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Veggie garden

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Yuri starts with ...
I want to develop a veggie garden and was wondering what is the most suitable material for the retaining walls. The most common answer from the likes of Bunnings is untreated hardwood half sleepers. Does anybody have any other suggestions please?
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Yuri
Gold Coast
21st June 2007 8:56pm
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Matthew Gray says...
I have built a raised veggie patch using recycled bricks. I'm no bricklayer (just ask my wife!) but the garden edge is up to five bricks high, and forming a robust, water proof and termite-free edge. Every piece of timber lying in our yard has termites in it, including all the hardwood sleepers that made up the previous garden edges. One of the tricks is to put no mortar between the bricks, just butt them up close; this allows any excess water to drain away without rotting the plants, extra important in our hot wet summers (or at least the hot wet summers we used to have!).
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Matthew Gray
Caboolture, Qld
21st June 2007 9:50pm
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Kath says...
I did this the other way around as I needed a retaining wall and split it in two to include a raised garden bed in the middle of the walls. Rocks were our choice of material, at $16 per tonne they work out about the same price as bricks by the time they are laid. Termite proof and gorgeous. It is fantastic, has excellent drainage and weeding is no longer a back breaking chore as there is no bending and in the summer there are plenty of strawberries to enjoy along the length. I grow lots of greens, lettuce, cabbage and herbs, with my strawberries and flowers. The added bonus is that my frogs love it, I have at least six different types of ground dwelling and tree frogs in residence.
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Kath
Cawongla
22nd June 2007 9:45am
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Correy says...
That is a fantastic idea Kath. Your place is coming along great. Rocks look a lot better then bricks and I bet they will age well. eg when rocks are old they will still look good.
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Correy
Woolloongabba
22nd June 2007 11:13am
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Gibbo says...
We have raised garden beds. Saves on the back later on. We used 1/2 garden soil and 1/2 mushroom compost. I tested the soil out on two 20m rows of murraya plants I planted first. I have included the pictures so you can see the difference. Both were planted at the same time and were the same size given the same amount of water and are 4m apart.
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Cedar Vale
22nd June 2007 2:30pm
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Jan says...
In response to Yuri. My garden beds are made from 200 x 50 mm treated hardwood sleepers. Treated will last longer than untreated. I've used 100 x 75 treated hardwood on the inside corners that I have drilled and bolted to hold them together. I have the corner uprights at 600mm high. The beds are one sleeper high at the moment but after each crop I will raise them by another sleepr with more compost and soil. My beds will be 600mm high to help with the back problems for the latter years. The next garden beds that I do I am going to make the uprights at 1800mm high. This way I can use them as the braces for trellis work. Hope this helps. You can make garden beds out of just about anything. You just have to have immagination. I've seen one that was made out of beer bottles compoed together and concreted on the inside edge. Very effective and different. The bottoms of the bottles were facing outwards. THe person admitted it was great drinking the beer to get the empties. And there wasn't any extra cost eccept for some cement and sand. As he already was a drinker. Now he is a recycler also.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld.
22nd June 2007 9:51pm
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Dave Lambert says...
in spite of what you may be told...remember treated timber is treated with poisons..and even in homeopathic quantities poisons can do you harm.
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Dave3
 
24th June 2007 8:51pm
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Jan says...
Dave. I realise treated sleepers contain poison to do the job of repelling pest infestation. Unfortunately, most foods grown (whether it be vegies , fruit, meat or poultry) are treated with a poison of some form to reach maturity for sale. All treated foods have a withholding period before being released for human consumption. It would be nice to be able to grow or buy all food totally organic, but as a pensioner I can't afford to. As I said in my previous notes, garden beds can be made out of anything. Only limited by our imagination or pocket.I think if treated sleepers were going to poison us, it would have been found out by now and they would no longer be able to be sold to be used in our vegie gardens. Look at what they show about cigarette smoking and that doesn't deter many people at all. There are are a lot of things that people don't agree with in this world and this will probably be one of them. We can only try to do the best for ourselves. Everyones opinion helps each other to reach their own decision. Whether it be right or wrong.
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Jan5
Bundamba
25th June 2007 6:40pm
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DellDGM says...
With regard to the treated sleepers - I spoke to the nurseries here (including a few stating to be organic friendly) when I went to make my vegies patches I had some old treated pine boards from a retaining wall that we took down when we extended our house and the general consensus (it only differed by the amount of years) that after being out in the weather for more than 2 years there would be no poisons left in them. Ours are about 13 years old now so well and truly poison free but yeat no sign of rot or breakdown - Old treated pine is quite cheap to pick up at garage sales and demolition sales so there is a cheap way to build a raised vegie patch.
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Delldgm
Adelaide
29th June 2007 12:10am
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Jan says...
Hi Dell. Thank you for your input. I think timber is treated with different types of poison depending on what their use is going to be. Garden timbers Usually state CCA Treated. What the CCA stands for I don't know. I worked for a tile company 20 years ago and the wooden pallets that came in from overseas had to be treated against bug and vermon infestation. We were warned about these pallets not to use them in any fires not even for fireplaces and definately not in Barbys. The poison used in the pallets was very harmful to humans if the smoke when burned was breathed in. I've seen people have aviaries made from treated timber without any problem to the birds. As long as the birds are not of any of the hooked beak varieties. Hooked beak birds tend be chewers of timber. Pointy beak don't have a problem with it. But if anyone is worried about using treated timber, the easiest way is not to use it. I use the CCA treated sleepers and have no worries about doing so.
HAPPY GARDENING EVERYONE.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld.
29th June 2007 8:42pm
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Gourd says...
CCA stands for the three ingredients it is made up from, Copper, Chromium, Arsenic. the cromium and arsenic are carcinogenic to humans so using it in a wet area like a vege bed is probably not a great idea :)

a good alternative is redgum sleepers you can buy at bunnings or any recycled untreated hardwood timber, with so many options, why one would go for CCA is beyond me.
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Gourd
Victoria
9th July 2007 9:33pm
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Suzy says...
Hi there,

This is directed to Matthew Gray (re the use of bricks as the walls, 5 bricks high) in the hope you might still read this a few weeks after your post - sorry to be a derr, but could you explain how you mean to 'butt them up' against each other? How does the wall stay upright, with the soil pressing against it from the inside of the garden bed - I'm sure there is a simple answer, but I would love to know a bit more!
We have veggie beds that we built with untreated hardwood 4 years ago. Termites haven't got them yet, but I am sure either they, and/or the weather, will eventually break them down over the next 2 or 3 years. When that happens, it would be good to replace them with something as practical as reclaimed house bricks or similar.

Thanks!
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Suzy2
Coffs Harbour
25th July 2007 2:43pm
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Scott G says...
(Suzy, I too would like to know how the bricks say up!)

My vege garden is on a gentle slope so I hold the soil back with sleepers like a stair case with each step only one sleeper high. The sleepers are held back with stub star-pickets.

Leeching of the poisons into my soil was a concern of mine so I bought old railway sleepers. I also like the rustic look of them. As an added bonus these old sleepers don’t have splinters.

There are termites here-and-there in my garden and I am sure they have been nibbling at the sleepers. I didn't expect the sleepers to last forever so I made them easy to replace. But 4 years on they are still solid.
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Scott G
Gold Coast
27th July 2007 12:55pm
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Kath says...
Bricks would need to be stuck together with some morter to keep them stable and safe unless they are retaining wall bricks which step back and have a lip at the back to hold them in place.
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Kath
Cawongla
30th July 2007 12:15pm
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Katrina says...
Where can you get the old sleepers from?
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Katrina2
nundah
31st July 2007 3:44pm
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Jan says...
Hi Katrina. You could try Sapar landscaping supplies or any of the larger landscape supplies and if they can't help, you could give Queensland Railways work dept a try to see who they offload them to. Regards Jan.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld
31st July 2007 11:13pm
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Scott G says...
I Might have got some 4 years ago from Preston Landscape Supplies. A year ago I got sleepers from Builders Depot (in Molendinar on The Gold Coast). They haven't always had them in stock. I would think it is just a matter of ringing around. When I bought 2 a year ago they had gotten very expensive and I had to wait for them to "come in". I was told they had become very popular and QLD rail had very little to distribute. The lot that I got some from had to come from NSW. They were longer and in very bad condition.
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Scott G
Gold Coast
1st August 2007 2:50pm
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Paul says...
I am interested in what people are saying about built up gardens. I am about to commence this method of gardening and I would like to know the best ingredients along with the Red soil from Alsonville. I intend making a base of sand with a black plaqstic over the top on a gentle slope to capture the excess water after it has perculated past the roots of the vegetable plants and being captured for re use. Has anyone ever used macadamia husks(ground) to include in the soil.
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Paul3
Alstonville
10th August 2007 3:49pm
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ashe says...
great idea kath where did the bricks
come from and who laid them
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12
bilambil hgts
10th August 2007 7:01pm
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ioian says...
I used old railway sleepers from the cane train that was stopped when they closed the sugar mill on the sunshine coast - I was looking for ages for untreated sleepers and ended up buying them direct from the farmer who owned the tracks. Some timber places get them every now and then, but they are scarce. There are also concrete replicas they make now - $20 each though for about a metre long - ouch!

