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Grey
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ICK... railroad ties and motor oil

So most of you probably know about how my hubby and I have differences of opinion when it comes to certain things: garbage, fertilizer, roundup, and the million uses of old motor oil.

Today the discussion is motor oil and railroad ties.

I lost the war about railroad ties being treated with creosote rather than using painted wood for my garden beds. Not even pressure-treated landscape timbers are ok here... but he said he didn't want to be rebuilding things all the time. We bought some old railroad ties and I figured maybe I could just line the ties on the inside with something to keep it from leeching into the soil.

So I take a break from working on designing ads all day to see how the beds are progressing (I can't lift this stuff anymore as I have a hurt back) and all looks great... save he is TREATING THE TIES WITH USED MOTOR OIL!!! (no, the EPA doesn't come out here much).

So uh... any ideas what I can line the beds with now? Should I just forget it? I have an old shower curtain I was thinking of using before... now I'm not sure what I can put in that bed safely.

grandpasrose
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The only thing I can think of to line it with safely is plastic. Otherwise, I guess the only thing you can grow in them are things that aren't edible - lots and lots of flowers!!

I know how it is Grey, we have some of those kinds of parting of the minds as well. Fortunately it's not usually over something that can be damaging to our health or the environment! :lol:

Hang in there - it will work out somehow. :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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Hi Grey, it just so happens that I have been doing some research on the effects of polycyclic hydrocarbons on soil health. (OIL and gas).

My research has been more focussed on oil spills from oil exploration and refinement but, the principle is still the same;

The introductions of polycyclic hydrocarbons into soils has a negative effect on native bird populations and the hydrocarbons tend to build up in the livers of birds, chicks are often born with abnormatities and supressed immune systems due to high concentrations of hydrocarbons in their tissues. Furthermore, eggshells tend to be thinner and less resistant to physical damage.

A little ammunition to use in future debates with your husband :)

If you want more ammunition I am currently reading and synthesizing 3 or 4 papers on the subject.

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Grey
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More ammunition is always good. Fire away. Send the whole research paper even, I'll print it out and highlight the heck out of it!

Honestly he wasn't RAISED like a redneck... but he sure takes to some redneck ideas! :shock: His mother is inclined to think like I do... his dad wasn't in the picture much but he was an accountant so I doubt he pulled stuff like this!

I do have that old shower curtain - they get torn and scruffy looking so I recently replaced the old one and I'd rather put it to good use than throw it away (I try to recycle everything). Hopefully it's thick enough plastic. Otherwise... I guess I can put big plastic buckets in the ground in the bed, grow the veggies in those buckets and fill in the rest with annuals (sigh).

Joseph
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I've got an idea. Stone!

I know its expensive but oil on railroad ties is a horrible idea. Can you imagine all the oil that is going to leach into the soil after 10 years? yuck

For a small garden it may not even be that expensive.
Buy directly from the quarry (I'm sure there are plenty in Georgia).

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Grey
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Stone is a great idea - it is still pretty expensive, even here in Georgia. But I will definitely push that for everything else we do here.

And yeah... yuck.

double yuck... think 10 years of yuck...

:cry:

At least these ties are just around the driveway, not the yard. what I had him build was a long box along one side of the drive - it will eventually be a flower bed, just this year its supposed to house our tomatoes and such. Still.

Do send me that research paper. The thought of the oil out thre makes me sick.

FairyDust
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Wow I'm sorry that happened. I have no ideas other than to drop wheelbarrows full of concrete or remove them lol. I didn't know that landscape timbers get bad either, thats all we've been using. The person that redid the house put in flowerbeds in the front using landscape timbers, so we've carried that theme all over the place.

Joseph
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There are some finishes that are more environmentally friendly and will last quite a while. Linseed oil, walnut oil or tung oil. I am not positive but I think only tung oil is a petroleum derivative.

opabinia51
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Hi Grey, my articles are pretty darn technical but, I can post all the relevant information if you'd like it.

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Grey
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Even old ties aren't great. The railroad company treats railroad ties with creosote - or they used to, I don't know what they are treated with now. I think that's also an oil-based product... and it does work, else the railroad company would forever be redoing their rails! Goodness, the things are so big it would take several years for them to disintegrate anyway.

His answer: "when we get our farm - the place we're going to live in for a looong time, we'll go all organic - but we won't be living here for long anyway."

OK... so if we aren't staying that long... why the motor oil? :roll:

And why not start here? Treat it as a practice ground and leave it a better place in more than just appearance?

Joseph - I'll tell DH about the other oils. I've used linseed oil many a time, but never for outdoor items - it was wood art project type stuff that I used it for.

grandpasrose
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My parents 50 year old cedar sided house has been preserved with linseed oil every 3-4 years. That's all they have ever used.

Grey, ask DH, since all of us are only here for a short time, and if we all said, oh, I'll wait till the next time, where would we be?

Anyway, I had a thought. I wonder if there is some sort of sealant that you can buy that will seal everything in. Something that won't let oil through. I would check with a building supply store and ask them. Worth a try. :?

Val
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grandpasrose
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Update Grey - I did some surfing, and found a company that produces sealants that are supposed to be environmentally sensitive, and they are being used on landscape ties to prevent the arsenic in the preservative from leaching out of them. I didn't do a real thorough read of their products, but it sounds like they might have some thing that might work.
Their site is https://www.sealguardusa.com

Hope it helps! :wink:

Val
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Grey
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AWESOME!! Thank you Val!
I'll show this to him - thanks much! :)

grandpasrose
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Not a problem. I hope it's something that will work! :wink:

Val
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Grey
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ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wingdesigner
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RR ties

Just a thought, but: how are you going to handle drainage at the bottom of the bed? Or are you just going to wrap the ties and cross your fingers? I was thinking of some silicone or latex caulk to seal the seams, just in case? The seams of overlapping vinyl, plastic, whatever. Hey, what do the hazmat teams use to make their protective clothing? Maybe a bolt of that stuff? Rots o ruck.
Happy? Gardening...
Wing.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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Grey
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I've wrapped the ties with old shower curtains (I recycle!). I dug and loosened MUCH of the soil pretty far down below the bed (my back hurts still from doing that) so unless we get like, 3 weeks of solid pouring down rain, my plants should be fine.

wingdesigner
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RRties

Um, not to be cheeky, but don't you Pacific NW'ers get like, weeks of rain at a time, anyway? :lol:
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Wing
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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