View Full Version : Raised Beds - Materials/Ideas? - request for info...
24-06-2003, 01:39 PM
so we have moved house and it has been interesting to watch where the frost falls. i'm slowly building some retaining walls and such out of odds and ends to help drian it away. there was some already soil that was being taken up by some agapanthus (argh) - but not well established at all. so got rid of them and planted 100 onions.
there is a great area for raised beds...and wanting to do it cheaply...i'm wondering on some ideas. i don't like the corrugated iron and while have access to some old railway sleepers...i'm hoping there are some other ideas.
it is winter so perfect time to build and start to fill 'em.
does anyone have any good models? i've thought maybe recycled bricks?
(and while i've seen photos of darren's quite excellent raised hexagon shaped beds in a madala system...seeing as it is a rented place...we are opting for the more conventional rectangular beds...so not to worry the landlord too much)
24-06-2003, 09:00 PM
Besa(sp) blocks are pretty good.... you can even plant in the tops of them.... i have seen stuff like herbs, strawberries etc planted in the edges.... they are quick to build, they can be painted or rendered for aesthetics and sturdy enough not to worry about cementing them in place so you can dismantle when u move.
Stakes can also knocked down thru them to help other plants grow like peas, beans and other climbers either on the inside or on the outside.... and you dont have to worry about splinters!
Hope that helps...
24-06-2003, 11:59 PM
Those mandela garden's that Bruce Jolliffe (g'day mate - if you're out there!) and I built required a lot of effort and no shortage of the client's capital. The result is something that will last for a few decades at least.
Raised beds - especially high one's stave off any resistance to growing - as they are so piss ant easy to plant/harvest/maintain that you can't resist even in your busiest/laziest phases. Ours (8"x2" Euc. camaldulensis sleepers are always full of stuff all year round.
Materials?? Tractor tyres are a fave of mine - cut the top out and fill with garden soil, compost etc. Old rain water tanks - which Jade Woodhouse has made into an artform. A mate of mine out of Bendigo uses these too to great effect - no good for anti-corrugated iron-types though. Gravel Hills gardens uses old pallet timbers to great effect. Also 150-200+ diameter logs - often from large tree branches, you know "I need the light so I'll take out that branch - hey presto a garden edge!" Concrete rubble is good and recycling chic. Fagots (bundles of sticks, branches) can also be used. At Caloundra City Farm I saw very temporary edging made from some larger diameter bamboo laid horizontally and staked in - this would rot down over time - perhaps slower in Castlemaine than in Caloundra though. 8 x 2 sleepers are good cause they are durable and you can dismantle them when you go and use them when you move out to the bush. That's what we did with gardens that were at our last place - just as well cause they all ended up as carpark....
Be careful what you leave behind!
25-06-2003, 08:34 AM
certainly got the creative juices flowing - old wood from pallets sounds like a good one. and a few circular truck tyres is an idea.
25-06-2003, 09:12 AM
I'd steer clear of truck tyres because of the steel belts - they are a hazard when and after cutting. Ply belted tractor and earthmoving (scraper, FE loader etc.) tyres are much bigger and higher too - being round too they fit into the mandela system perfectly.
And like the man on the steel framed house ad says about termite's: "the bugger's won't eat 'em!"
25-06-2003, 08:46 PM
as part of a design i did for a child care centre just recently we had to steer clear of tryes as there is a cadmium risk!
do you guys know much about this.... there are fairly strict rules in what materials you can and cant use when kids are involved.... if government are saying no to its useit makes you wonder!.... i know the Brisbane city council have gotten rid off all treated pine in playground equipment b/c of the greater risk to kids and the fear of lawsuits coming back to bite them....
just thought i would throw that one out there :p
26-06-2003, 12:50 AM
From my research heavy metals (eg. cadmium, chromium, arsenic) are less able to be taken up when soils are 1. In mineral balance 2. High in humus/organic matter. I too have heard the concerns - that the govt. is concerned is a result of insurance claim fears - the government is not in the business of improving soil mineral status or improving soil organic matter levels - otherwise permaculture/keyline would be public policy.
When I get some spare $$ I'm keen to do some official analysis of both soils and tissue samples of control and tyre garden situations for an objective answer to this often fielded response.
I'm not sure if all of them get treated, but doesn't the wood in pallets sometimes get treated with nasty stuff for exporting (to here)?
26-06-2003, 10:09 PM
Oooh yeah it gets treated to the buggery
27-06-2003, 09:13 PM
I can't comment on chemical use in railway sleepers in general, but WA railway sleepers were laced with Dieldren and sprayed (in situ) with herbicides on an on-going basis. In the 60-70's the most popular herbicide was 24d and 245t the ingredients of Agent Orange and all laced with dioxin (Dubbed the most dangerous chemical humans have ever created - worse than Plutonium!) :ghostface:
I would go Eucalyptus thinnings before I went sleepers.
30-06-2003, 09:37 PM
shit, I always thought those sleepers were just coated in sump oil, which I suppose is bad enough. eek@!
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