There is an interesting US study into CCA. The conclusion of which is below. They say that the levels should be ok for adults but long time ingestion could be a problem.
I don't think I would want to be ingesting Arsenic from home gardens - especially when growing vegies at home is mainly to avoid chemicals.
Apparently CSIRO says that lining the garden with plastic is the way to go if you have CCA timber.

---
Click for link to study
Chromated copper arsenate–treated wood in raised garden beds diffused As, Cu, and Cr into adjacent garden soil. This study clearly showed that CCA-treated wood in service can be a local point source for elevated levels of As, Cu, and Cr in the environment and therefore existing structures may continue to be a problem. Results of the plant uptake study showed that vegetable crops grown in these raised garden beds can accumulate significant concentrations of As, but based on U.S. Public Health Service standards, these vegetables would be safe for human consumption. However, based on the USEPA's standard, some of the vegetable crops may not be safe for sustained consumption. The microbial resistance study clearly showed that the ability to establish colonies in CCA-amended media was greater in communities of bacteria from soils close to the treated wood compared with those from reference soils. These results suggest that long-term diffusion of As, Cu, and Cr away from aging CCA-treated wood surfaces may have ecological implications.
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ioian
sunshine coast
27th August 2007 11:44pm
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Bazza says...
For Katrina/Jan,
You will not have any success approaching Qld Rail. I retired as a Station Master from QR in 2000 and was still receiving calls of that nature after we had been running Trains on "cement" for many years. Even the old sleepers in my photo are not available here now but you will notice "off cuts" which i use from country saw mill at 3 bucks a piece. The other photo shows what is plentiful from garden supplierss

All The Best Bazza
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BazzaBundaberg1
Bundaberg Aus
28th August 2007 1:17pm
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Tom says...
I too, was looking for a cheap alternative to build a backyard vegie garden. After a while of looking at different methods and styles the easiest method I have come up with is the re-use of old fridges. These are cheap (cost nothing), long/deep enough for vegies and very portable.
Simply remove door/s and any internal fixtures, drill drainage holes and place in a suitable location. Eventually they will rust out, but this is a good time to renew the soil mix and discard the old fridge.
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Tom3
Ipswich
9th September 2007 8:11am
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Paul says...
Thanks Tom that seems a good idea, its a great way to re-use old fridges.

Paul
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Paul3
Alstonville
9th September 2007 5:34pm
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deb says...
i use plynth boards for housing they are cheper, bricks are good too
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deb2
melb
30th September 2007 12:10pm
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deb says...
what timber do you use as a surround in these pics
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deb2
melb
30th September 2007 12:12pm
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Leona says...
Our raised beds are made out of Super 6 and have the metal capping on top...this is the same as our fence so it all matches in and its relatively cheap and easy to install (just dig it partly into the ground)
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Leona
Perth
30th September 2007 9:44pm
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Jared says...
Paul from Alstonville - as for garden beds with red soil, Gbah is similar soil, we condition with horse manure (there is one guy who sells reasonable bags of it on the Ballina Highway between the Regatta estate (he is on the grass verge 100 metres past the Oliver Avenue intersection) and the Gbah 2lm centre and another place, a property on the left side of the road between the Alstonville Maze Place and the turn off to go to Rous School), also use homemade compost from grass clippings, vegi scraps, other greenery that has been clipped.

Anything else you can add to stop the red soil turning to clay everytime it rains, such as shredded palm fronds, mulched branches, farmers friends that have been stewed (get an old wheelie bin, add farmers friends and rain water, then close and leave to cook for several months, they dont sprout as the seeds have rotted by then). Cardboard and shredded newspaper break down as well, although if you want totally organic then the glue in the cardboard may be an issue.

We have used macca shells (and whole maccas that have been bored into etc) in the front garden (not all vegies there) but a warning, dont use them anywhere you or children are likely to walk barefoot. We havent had the macca shells in mass quantity (we have one mature tree) but the shells and the husks seem to be breaking down at an ok rate and none of the plants (mixture of natives, citrus, herbs, coleus and lavenders) seem to mind them.

Oh and the teatree mulch from Richmond Sand & Gravel is great, a little bit pricey but well worth it, and it breaks down really fast if dug in, but if left on top it is quite a good mulch. Warning - it can give you nasty splinters, so wear gloves when doing the original mulching.

Hope that helps!
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Jared
Goonellabah
2nd October 2007 1:44am
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Jared says...
Railway sleepers, um lets see, side of the road anywhere in NSW where there is a train track(seriously, nsw rail lets them rot on the side of the roads, I have seen many piles of them sitting for years, some are that grown over with vegetation you would think it was a natural mound (wish i had a trailer or ute!)
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Jared
Goonellabah
2nd October 2007 1:45am
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Jared says...
CCA, well my girlfriend used to work at a plywood factory as weekend casual, they were warned when working with the treated ply and had to wear gloves at all times and report any splinters immediately. She said that on occasion a board would graze just above the glove at the wrist and would cause quite nasty rashes, even when it didnt open the skin during contact.

Also they had to wear masks to avoid inhaling any dust when working with or shifting the treated boards or veneers.

Coppers logs apparently no longer have the same "treatment" formula, but they were never recommended for contact with food producing gardens.
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Jared
Goonellabah
2nd October 2007 1:50am
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Paul says...
Thanks Jarred for that information. I am going to make a raised vegie patch by using coppers logs posts cut legthways in half and then use old 4X2 hardwood timber attached to the coppers log on the inside of the garden so that the soil only comes into contact with the hardwood timber. When done I will post a photo.

Paul
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Paul3
Alstonville
2nd October 2007 1:18pm
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Cindy says...
I came across this site in my search for raised garden bed ideas. So far I think this is the cheapest and easiest way to make the beds and will be how I plant out my veges. Not quite sure though how to keep 3 large dogs off it.....
http://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.htm
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Cin
Central Coast NSW
4th October 2007 4:53pm
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Elvie says...
Well I am in the process of setting out a new vegetable garden and thought I would share with you all the process for a no dig, raised garden which I first read about in the late 70's. This can be built directly on top of the ground, weeds and all, or concrete or on a high-rise balcony without any problem. I have built this garden many years ago and you could literally see the vegies growing! Impresse the nwighbours totally. You can use whatever material to contain the bed, but I have some old redgum 250mm x 50mm planks and will need to see what is available to extend the bed sizes. Firstly, place newspapers 10mm deep and overlapping to restrict the weeds. (Easy to collect with help of friends) Next add biskets of lucerne as they come from the bale (a bit expensive at present with the drought), and sprinkle with organic fertilizer. Next spread with about 150mm straw and finally add 75-100mm good compost/manure about 450mm width in growing rows. Seeds or seedlings can be grown directly into this. After the summer crops it all will have broken down somwhat so just add more compost ready for winter planting. It doesn't require any digging so is easy on the back. Planting a combination of vegetables, herbs and flowers, if liked, works very well. Good luck.
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Beaconsfield Vic
7th October 2007 7:15pm
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ioian says...
I thought I would share with you all some pics of my raised garden beds since it is spring and the plants are starting to come alive! I used salvaged sleepers from an old cane train track. Concreted in the posts and then just slotted in the sleepers - cutting them to size of course because these sleepers were all slightly different lengths. Getting everything level was certainly a challenge - especially since the beds are located on a slope to one side.
I also installed an integrated watering system with a computer tap at the house to give them water every second morning. Seems to work well for a full-time worker who doesn't always get the time in the garden he wants :)
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ioian
sunshine coast
24th October 2007 9:03am
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Rev says...
I just thought id mention that weve had great results this year using biochar

which is essentially fine charcoal made from any organic matter

manure is hard to get, even in the country - as in you either need a car and trailer and time, or you need many times more effort and a strong back to lug it home in the hot sun

so were using 50:50 char with compost
and add to this either organic or synthetic fertiliser as needed.

