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Some design notes for a raised bed vegetable garden

Since I will indeed be moving I can begin to focus my attention on the new abode. A major feature of my proposed new existence will be to prospect to harness a north/south aspect for the growing of consumables.

The soil is gardening bad -- both sandy and boggy with a lot of clay in the mix. -- so I'm thinking I'll import my soil by:
  • collecting manures from local horse, cow and goat farms
  • mixing in seaweeds-- sea grasses -- collected from the shore line
  • prevailing upon local lawnmower folk to dump their grass clippings at my place. These I will blend into my new DIY soil.
  • run the house garbage through a compost bin.
The pH will be high -- so I get to lime.

But my major interest was deciding what I'd keep my new soil in for growing and harvesting purposes.-- and raise it above the wetness.

EarthBag agriculture.

Earthbag construction is a  building walls with 'sand' (or other aggregate) bags (see pic top left). I'm not planning to build a whole house, just garden walls. The process of constructing earthbag garden beds is rather simple and inexpensive especially if you make do with materials to hand.

I'm planning on using what bagging I can locate, 'sowing' the bags to shape with staples; and linking the rows with barbed wire.

The bags can be draped with either burlap or chicken wire mesh (image  above right) before rendering.

If you don't render, the plastic would deteriorate in the UV light....

Layout and Design

There are many tips on how to design your vegetable garden  for best effect, but in studying this contribution -- How to build raise garden beds (and below)-- its' logical approach was very appealing.  

The images ( at left) give you an idea of the concept. These raised bed walls are made of concrete -- so they are not availing themselves of my low carbon  shortcut.

But the addition of the frames makes so much good sense in my climate. In Summer here in Queensland you need to shade your crop and maybe protect it from rain and moisture.  What a great solution -- permanent frame you use  to support shade cloth or whatever.In Winter you can cover the frames with sheet plastic and make mini greenhouses.

As for shape and size I was much taken with this article: Block style layout in raised bed vegetable gardens. The layout concepts, developed by Colorado State University, are very persuasive -- as they adjust size in order to make function and access more flexible.

So them's my notes for now...but first I gotta move.



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