March 13th, 2012

Bricks in an Organic Garden

I want to build an organic herb and vegetable garden and was looking to edge it with brick. Can you please guide me on whether the bricks would leach toxins into the soil.

blog-dougA brick is as clean as the ingredients that went into its manufacture. Like terra-cotta pots, which are used by many organic gardeners, bricks are made from the soil itself—clay, in particular—and fired at extremely high temperatures to make them resist weathering. A typical modern brick is mostly clay with some sand and other minerals mixed in—nothing that would cause harm to an organic garden.

Still, there’s always a chance that a brick maker will introduce something toxic into the formula. If you’re buying new brick for your project, it’s worth calling the manufacturer and asking about its suitability for garden use. If you choose salvaged brick for the edging, make sure it hasn’t been contaminated with anything toxic—traces of lead-based paint, for example.

Personally, I have no qualms about using bricks in my garden.  —Doug Hall

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