Plot Rot

Preventing Plot Rot is Not Difficult

Plot rot is the rotting of the wood frames that contain each garden plot. In nearly all cases, it appears on the lower edge of frame and is caused by excessive moisture against the wood.

The photo you see here is a frame that was installed just three years ago and it’s already rotting prematurely.

One of the primary causes of plot rot is excessive wood chipping (mulching) of garden paths and the areas around plots.  Only main pathways should be mulched with wood chips and only during wet periods of the year.

As we install new frames we are putting them slightly above ground level to prevent the frames from rotting, and it’s working.

We ask each gardener to PLEASE clear dirt from around their own frame in order to prevent rot and help our Douglas Fir frames last longer.

A normal frame under normal SF weather should last up to a decade (or more). Frames that have soil buildup around them and then rot are wearing out in 3 – 5 years.

Why is this important? The cost of the frames and hardware keeps going up and if we don’t care for what we’re putting in, we may have to increase dues to cover the cost.

Note: Some frames are too far gone and we’ll be replacing them when possible. Any frame that’s fairly new needs to be cleared – especially before the wet season.

An Unburied Frame

Here’s an example of a plot that is correct. The frame sits at ground level and above and the plot owner has put some gravel around the outside edge.

This frame will last a long time under normal conditions.

A Frame that Needs Clearing

Here’s a frame that has become buried as we added mulch to paths to control weeds. It needs to be cleared and the path next to it needs some digging out as well.

Without work, this plot will rot much more quickly.

Questions About your Frame?

If you have ANY questions about your particular plot, please email We have started a master list of frames (conditions, when replaced) and can let you know what needs doing. Be sure to include your plot number.

Also, we’ll be posting a video or extended photos on this soon, please check back.