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Raised garden beds

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Gus starts with ...
Hi, has anybody out there used Jarrah sleepers for a raised garden bed? Am trying to weigh up there durability against termites and rain, versus treated pine. Thanks
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Perth
29th March 2010 9:30pm
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Charles cant spell says...
Jarrah sleepers are great if old and pre used. Some still get rot and whiteant damage as they are soft, grown to fast or have heartwood. I would be going bricks, corrugated iron, jarrah, old large pavers, roofing tiles before treated pine. ITs just not that robust and long lasting. Also jarrah sleeper are not very big, if your thinking waist high raised bed jarrah sleepers are not your answer.
A waist high brick wall with lots of gaps to let in air, worms, etc with a well mulched pathway bewtween beds seems like the way to go. Raised beds that are not plastic lined or partially lined need to be made of very good soil, compost, and moisture retentive material, I'd say at most 30% sand/local soil. I brought in soils aint soils garden mix to fill my beds 3 years ago, and was pretty crap, not nearly good enough unless you want to water every day and fertilise each week. Go buy to large coir blocks, 60l ($12 each bunnings), bags of sheep poo ($11 each City Farmers), Worms and casting from worm shed (a few bags), some good compost (nutrarich 25kg - $8 at Lena Nursery), some stocktec Garden fertiliser, and a lot of mulching an you should have a healthy water retentive starting point. And get composting as things will only improve.

However, given the lack of rain, terrible Perth soil, Here is my suggestion, An current direction, http://outbackharvest.blogspot.com/2008/09/wicking-worm-beds.html, and I am half way to Wicking Worm Bed conversions on my semi raised beds now.

I like the idea of in-ground raised beds to allow soil microbes, worms and other "stuff" to migrate (through your top mulch layer) to your other wise isolated beds. While soil isolation might be attractive with nematodes, wilt etc, I think the loss of connection with "mother earth" is not acceptable.

My current arrangement is, jarrah sleepers, big a 45cm deep hole (inside the frame, clear it of sharp stuf, place in 200micro black plastic, place in a agg drain pipe, put in/cover with 15cm of free mulch, place soil (heavily improved) on top also about 15 cm deep. Plant allow to grow them mulch heavily with free street tree mulch 10cm deep above the top level of the plastic. Don't forget your drains, to be drilled in at the woodchip/media and soil interface.

I wont go into it anymore and the theory and diagrams are good on the site, feel free to hit me up with further questions though.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
30th March 2010 2:35am
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BJ says...
Gus, I agree with Charles's suggestion re soil.
If you want to save a few dollars check out Ascot (free horse poo ... just avoid times when they are worming the horses) and the sheep poo can be purchased at $8.50 per bag if you order over 5 bags (9524 3841 ... they are the suppliers to City Farmers and will deliver large loads Ö the 100 litre bags are a good size and they donít smell so you can store them in a shed).
Personally Iím going for a formal look so it is brick edges for me. If that is your thing there are plenty of places to get recycled bricks or limestone. Even with new bricks they can be a simular price to jarrah sleepers (compare Eco brick, Hebel, fast-brick, even Besser blocks). I don't trust treated pine either - the integrity of the wood diminishes within years and that can affects aesthetics.

Charles Ė those wicking beds sound very interesting. I think Iíve some research ahead of me before I turn a paved area into a path and bed! Thankyou for the information.
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BJ1
 
30th March 2010 10:31am
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Julie says...
Next time I make a veg garden (when I eventually move) I will be using paving slabs on edge. Not necessarily full size - that's a lot of space to fill.

I made a worm farm out of half-size paving slabs dug into the soil, and it looks about right for a raised bed - cheaper too.

If I decide to use full-size I will give them extra support with strong wire wrapped around.
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Roleystone WA
30th March 2010 6:04pm
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Newatthis says...
BJ - where in Ascot is the free horse manure. I am on a budget and wanting to produce vegetables for sustainability.
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Newatthis
South Lake WA
27th September 2010 8:07pm
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Brad says...
almost any horse stable will let you take their manure away for free. It costs them to do it otherwise. I'm sure google or the phone book would find you some contacts.
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Brad2
como, perth
27th September 2010 8:30pm
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