Friday, March 16, 2007

Any Suggestions?

Florida is prone to insects and wet weather.

J and I are trying to find an affordable building material for constructing raised beds, as in square foot gardens. Whether we end up here a while longer, or are able to move to some property sooner than later, we'll want these for gardening.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions for larger-scale (as far as quantity, like 20 or so) raised beds that would never be subject to termites? That's our concern with wood. That's the last thing we want to be growing.

Just wondering...

A relative used to use concrete blocks many years ago, but didnt fill in the holes and got a lot of weeds and pests living down in them. They were really heavy to work with.

All ideas are welcomed!


Mike said...

Do you absolutely have to build retaining walls? Unless your soil is solid gravel/clay/concrete it should be amenable to improvement with compost (and more compost and more compost!) resulting in "deep beds" a la the biodynamic approach.

I am eager to see whether yout get a good solution, though, as my veggie beds are on a slope, and in some cases the downslope edge really could use some retaining. At the same time we have very similar challenges: very aggressive insect life, plus moisture and high-fungus soil.

Thank you for the link to "plan be"!

steven wilson said...

Here is an article on raised beds from used tires.They use the treads to construct beds.Maybe this may be your answer.

Steven Wilson

James said...

I am glad to say we never get termites in Ireland. Though with global warming it is probably only a matter of time.

I use a method of permaculture called no-dig. I never turn the earth. I just pile bio-mass on top of the existing earth. Over time the bed raises itself as it were.

I get plenty of trouble from slugs. Nothing I can do about that but use pellets. Nets keep off the rabbits and birds.

What about little adobe walls? That's more in keeping with your locality and history.

My no-dig method can be read here -

I don't bother with the timber surrounds anymore. So no problems with your termites.

Robbyn said...

Thank you, guys, for your great comments! I really enjoyed looking over the articles and am doing some further reading along those lines.

My husband and I have had hours of conversations about this topic, including your valued comments. Thanks for such great suggestions!

I guess we don't have to build permanent retaining walls, but initially would need something to help keep the shape of the bed intact during wet weather.

Yes, the stacking biomass and no-dig are likely what we'll choose, since they seem to make great sense and work with the permaculture concept.

We're leary of the plastics, such as recyled plastic lumber, and of the tires for the same reason. J has fewer misgivings about them as a viable material, but I'm not convinced of the health repercussions being fully known at this time. I like to stay as close to naturally-occuring materials as possible.

I'm certainly not being critical of those who choose that route. I've seen amazing veggies and such raised in them. And I know it's a popular way to recycle.

Thank you for your insights. Please give them freely in any area as you feel led. We love learning from others' experience!