Charcoal is quite extraordinary in its long term stability and effects on plant and soil fertility. and in the immediate term it improves soil structure and water reteteion while not messing with the Carbon nitrogen ratio. so you can char sawdust and dig it in, whereas digging it in raw would ruin the soil for years.

i make the char in an ex oil drum or as earth covered charcoal mounds
if you are interested look into it. here are some leads. expect youll hear more anyway as the whole issue heats up due to biochar being a low cost long term carbon sink that improves the environmnet at the same time

http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/biochar/Biochar_home.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar
http://sciam.com/article.cfm?articleid=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40
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RevNQ1
Tabulam
20th November 2007 9:31pm
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Rev says...
one other important thing - it makes weedy mulch a non issue

once its roasted to char the seed is long dead
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RevNQ1
Tabulam
20th November 2007 10:09pm
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Sharyn says...
This is a query for Jan of Bundamba: as we live in the same local area I am wondering how your vegies cope in the summer heat. My husband and I want to start a garden but are clueless to how it will go. Everything I read says to plant just about everything at this time of the year but will it grow! Do you use shadecloth for sun protection or do the plants manage to withstand this dry, hot heat? We moved here a few years ago and I would really love some local advice. Cheers
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Sharyn
Riverview
27th January 2008 4:28pm
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Jan says...
Hi Sharyn.
Iv'e given up with my veg garden purely because of the water shortage. I felt guilty each time I bucketed some water on the garden. I decided to put in a good variety of fruit trees. All doing quite well. Without having to water on a daily basis. When we can afford a water tank, then We will start up the veg again. My email is janek57@optusnet.com.au if you would like to contact me. Regards Jan.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld
28th January 2008 7:53am
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kim says...
Hi Sharyn,
I used to live in Redbank Plains but moved to Greenbank about 3 years ago. Have been growing amaranth,snake beans, bitter melon, angle luffa, buttercrunch lettuce, okra, kangkong, and some other asian vegies. If you require more info, my email is hakimchiew@yahoo.com.au
regards, Kim
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kim2
greenbank, Qld
28th January 2008 9:15pm
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Sharyn says...
Thanks to Jan & Kim for your friendly offers of help. I'm very eager to start my patch, once the weather cools off that is. If anyone would like to help a newbie with advice please do so! My email is sih37@optusnet.com.au. Thanks again and Cheers to all
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Sharyn
Riverview
29th January 2008 2:53pm
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Paul says...
Well thanks you lot (said with a smile) after reading all the comments on treated pine for raised garden beds and having just paid fo 100 250x50 treated pine boards to make my new gardens I'm feeling rather sick now.

I think I will be double lining them with black plastic.

Thanks for the interesting reading.
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Paul7
Sydney
1st February 2008 2:19pm
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Jan says...
Hi Paul.

Black plastic lining sounds a good idea. Even let it go under the sleepers. I think it would help retain moisture fairly well. And still be able to drain through the earth below. Good luck with the patch.

Regards Jan.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld
2nd February 2008 2:07pm
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John says...
Hay Jan, the reason the pro's stopped using black plastic is that it basicly destroys the ground underneath.
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John10
SB South Australia
2nd February 2008 5:06pm
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Jan says...
Hi John.

I was meaning to line only the insides of the sleepers and go just under the edge of the sleepers at the base. Not to cover the bottom of the garden as well. That would make a pond. The bottom to be kept just as bare earth. Plastic on the sides only, would slow down the evaporation from the surrounding air. And allow the moisture to go down deeper into mother earth.

Regards Jan.
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Jan5
Bundamba Qld
2nd February 2008 7:17pm
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Neil says...
Hi Jan i have just bought some railway sleepers from a place next to the Big Orange on the wat to Toowoomba they have 3 grades available they have done the trick for me
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Neil2
Minden
24th March 2008 4:09pm
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garry says...
I am looking at a small vegie/fruit tree/herbs garden bed 10m long by 1.3m wide & was going to use sleepers; as it's close to the house I am concerned about termites so was going to buy treated but now I am trying to work out how Matthew Gray (21/6/07 entry)built a wall with household bricks butted up & no mortar. Does anyone have any ideas?
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garry1
Palm Beach
7th April 2008 10:11am
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Kathryn says...
The best product is Ozlogs, it is made on the Gold Coast to look like old weathered sleepers but it is actually made of cement. It comes in various lengths and can also be used stacked for a retaining wall. It is a bit pricey but looks very realistic, lasts a long time and does a good job.
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8th April 2008 2:53pm
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Paul says...
Regarding the use of treated pine, I can't see any problem if you line the side with two layers of black heavy duty plastic. Not only would it stop any contemination but also reduce evaporation
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Paul3
Alstonville
8th April 2008 10:32pm
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Dekka says...
Paul, you could line the inside of a treated-pine garden border with twenty layers of plastic but it still won't make it safe. The CCA chemicals leach out of the timber down into the soil and then the plant roots draw these up again. Consuming produce from a home vege/fruit garden that has this kind of treated-pine border is likely to have an accumulative effect internally and cause serious health issues.
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Dekka
Newcastle
9th April 2008 8:13am
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Rose says...
Since we need only small amount of veges for home consumption, I used old tyres from a service station (free). Now that you've mentioned health issues, is there any in using tyres?
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Toongabbie, NSW
9th April 2008 1:42pm
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Dekka says...
My understanding is that tyres are very stable chemically when in contact with soil. It is when they are ignited that they become a toxic problem. The only trouble with old tyres is once you've got them there very hard to get rid of because no-one wants them. My local tip will accept tyres if they have been sliced into quarters (a laborious task, especially on steel-belted) and then charges handsomely to do so.
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Dekka
Newcastle
9th April 2008 4:23pm
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shaz says...
I agree with Dave. Why buy treated pine if we dont have too?? Why buy bleached toilet paper if we dont have to. Buy buy refined processed harmful foods if we dont have to?? It is up to each individual whether they buy into the harmful substances or not. There is a lot of stuff out there that we are able to buy because shops sell it, doesnt mean to say its right. ie windex is top on the list for toxic substances, it is allowed on the market and we still buy it!! Plastics in kids toys is harmful they still sell it. harmful carcinogens in things we buy that are known to cause cancer, they are still buyable from shops!!I dont personally. Id say to anyone dont be fooled, just because it's on the market doesnt mean it's safe for us.Thanks for the tip dave as I will be starting my own organic raised bed soon. I wont use treated pine. When we have no control over how the food we buy is treated I say.....
buyer beware. At least when we grow our own we know what is going into our food. Happy growing everyone!!
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perth
19th April 2008 10:47pm
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shaz says...
Also isnt that the main reason most of us do the home grown thing because we are dispondent about the quality/chemicals etc in the food we buy.
I know I am concerned about what I buy.

Now back to the new garden I am going to build.... When I first build the garden bed up can I do so over the grass and just put down layers of newspaper to kill it off, or do I have to dig it up??

can anyone pls advise, this is all very new to me. I am a working single mother and dont want back breaking digging-up-lawn-hardwork if I can get away with it.

Thankyou. I love this forum, it has been great reading.

