exposure to moisture and changing acidity level in the soil. However, it will only leach in small amounts, which is practically safe.
understanding the connection of plants and zinc
It is given that soil may leach into the soil in a certain period. However, the higher concentrations will most likely be found in the nearest area exposed to the steel.
You must understand that plants do not necessarily absorb all present nutrients in the soil. Many factors in the soil affect the ability of the plants to absorb those nutrients.
You can easily tell if your plants are out of balance are taking more of a certain substance than needed as it will look unhealthy and will fail to grow completely. If you chose to grow your plants in corrugated sheet containers and you notice that they look healthy and are growing accordingly, you have nothing to worry about.
how to make corrugated sheet raised beds safe and healthy for plants
As mentioned, the presence of acid is what will hasten the leaching of zinc to the soil. You must keep the acidity level of your soil at the neutral level to prevent this from happening.
This is also the main reason why you should be careful with the soil mix that you are going to use for your garden bed. It is recommended that you keep the neutral pH of the soil to keep growing healthy plants in these containers.
Aside from the soil, you should also be mindful of the type of plants that you will grow in these containers. If you have crops with a high acidity level, you may want to plant those in a different bed with a different material used.
You can always make your garden more productive by planting the right crops in other raised beds. All you need to do is to make necessary adjustments to keep the beds healthy for your plants. In the long run, you will have no problems in continuously growing healthy crops in these containers if you keep the acidity level neutral.