Many gardeners start building raised garden beds for a variety of reasons. Raised beds can be constructed from many different materials, the most popular being wood and rock. Recently, people are using galvanized metal to build loft beds. But is galvanized metal safe and recommended for building loft beds?
Galvanized metal is very safe when building your loft bed. It's sturdy and durable. Galvanized metal won't negatively affect your plants either. Planting on raised beds made of galvanized metal is completely safe.
Using Galvanized Metal to Make Raised Garden Beds
If you've never worked with galvanized metal before, there are plenty of questions to answer about working with galvanized metal.
What is galvanized metal?
Do you know how most metals start to rust after a few months in the elements? Well, metals like aluminum and zinc don't rust. Galvanizing is the process of coating rust-prone metal with metal that won't rust. People mostly use zinc in galvanizing.
Advantages of using galvanized metal
Some of the advantages of using galvanized metal are:
Long life: The most common form of metal damage is rusting. Galvanized metal is not easy to rust, so it has a long service life. Most galvanized metals will last 50 years or more.
Reliability: When using galvanized metal as the frame of a raised bed, you can be sure that your raised garden bed will not fall or collapse.
A form of extended season: Galvanized metal raised beds made of metal conduct heat so they can store the sun's heat and heat the soil near the edge of the raised bed. This heat can extend the growing season for heat-loving plants in late fall.
Is it safe to use galvanized metal for a loft bed?
It is completely safe to use galvanized metal to make a loft bed. Consider that most water supply pipes are made of galvanized metal. This should show you how safe galvanized metal is to use on your raised bed.
Zinc itself is a plant micronutrient. Although plants do not need large amounts of zinc, they do need it to make the photosynthesis process more efficient. Other micronutrients that plants need are:
Is it safe to eat plant products grown on raised beds made of galvanized metal? As you know, galvanized metal won't harm the plant, if any zinc seeps out of the frame, it will be beneficial to the plant.
Note that plants consume only very small amounts of zinc and other micronutrients. Also, be aware that just like plants, we need zinc in small amounts, but high exposures are toxic to both us and plants.
Caring for a loft bed made of galvanized metal
Galvanized metal is strong and durable, so raised garden beds made of galvanized metal are not too difficult to maintain. However, there are some ways to damage a raised bed frame.
Some easy ways to damage raised garden beds are:
Presence of Sodium Chloride (Salt): Salt causes metals to rust quickly
Acidity: Simply put, metals rust faster in acidic conditions
High humidity: Galvanized metal will corrode rapidly if humidity levels are above 60%
Presence of moss and lichens: Mosses and lichens, while not directly affecting galvanized metal, can retain and accumulate moisture
Constant Moisture: Even if the zinc doesn't rust, a raised bed frame that's constantly damp can corrode quickly.
Now that you know what makes galvanized metal rust quickly, how do you maintain your raised garden bed to prevent frame damage? Here are some suggestions:
When watering, you should not overwater your plants. Not only can overwatering damage the roots of plants and make them sick, it can also damage raised garden bed frames. Overwatering can cause soil moisture to build up and damage the frame.
Overwatering can also promote the growth of algae and lichens.
Fertilizing and Composting
You should not use unfinished compost and fresh manure. Unfinished compost refers to any organic (biodegradable) material that has not been fully decomposed. Fresh poop takes extra time to break down.
If you use these products, they will increase the acidity of the soil as they decompose. Remember that galvanized metal should not be exposed to acid environments.
masking galvanized metal
If you don't like the heat of galvanized metal, you should consider building a loft bed in the shade.
Another way to prevent sunlight from hitting your raised bed frame is to grow creeping crops like cucumbers, indeterminate tomatoes, and watermelon.
Lined with galvanized metal
What does a loft bed made of galvanized metal mean? Lining refers to coating the inside of a garden frame with materials for different purposes.
For example, people use plastic to line their loft beds to prevent moisture from reaching the frame. Others line their raised beds with weed fabric beneath the soil to keep weeds from growing.
Some common types of raised bed liners are:
underground layer of leaves
Why line a raised bed made of galvanized metal?
If you are growing water or acid-loving plants, you should consider lining a raised bed to prevent rapid damage. Liners can extend the life of loft beds made of galvanized metal.
Other Materials for Raised Garden Beds
If you're not comfortable building a loft bed with galvanized metal, you have many other options to choose from. Some good materials for garden beds are:
Galvanized metal is completely safe to use as a frame for a raised garden bed. Zinc used to coat metals does not corrode easily, but if corroded, it can be consumed by plants (in small amounts).
After reading this article, would you use galvanized metal for their loft bed frame? What other materials are you considering?
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