Do any of you have your own worm compost/castings??? How does this work for you. I understand these little worms are an allie in any vegie garden.
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perth
19th April 2008 11:23pm
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Dekka says...
Shaz, When you use the newspapers make sure you have good overlap to stop the grass working its way thru. On the subject of worm-farms I just try to keep the ones in my soil happy. Buying and introducing store-bought composting worms merely displaces the worms that are native to your own area, i.e, you create a feral worm problem.
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Dekka
Newcastle
20th April 2008 12:58pm
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Deb says...
Shaz, I too am in Perth. I put down a very thick layer of newspaper, well wetted and then placed an metal water tank over the top (with an old hose on it if the top is sharp) then place jarrah sawdust around the outside to deter snails. Fill it up with organic soil ("gods gift to gardeners" - see gardener direct online - they deliver too) and plants and you are all done. You can be harvesting small amounts in weeks. There are a few places in Perth you can get organic seedlings and seeds from too so you know they have been loved from the beginning ... :) Cheers
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Deb3
NoR Perth
4th May 2008 1:56pm
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Anonymous says...
"shaz says...
Also isnt that the main reason most of us do the home grown thing because we are dispondent about the quality/chemicals etc in the food we buy.
I know I am concerned about what I buy."

i do it for price and for flavour more than chemicals. its my impression that the chemical use in australia is sufficiently regulated that its a lesser concern
what concerns me more is watery flavourless old produce - i know this cant be good for me

"dekka says
Buying and introducing store-bought composting worms merely displaces the worms that are native to your own area, i.e, you create a feral worm problem. "

i dont think is true. i have 5 species ive counted in my garden and they all co-exist in the same matrix, but occupying and using different parts
Compost worms - reds and tigers live in the mulch, while the huge native ones go deep in the mineral soil
and the Blue worms live only near the surface

native worms are better adapted to forests and pastures, than the massively enriched and irrigated soils of a vegetable garden
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5th May 2008 11:58am
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Julie says...
Some friends of mine ran a small organic market garden some years ago. They used concrete slabs (2' x 2', don't know the metric equivalent) on edge for their veggie beds.
They are large enough to put almost halfway into the ground and still be very stable. Or, don't bother digging them in, just stand on edge and hold in place with strong wire wrapped around.
You can sometimes get these cheaply when people recycle them. Also, try a 'wanted' ad in your local paper.
I also came across a picture of beds made of huge irrigation pipe, cut in half legthways.A company was giving it away (in Perth) but can't remember who. I will put the info out there if I remember or come across it again.
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Julie
Roleystone
5th May 2008 7:56pm
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tannille king says...
hi my name is tannille king i am 14 years old and in grade 8 i have a asiment to do and i need info on gardens can you tell me a lot about it please i never made a garden
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tannille king
queensland (tully)
7th May 2008 1:44pm
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Deb says...
Hi Tannille

It's sad you have never made a garden, they are great fun and you get so much out of them! What exactly is your assignment about; is it about making a garden, maintaining a garden, gardening in your state or something else? Do you have particular questions you would like to ask people or perhaps some general questions? You do need to remember what you may hear on here will be people's opinions and thoughts and you may need some facts that you can back up. Cheers
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Deb3
NoR Perth
12th May 2008 6:56pm
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Yuri says...
Dekka said "Buying and introducing store-bought composting worms merely displaces the worms that are native to your own area, i.e, you create a feral worm problem.". Sorry Dekka but this is totally wrong. The imported worms only survive in a rich, wet environment such as in a worm farm. They don't survive in the environment of our natives which is much too harsh but in which our natives thrive. That is also the reason our natives aren't used in the worm farms; it's too wet and rich for them.
To everybody that has contributed to this forum discussion, many many thanks. It's been quite amazing to see the wide variety of responses and ideas. I had no idea of what I was starting when I asked the fairly simple original question.
BTW, I have decided to use untreated hardwood half sleepers bolted together at the corners to posts that will serve as corner supports as well. I will post photos once the project has been completed. But don't hold your breath waiting; it might be a while before it is done.
Once again, thank you one and all.
Yuri.
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Yuri
Gold Coast, QLD
12th May 2008 9:17pm
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Scott says...
This site has been great. We have built our new home and tried to make it as eco friendly as our budget would allow when it comes to hooking rain water to the house and gardin and various other things. We also have two compost bins and at the moment and nothing to use it on. So I was just looking around the net to see how to build a raised vegie patch. I was going to head down the treated pine option, but you have knocked that on the head so im back to redgum sleepers. Bit more pricey but safer. Our patch wont be all that big only 4mx1m but it should be enough for our family.

Thanks for the advice especially the cardboard as the base as we have plenty of empty moving boxes.

Cheers
Scott
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Scott5
Adelaide (SA)
6th June 2008 5:10pm
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Glory says...
Hi guys, anyone knows, what is the name of this veggie. Its leaves like an opened cabbage leaves. But the leaves are so curly and stems are so green. One of my friend said it has lots of nutrients. I stir fry the leaves, it is so tasty. Thanks Glory
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Glory
Melbourne
16th June 2008 6:32pm
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Anonymous says...
I believe it may be a greek mountain lettuce that we boil or steam then add some olive oil salt peper and lemon juice. If yuou drink a cup of this mineral juice after cooking, this cleans out you kidneys and liver of bad things. Works with spinch to. Sorry mums not here to get the name of it.
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16th June 2008 7:50pm
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Paul says...
Have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts, particularly about treated pine. We have just bought a house and with it came multiple treated pine sleepers which the previous owners had left for us. This was not the traditional green treated pine but was pine covered with a black substance, only on the outside. Does anyone know if this contains different (more garden friendly??) chemicals than the traditional treated pine. I was thinking about covering them with heavy-duty plastic, joining them together and then using them as a raised edge for a vegie patch. Any thoughts?
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Paul10
Gawler
23rd June 2008 9:42am
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Steve says...
Re.treated pine,i have used treated pine on several occations over the years and found that the large worm population has not become effected,is this a good measure of toxicity or lack of?
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Steve10
Northcoast
23rd June 2008 6:12pm
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Dekka says...
Steve,
Worms are the most abundant animals on the planet and their mere presence wouldn't necessarily indicate that they they are uncontaminated by polluted soil. Just as the existence of fish can't be conclusive proof that a body of water isn't polluted or that the presence of birds means the air is clean. The point is:- Why use CCA treated Pine in food gardens when there are heaps of alternatives?
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Dekka
Newcastle
23rd June 2008 8:55pm
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Glory says...
Hi I haven't got the name of this veg. Is any know where can i get the seedlings for this veg? I am so desperated. I tried in the nursery and the veg shop. No one knows the name. Thanks.
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Glory
Melbourne
25th June 2008 12:11am
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justjuice says...
Kath: Great retaining wall. How do you make it? Do you need to cement the stones together? I'm a real newbie when it comes to landscaping, but I can't afford a landscaper so would like to try myself. Thanks!

Glory: Can you post some larger pictures - it's quite hard to see. Thanks.
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Justin
Melbourne
25th June 2008 5:14pm
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Glory says...
Kath the photo was taken by mobile. if i have a chance to see the veg. again i will take it by camera. Sorry kath.
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Glory
Melbourne
26th June 2008 12:37pm
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Tran says...
Hi Glory,
I have a catalogue from EDEN SEEDS. Checked the picture and yours and I am quite certain it is CHOU MOELLIER (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)
http://www.edenseeds.com.au/content/seeditem.asp?id=187

Please note the website display 2 items the picture is for KALE. They do not post this vegie but in my catalogue I have a picture of it. it looks almost identical to the one in your picture.

