In addition to our focus on earthbag building, occasionally we cover related sustainable building topics. For instance, if you’re going to live lightly on the land in your earthbag home, you’ll want to produce your own healthy food. Today’s post about how to build low cost, durable garden beds is from the Instructables.com website.
Most gardeners are familiar with Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening system. It’s one of the most popular gardening systems in the world. He’s sold over 1 million books (more than any other gardening book). With this method you can grow fives times more plants in a given space with less maintenance. You’ll use less water, fewer seeds, and have healthier plants and fewer insect problems. He says it takes half the labor of typical gardening. You don’t even have to dig down in the soil, because the beds are raised above ground. This means you can grow plants almost anywhere, including areas where the soil is really bad. Instead of trying to fertilize and amend lousy soil over a period of years, you use perfect soil right from the start. Be sure to check out his Square Foot Gardening website for full details. In short, it’s a fantastic system and works great.
But there is one drawback that could be improved. Mr. Bartholomew recommends wood for building the raised beds. He probably does this to keep things as simple as possible. Anyone can go to a building supply center, buy some boards and nail or screw them together. But most wood doesn’t hold up well outside, especially when it’s in direct contact with moist soil. In many cases the wood will rot in a few years and you’ll have to rebuild the beds.
That’s the basis of this Instructable – choose more durable materials for building the raised beds so you don’t have to keep rebuilding your garden.
You can read the full article for free: Durable Raised Garden Beds by Owen Geiger