Good luck.
Tran
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Vic
26th June 2008 1:04pm
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Glory says...
Thank you Tran
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Glory
Melbourne
26th June 2008 1:10pm
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B says...
i have made my veggie patch out of the new 'lite wall' blocks that don't require any mortor - they just lock in together and are filled with sand for stability. heres some pictures. just click on them to see them. You can easily raise the height by adding another layer on top. Too easy!
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B
Perth
26th June 2008 1:57pm
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justjuice says...
Wow, B. Your patch looks really great! Edible, artistic, what more could you ask for! How do they lock into the ground, though? I mean, what's to stop the whole thing falling over?
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Justin
Melbourne
26th June 2008 10:14pm
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B says...
Hi Justjuice. thanks for your feedback. You can bury the bottom layer which you would do if you were going to build a higher wall. The next layer also sort of locks into the layer underneath for stability too. they really are a great way to build - you don't need any experience at all. Just a weekend!
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B
Perth
27th June 2008 11:40am
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lynne says...
Re picture of vegetable - yes I think it is kale too. CERES in Brunswick and I think Morrison Brothers in Doncaster have them at the moment
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lynne
melb
27th June 2008 7:53pm
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Matt says...
All this talk about treated versus untreated sleepers for my raised garden bed has confused me alot. The timber yard said there was no problem using treated (as they would) . Even told me arsenic wasn't used anymore (despite it still being called CCA. I've been told to steer clear of untreated woods , hard or otherwise unless I want my house infested with the termites that WILL come. The concrete sleepers are 50 bucks a pop and weigh 40 kgs each, not friendly at all. I'd managed to convince myself to use treated wood and plastic but now even the plastic doesnt help. Does anybody know where I can get a diffinitive answer regarding using treated wood, or the likelihood of termites turning my house into their own vege garden if I go untreated, even those which are apparently "termite resistent".
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Matt4
Coomera
5th July 2008 2:03pm
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Wayne says...
If you really want to use timber Matt try and get Stringy Bark, yellow preferably, as white ants will not touch it, do you have any sleeper cutters in your area. Old bridge timber, used bricks from a demolition yard
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Wayne
Mackay
5th July 2008 2:50pm
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Scott G says...
Hi Matt

I am in Nerang. My neighbor’s house had termites from having mulch up to a weep-hole in the wall.
My house had termites (before I bought it) due to moisture and mulch allowing termites access to one of the weep holes. They ate a small part of one wall that was easily fixed.
I added a pergola and a concrete slab and these now keep that dark corner of my house dry. I have termites in my last old fence. I have termites under logs and almost any bit of wood left lying out in my garden. I have lots of old railway sleepers that are vegie garden retaining walls. The termites have nibbled on them but 5 years later they are still holding strong.
I was told that termites are just everywhere and to just get on and live with them. I was told that as long as the house is sufficiently protected there is no problem. This seems to work for me. I use no chemicals. I make sure that mulch doesnt get to touch my house walls by surrounding the house with stone. On one side of my house there is a pebble path. On another I have a concrete slab and on the remaining 2 sides I have laid down a row of small pavers (200mm x 200mm size pavers).
So now here I am 5 years later and no problems. I wonder how much of the worry of termite invasion is created by the hype of the pest extermination people.
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Scott G
The Gold Coast
5th July 2008 3:35pm
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Robyn says...
I would agree that bricks are the way to go you do not know what treatments may have been applied to old railway sleepers creosote would be a big possibility. You can get bricks from second hand building centres and often people sell off leftover bricks from new houses.
I have also used old roofing tiles for edging.
Old roofing iron is another option but would need to cap the top with timber so you don't cut yourself on the sharp edge.
I would not use treated pine.
You can always mound up your soil and use a spade to cut an edge to keep the grass out.
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Sydney
6th July 2008 6:02pm
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Carolyn says...
I am wanting to turn an old pond into a veggie patch. It has been painted with grey pond paint. I realise I'd need to drill holes in it for drainage, but can anyone else think of any potiental problems? My concern is that the paint or the concrete may contaminate the soil. Is anyone in the the know about soil contamination?
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Carolyn1
brisbane
18th July 2008 9:22pm
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Dekka says...
The mystery paint may contain any number of nasties depending on its age, including anti-fowling chemicals.
An acid growing media such as a vege garden may react with the concrete, producing salts but this is not as big a worry as the unknown paint.
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Dekka
Newcastle
19th July 2008 7:46am
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HP says...
We are looking to build some raised vege garden beds within the next few weeks so this forum has been really interesting for us.

We are still debating the pros and cons of each building product and were worried that if we chose to use bricks they may transfer too much heat into the soil and make it dry out too much. Does anyone have any views on this??

One other note - Dekka, your advice would be much easier to take if it was put forward as a useful opinion or suggestion rather than a correction to everyone else's equally valuable posts.
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Canberra
20th July 2008 9:59pm
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Dekka says...
To HP of Canberra,
I am somewhat baffled by your decision to single me out among the hundreds of contributors to this forum. In fact, the only time I have corrected someone was when Yuri said I was "...totally wrong" about introduced worms and I merely offered him factual evidence to support my comment. If you don't like my comments about worm farms that's OK but, fair go...'EVERYONE else'?... Are you fairdinkum?!! All I have done is answer questions honestly and maybe try to prevent people from feeding their families Copper Chromium Arsenate.
I suppose I should remember the adage that "ignorance is bliss" and promise never to encroach upon your bliss again. Happy gardening.
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Dekka
Newcastle
21st July 2008 9:10am
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Glory says...
Hi Guys I got a Kale Cabbabge seeds from Eden seeds. I like to grow it now. Please give me some ideas. Normally the seeds easily grow in autumn weather. I don't like to wait for the next autumn. Thanks
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Glory
Melbourne
21st July 2008 9:34pm
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HP says...
Apologies Dekka, I shouldn't have used such a broad generalisation -not 'everyone else', just enough to catch my attention. I have no intentions of using anything treated so was interested in your responses there just found them a bit abrupt. Anyways, was just a bit of feedback.

I am still very interested in your valuable answer to the question in my post if you have any thoughts.
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Canberra
21st July 2008 9:35pm
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Dekka says...
No worries, HP.
Regarding your bricks question, there are a lot of variables.
Yes, brick, concrete and stone will warm up in the sunshine but this can be a good thing depending on what you are growing. Generally, a warm root zone will stimulate root development and subsequent plant growth unless it is a plant that enjoys very cool roots like Clematis for example.
As you live in Canberra, the heat-sync properties of brick may help keep your plants warm through cold winter nights as long as the bricks are able to warm up through the day. If this doesn't happen they can actually act as a cold sync and keep the soil cooler.
Raking back mulch on any sunny winter days will help with soil warmth and replacing mulch in the afternoon will keep heat in.
As far as drying out goes, thick mulch will easily counter any effect that warm masonry will have on the soil moisture.
One slight risk with bricks in a cold area can be that, due to their porosity, water can enter the air spaces within the bricks and then freeze. When the water freezes it expands and causes minute fractures in the bricks' structure and they can become crumbly... but for a garden bed it may not matter. Local stone is best but bricks are OK.
PS. Hope that's a little less abrupt.
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Dekka
Newcastle
22nd July 2008 8:51am
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Diny says...
To people that want to start a no-dig garden a la Esther Dean,I hope you all realise that newspaper is made of wood. To termites this is fast food and they love it!I had a vegetables bed with newspaper as a base and when I had to move it, there were thousands of termites living there and most of the paper was eaten. I had chooks at the time and threw them in their pen, they loved that. But I agree with Scott that termites are everywhere and I don't worry about them.
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Diny
Bundaberg
24th July 2008 1:20pm
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Julie says...
Glory

You are right, kale do well if sown in autumn. That is their season, and you can't change that.It is much too cold to try now, and if you sow them in spring they will shoot up and go to seed in no time.

What sort of ideas did you want?
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Julie
Roleystone
28th July 2008 8:53pm
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HP says...
Thanks for your generous post Dekka, apologies for the delay in replying.

It's a tough one, the heat retaining properties would be good here in the cold. We get lots of beautiful sunny days during winter but I think what you say about the potential for it to do the same with the cold could be a problem. My partner is also feeling than enthusiastic about the work involved in my grand brick plans!

We went on a torturous sleeper hunt on the weekend (my poor 4yo!). It is extraordinary how hard it is to find untreated options. We found some untreated hardwood sleepers but they were in poor condition and we were concerned about where they may have been sourced from.

After all that and seeing your advice, I think we will go for railway sleepers. Recycled, hopefully treated long enough ago to be benign now (let me know if i'm off there) and relatively easy to assemble.

So the work begins on the weekend...
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Canberra
29th July 2008 9:25pm
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Glory says...
Hi Julie, I like to try some seeds now. Give me some advise how to sow or how to grow Thanks Julie.
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Glory
Melbourne
31st July 2008 1:30pm
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Scott says...
Hi HP,

I have just finished building my raised garden beds out of New redwood sleepers. They are 2000x200x75 and cost me $25 each. Don’t know about your area but every landscaping supplier has them in Adelaide. connected them with long, fat coach screws after pre drilling and counter sinking to make sure enough of the screw went through. I made 4 rectangles (2000x1000x200), put 2 on top of each other and the weight + filling holds them in place.


Cheers
Scott
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Scott5
Adelaide (SA)
7th August 2008 1:58pm
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Em says...
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience with the galvanised raised veggie garden beds made by the rainwater tank people? I'm keen to get one that sits 800mm high (to save my back)but have no idea how long they would last? Any info would be appreciated. They were on Domestic Blitz a couple of weeks ago. http://www.tankworx.com.au/

thanks heaps
Em
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Em
Hervey Bay Qld
9th August 2008 1:07pm
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Deb says...
Hi Em, I have one but it is only about 2 years old. I got one for the same reason as you - my back! Mine is only 400 and I find that is high enough. I shudder to think how much it would cost to fill it if it was larger. Also I think most of your nutrients would end up in the lower zone. I covered my ground thick with newspaper and stood the tank on that (none going into the ground) and then filled it. It is open at the bottom so shouldnt collect water at all and therefore should last for sometime. Around the tank on the rest of the newspaper i put jarrah sawdust. the snails dont like sawdust and i never saw one in my garden until this winter! but the sawdust does need a top up now as even a few weeds are getting through. I love the tanks and recommend them highly. I know others who have actually got second hand tanks with holes in them and just cover those areas from the inside, I think they would last for a few decades if you care for them. Happy tanking! Deb
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Deb3
NoR Perth
10th August 2008 11:49am
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Julie says...
Glory

By all means, go ahead, but don't expect much success! Don't sow all your seeds, so you have some left for the right season - next autumn.

Just sow into rich soil, improved with manure and compost. Don't sow too deep, place them about 20cms apart and put in a sunny spot. I always start my seedlings off in small pots or seed trays. That way I don't have any gaps.

Good luck

Julie




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Julie
Roleystone
10th August 2008 6:58pm
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HP says...
Thanks Em and Deb for your advice on the galvanised veggie beds. We took one look at your posts and started the search! Thankfully we had decided to work on our clay soil for a while and think about the advice we had been lucky to receive before we built our beds.

We were not able to get them from Tankworx as they have quite a limited delivery area. We ended up ordering four 2.2m x 1.2m beds through a company called Birdies Garden Products www.birdiesgardenproducts.com.au, they were really reasonably priced as was the delivery from SE QLD to Canberra ($107!!) and so far, really lovely customer service.

They should arrive in the next few weeks. We can't wait to fill three of them and give no-dig potatoes a go in the fourth.
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Canberra
12th August 2008 7:51pm
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PK says...
Does anyone know of anywhere in Adelaide which supplies these galvanised beds.
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PK
Adelaide
14th August 2008 12:23pm
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Anonymous says...
you can get em cheap in Perth from a rain water tank pl;ace. Even cheaper than syd or melb.
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14th August 2008 6:55pm
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Em says...
Thanks HP
Birdies Garden Products do seem to offer a good service. Happy planting!
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Em
Hervey Bay Qld
15th August 2008 8:37am
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Julie says...
Anonymous

I'm in Perth. Where can I get these from? Which rainwater tank place?

Thanks
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Julie
Roleystone
15th August 2008 4:16pm
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HP says...
Julie

I found a Perth supplier in my hunt earlier in the week. It was www.gardenersdirect.com.au and their products seemed really good and reasonably priced. I was disappointed they were so far away!

I liked that the beds were 'squarish' at the ends, it seemed a better use of space than the rounder ones.

Hope this helps
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Canberra
15th August 2008 7:01pm
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Deb says...
I have to say that gardeners direct have been very good in my experience. i havent used their tanks yet (but the varying sizes they have will make it easier to fit them into my small courtyard garden), so it wont be long before i extend from 'god's gift to gardeners' and the eco soil wetter to the tanks
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Deb3
NoR Perth
16th August 2008 10:25pm
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John says...
Why grow them like this, the ground is cheeper !
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John20
Perth
21st August 2008 12:14pm
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HP says...
I don't know, with the ground in my backyard, the gypsum would nearly cost me more than the beds did!!
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Canberra
22nd August 2008 7:17pm
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Jo says...
HP- I thought that I could work on the soil in my garden until I was happy with it, but Canberra's clays are able to daunt the hardiest gardener!
We've moved into a house that's had wood chips through the garden for 30 years, and until we had some rain, it was like trying to break rock.
Everyone's been telling me to put in raised beds, but I was too stubborn to listen. Until now...
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Jo9
Canberra
25th August 2008 6:49pm
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HP says...
Jo, I found a galvanised garden bed supplier in Canberra after I had ordered them from afar. The company is called Adapt2 and can be found in Mitchell or Pialligo or at www.adapt2eco.com.au

We went to their Mitchell store on the weekend to look at all sorts of eco products and found them really helpful and the prices of the garden beds were similar to what we've ordered from SE QLD.
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Canberra
26th August 2008 7:32pm
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Leah says...
Hi, I have been looking at the corugated beds in colourbond and here is what Bluescope steel says...

# Can I use COLORBOND® steel as a retaining wall, or garden bed?

* In Soil

The construction of gardens adjacent to buildings or fencing by placing soil directly against ZINCALUME® steel or COLORBOND® steel sheeting is strongly discouraged as corrosion of the sheeting will rapidly occur about the area covered with soil.

Moisture or moisture retaining materials should not be permitted to remain in intimate contact with ZINCALUME® steel, COLORBOND® steel or galvanized steel. Such contact will ultimately result in corrosion of the material.

The major factors influencing corrosion are the continual retention of moisture and the differential concentration of oxygen at the material surface. Gutters are frequent victims, with insufficient fall leading to ponding of water.

The accumulation of debris (leaf matter, dirt etc) which results in continual immersion, is the most common reason for unsatisfactory performance of guttering.

In typical garden applications such as fence panels, garden sheds and walling the build up of grass cuttings, leaves, soil from gardens, mulch, compost, sand and ashes must be avoided.

For more information, please Download Corrosion Technical Bulletin CTB 16 - Immersion.

So i have decided to go the old fashion way of redgum sleepers. THere is a place in Brunswick, Vic that you can get 50 for $350 so i will be able to make about 6 good sized beds. But it will not be as easy as getting something premade.

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28th August 2008 11:28am
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Deb says...
Hi John, The ground is certainly cheaper, but where I am living it is has changed from regular house blocks to 3 or 4 houses on each block. I no longer have the light i used to and need to have things higher up to get the light over the walls and roofs of other houses!!! Also with having had a back injury it is a good way to avoid further injury for me. Other people will have their own reasons of course!
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Deb3
NoR Perth
30th August 2008 1:55pm
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Jo says...
Hi HP. Thanks for the info. We saw some used on TV, and wondered where we could find some- they look really good. Thanks also to Leah for the info on corrosion. I had thought about using sleepers, but even they will eventually rot down. I guess it depends on how permanent we want the beds to be.
We've since also had a relative offer us a huge amount of seconds bricks that he no longer needs. Lots of possibilities!
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Jo9
Canberra
30th August 2008 9:21pm
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KEVIN says...
I ALSO ARE BUILDING A VEGGIE GARDEN IN REGARGES TO TREATED COULD YOU JUST PAINT IT. WOULD THAT SEAL IT
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syd
1st September 2008 11:22am
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Anonymous says...
That tank add was in the paper again.
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9th September 2008 12:34pm
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Glory says...
Hi Julie, I sowed only 4 seeds. Only one is growing.
Thanks for your idea.
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Glory
Melbourne
9th September 2008 2:35pm
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Cin says...
HP Thanks for the link on Birdies. I think we will be ordering 4 of their beds and finally I cn get started on my garden beds.

The plant dams look good for around the fruit trees as well so might as well get some of those - the poor CC will be getting a work out!

http://www.birdiesgardenproducts.com.au/main/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=33


Hopefully I can keep my dogs off the beds!!

Cin
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Cin
Central Coast, NSW
10th September 2008 12:21pm
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HP says...
Hi Cin

Our beds arrived yesterday! Very exciting, can't wait for the weekend!

They're really well made, have excellent parts and instructions, and were really compactly packaged for transporting, hence the very modest delivery cost (and hopefully lower footprint).

Birdies are now making custom nets for them to keep birds, possums etc out, which would probably work for the dogs too. We were worried about our dog (only a small spoodle!) but once they arrived we found 40cm is higher than we imagined - though I'm sure the alluring poo odours might tempt her in! The nets are around the same price as the beds so we'll just be getting one for the tomato/capsicum bed for this year. Our CC is weary!

Will try to post photos next week some time.
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Canberra
10th September 2008 9:27pm
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Julie says...
Hi Glory

My kale are just about to flower, so I will be saving seed for next year.

Hope you get some results from yours.
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Julie
Roleystone
15th September 2008 7:55pm
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MH says...
Hi

I've been trying to grow chinese celery a few times but without success. Does anyone have any tips? Thanks.

MH
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MH
Melbourne
16th September 2008 8:31pm
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deb says...
hi shaz,
just a bit of info about composting worms, they are exactly what they are called. com posting worms. you do not not put these worms into your garden, how this works is the top layers of the worm farm are where you put the worms and the food scaps etc, then the worms turn this into compost in the worm farm (no touching) then you can pour water over this and catch the waste in a bucket underneath,(fantastic fertilizer) also can use the worm castings (poop) as soft fertilizer. these worms never leave this worm farm.
hope this helps

chow deb
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deb4
brisbane
17th September 2008 11:26am
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Julie says...
MH, can you tell us a bit more, eg, what went wrong, what time of year did you grow it etc?

I haven't grown it for years, only because I no longer have any seed. I remember it as being very strong tasting, too strong to eat raw, but good for soups etc.
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Julie
Roleystone
30th September 2008 7:55pm
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MH says...
Hi Julie,

I put the seeds in during spring/autumn, cover lightly with potting mix, I also tried covering with sand as they are very fine seeds and kept the soil moist, but they never germinate. At one time I also have the seeds just on top of the soil, as I read somewhere that it need sunlight to germinate. None germinate at all,even I waited for a month!

Do you have any suggestion? Thanks.
MH
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1st October 2008 2:13pm
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Hamish says...
Hi all. Im wondering what happens to old power poles that get replaced? And if they are treated? Might be an alternative to railway sleepers that seem to be getting hard to find. THere is a powerpole that has been marked for replacement just down the road from my house - which is what maid me think of this.
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Hamish
North East of Moree NSW
7th October 2008 11:23am
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Michelle says...
Would those light weight, limestone (or similar) look-alike retaining walls be OK for a vege garden surround? Don't know what they are made of? Anything possibly toxic? Had been looking at the zincalume idea, but have now changed my mind due to the corrosion factor. Any ideas appreciated.
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Michelle7
perth
20th October 2008 9:29am
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John says...
Ohh, yeah its empire tanks that have the beds cheep.
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John20
Perth
31st October 2008 3:37pm
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Margaret says...
Does anybody know what grade of shadecloth to put over a veggie patch?
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Northam
1st November 2008 1:39pm
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Jade says...
Hi everyone,

I just found this forum and it's really great. I have been wanting to put a vegie garden in for years, but the question of what to put around it has been ongoing for me.
I have multiple chemical sensitivity, so I can't use treated sleepers and there are a lot of white ants around here so untreated sleepers are also ruled out.

B where did you buy the 'lite wall' blocks from? They look really great and not very heavy.

Also, I've been considering building a no dig garden with sugar cane bales around the edge, however I am concerned about weeds eventually getting in. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Thanks,
Jade

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Jade
Gold Coast
3rd November 2008 1:24pm
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Bettina J says...
Hi,
I wanted a raised vege garden so I used old tyres. You can pick them up from the tyre repairer for free. Just stack them as high as you want your garden but make sure you get tyres thet dont have any metal showing as this could cause an injury.
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Bettina J
Bargo NSW
7th November 2008 12:43pm
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Cherie says...
Hi Guys
I was hoping someone could help me out... I'm looking at starting a vege patch and we've treated the area with weed killer and to kill the weeds which it has done. I've removed a lot of the weeds but there are still quite a few left in which i have just covered with soil and mulch... Is it still safe to put my seedlings in?? Is there any chance the poison from the weeds can contaminate the soil and veges??? Hoping someone can give some advice on this matter..
cherie
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Cherie
 
9th November 2008 9:30am
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Dekka says...
Hi Cherie, That's a hard one to answer without knowing what weed-killer you have used and at what concentrations. If you said Glyphosate weed-killer applied according to instructions, then most would probably say you're fine but before going ahead you should try googling the words "glyphosate" and "cancer" together and consider the research that is out there. Weeds in a home veggie patch are probably best removed with a garden fork, composted or steeped and then put back in as poison-free plant food. Peace of mind makes 'em taste better.
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Dekka
Newcastle
9th November 2008 8:14pm
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Carol says...
I came across your very interesting and useful forum in searching for easy to assemble raised garden beds. Could anyone comment on the untreated kiln dried cedar beds as advertised on www.naturalyards.com.au or composite timber beds or beds made from recycled plastic on www.eartheasy.com. Also can anyone help me find distributors in Australia? Thanks and look forward to future forum discussions.
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Carol8
Wattle Grove
15th November 2008 6:43pm
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Di S. Gracefully says...
Just passing by and have to add my 2 cents worth! I´m a scout leader and there is enough concern about treated timber that we simply don´t buy any for the kids to use in building camp furniture. The main reason is it may eventually end up in a campfire. So I went hunting round a few years back and got beautiful untreated hardwood palings, 2m by 10cm, from Mitre 10, which the guys sanded down for the kids to make a dining table top. I found they were also just the thing to make the walls of raised vegie beds. Theyŕe kept in place by hardwood stakes and u-shaped tentpegs sold for garden use (different from the check-shaped ones for camping). I wasn´t satisfied with last yearś configuration of beds -- but it was so easy to rearrange the palings. Based on my reading about Esther Deans´ methods, i put a thick layer of newspaper in the bed to suppress weeds, followed by straw, then compost as a planting medium, then straw (or dried lawn clippings) as a mulch. Just read somewhere on the net or some magazine that for typically hot Australian conditions, cramming plants thickly together helps protect against moisture loss and pests. This bears out my experience -- growing coriander among rocket to hide it from the birds(but ironically in my new garden I´ve been able to grow coriander easily and rocket not at all). I don´t use pesticides or add fertiliser and over the past few months we´ve been blessed with enough rain to make extra watering unnecessary. A mentor of mine had the philosophy that you grow enough for the bugs and they won´t touch your share. Certainly that seems to work - the secret is close spacing.
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Di S Gracefully1
Sydney
2nd December 2008 11:52pm
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Jade says...
Hi Carol, I had a look at the Eartheasy website and the garden beds look really good, I especially liked the look of the Recycled one. I've never used or seen them before, so I can't comment on how they are. Do you know if they are for sale in Australia? The website's American (I think).
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Jade
Gold Coast
4th December 2008 5:32pm
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Julie says...
MH, I see you still have unanswered questions - sorry I didn't get back to you.

Re the Chinese celery, I don't know what went wrong, but you should definitely sow it in autumn. Maybe dud seed?

Shadecloth over veggie garden - I have 50% cloth, and everything does well. It certainly saves a lot of water and stops capsicum, tomatoes etc getting sun-scorched.
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Julie
Roleystone
4th December 2008 6:11pm
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Julie says...
Sorry, the shadecloth answer was for Margaret, not MH.
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Julie
Roleystone
4th December 2008 6:17pm
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Scott says...
Hi everyone,

I have a problem with my veggie garden that I hope you can help me with. A few months ago I built two redwood raised veggie patch. It is 2000mmX1000mmX400mm. I filled it with layers starting from the bottom with newspaper then organic soil, kitchen scraps, then topped up with organic soil/mushroom compost mix. I use pea straw as a mulch around my plants. So to the problem. I planted broccoli and the plants grew well but the flower when eaten has a disgusting taste followed by a worse after taste. It isn’t bitter and defies description - sorry. Other symptoms are my tomatoes are refusing to grow but are producing small tomato’s that turn red while they are the size of marballs. The snow peas grow long runners up the trellis which only produce peas and leaves on the end and the rest of the leaves die and fall off. Actually everything is struggling except the beetroot which are huge and very tasty. We water well and the patch gets about 5-6 hours of full sunlight a day. (The picture was taken early in the morning and a few months ago.)

We have fertilized once with a seaweed based fertilizer designed for veggies because the plot was new and had no active worms etc.

Any help would be helpful

Cheers
Scott
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Scott5
Adelaide (SA)
11th December 2008 10:25am
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Jade says...
Hi Scott

Did you leave the garden for a while to let the ingredients break down or plant into it right away?

If you did plant into it right away without planting the seedlings in pockets of potting mix or something that is already broken down it was probably too strong for the seedlings and may have burnt the roots.

Here are some Gardening Australia links to No Dig Gardens:
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s867068.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2214370.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1484696.htm

Hope this helps.

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Jade
Gold Coast
11th December 2008 11:52am
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Julie says...
Scott, could you explain what you mean by 'organic soil'? What sort of place did you get it from, and did it have added fertiliser?

I started raised veggie beds some years ago using a mix from a local landscaper. Everything did brilliantly until it was invaded by neighbour's tree roots - now I can't grow anything in the beds at all.
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Julie
Roleystone
15th December 2008 1:34pm
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Scott says...
Hi Jade and Julie

We planted right away using seedlings not seeds. The Organic Soil is a pre mix from my landscaper which is a mix of Loam, Mushroom compost, cow manure and some gypsum.

Since my original post we have pulled the dead veggies out and are planing to wait until the weather warms up before planing a summer crop.

Cheers
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Scott5
Adelaide (SA)
19th December 2008 3:07pm
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Carol says...
I have since bought two raised garden beds from Black Cockatoo Organic Products at Bomaderry for $56.00 each. Highly recommended. Made from zincalum and timber pegs. Cheers
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Sydney
28th December 2008 1:24pm
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Leah says...
Hi Scott,

I just Google beetroot and it seems that they love high nitrogen soils.

I am not sure how you measure the levels, but i do now that all of my guava plants are close to death because i feed them matter too high in nitrogen, which in turn makes the soil too salty. My citrus love the mix and thrive, but my tropical plants hate it and have all become sticks. (Sorry Daleys did such a good job raising them and i have not been kind to them.)

Another forum reader might have suggestions on how to test for and correct imbalances.

Cheers Leah
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Leah
Melbourne
30th December 2008 2:41pm
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Bridget says...
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knew what this plant is. My mum found it in her veggie patch about 6 weeks ago and has really come on. Its the first time ever sighted in the garden in 12 years. There is no bulb and it has tiny soft prickles/hairs on the back of the leaf. The shape is a little similar to a rhubarb leaf and grows like a lettuce where it is grouped and doesn't spread, however it has come up in various spots in the garden. She lives on the Mornington peninsula.

Thanks

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Bridget2
Melbourne
2nd January 2009 3:03pm
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Jantina says...
Hello Bridget, can we have a picture of the whole plant in situ and one of an entire leaf laid out flat? It certainly looks huge!
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Jantina
Mt. Gambier S.A.
2nd January 2009 7:12pm
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Julie says...
Leah, what form of nitrogen do you feed your plants? Organic or synthetic? It can make a difference.
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Julie
Roleystone
2nd January 2009 7:58pm
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Leah says...
Hi Julie,

I give them the old chicken poo. That have been rotted down.

What sort of a difference can it make. Do you know how i can fix my tropical plants that have gone stickly and get them to produce leaves again.

Cheers
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Leah
Melbourne
3rd January 2009 9:34am
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Julie says...
Leah, chicken manure can be just as damaging as synthetic nitrogen when overdone. Just keep watering and it will go - nitrogen is quickly used up.

I suggest looking online for the individual needs of your plants. You can have the soil tested, but it is very expensive, and still won't tell you about what your own plants need.

Sorry not to have been more help.

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Julie
Roleystone
6th January 2009 7:56pm
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Anonymous says...
HI Julie,

You were right. The chinese celery seeds were dud. I bought another lot and they sprouted in a week or so. The leaves are rather pale, wonder what should I feed it to improve the colour. The flavour is as it should be.
MH
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11th January 2009 8:59pm
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Jon says...
Is it possible to grow Butternut pumpkin in Melbourne?

Jon
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Jon
Melbourne
14th January 2009 6:18pm
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Adam says...
Yes, and other pumpkins also. Too late in the year to begin from seed really though and they are quite water demanding. I'm growing some pumpkins in a lazy bed and they are doing fine this year with out additional watering.
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Adam
Melbourne
14th January 2009 8:18pm
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Barry says...
Raised garden beds and cheaply. I did this when poverty stricken, a more or less permanent affliction. Old corrugated iron sheets and self drilling screws such as Tek screws are the materials. Tools are tinsnips (or an angle grinder) and a Tek gun.
Decide how high you want the garden beds and cut the sheets of corrugated iron (across the corrugations) to that length. Fasten the sheets together with the tek screws to form a circle. 4 sheets fastened together will give you a circle just under 1m in dia, 8 will double that. You will want to be able to reach the centre of the circle to tend your plants. You can now proceed to use the circular form as a compost bin. It will not need staking as it is is self supporting especially as it fills up. It can be lined with plastic if desired, I havent bothered to do this but it should extend the life of the iron. When the bin is full, let the composting process get to work and make another enclosure. When the compost is ready, grow something in it. You will, of course, have to top-up the bin as the compost rots down.
This does work, is dirt cheap and the corrugated iron will last for at least a couple of seasons depending on its state of repair when you start. (Smaller circles made in this way, with one or two sheets make very effective tree guards but will need some staking as they are not filled with composting material.) Self drilling metal screws are cheaper in large quantities. If you lay irrigation piping before you start under the formwork with a vertical riser up to a convenient height to later mount a spray jet you can simplify the business of watering when you establish the garden.
A garden made from several of these circles is practical and can look quite appealing especially if surrounded by herbs or if the outer plants have a trail over the edges.
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Barry1
Iluka NSW
21st January 2009 11:27am
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Jan says...
Hi Carol from Sydney.
Have you got a picture of your new raised garden beds that you bought to show us please.
Regards Jan.
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Bundamba
21st January 2009 7:55pm
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margro says...
What a great forum I've stumbled into!

I'm also about to go down the path of the raised garden bed...anyone have a view on using hebel rather than brick? I was originally going for hardwood sleepers but have found it difficult to source some in Adelaide. Having read this forum, people are also using bricks (which I thought was a no no), so I'm back on the brick/hebel road, rather than wood. So...questions are 1) is brick/hebel ok for raised garden beds? and 2) anyone have somewhere to recommend to get hardwood sleepers in Adelaide? Thanks all!
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margro
Adelaide
21st January 2009 10:01pm
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bob says...
hebel is porous and algae and scum would grow on outside of bed.
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23rd January 2009 2:02pm
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Andrew says...
Hi, was having a good read and noticed heaps of good idea's. I have been looking at building some raised garden beds this weekend and have looked into a heap of options. In the end i think i will try to make one out of Zinc alum for the walls with a external treated pine frame and a rim around the top of some sort of hard wood as it may come into contact with the soil. I was planning on cutting the zinc alum in half long ways and estimate i can build 2 3mx1m beds for under $120 or so.. Any suggestions before i do this? will post pics when im done anyway!
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Andrew5
Melbourne
23rd January 2009 7:08pm
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Sue says...
The House with No Steps at Alstonville use Maca Husks as a mulch over their gardens. They look great & obviously work well.
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Sue12
Glenreagh
30th January 2009 3:02pm
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don says...
what was the exact name of the bricks that u used i like them and would like to use them in our garden edge but cant seem to find them regards don
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don6
qld
2nd February 2009 5:31pm
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none says...
http://www.buckos.com.au/Details.html
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none
Adelaide
11th February 2009 8:07am
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Greg says...
Using second hand rail way sleepers is ok to use. they need to be water blasted and the water and rubbish disposed of. All railway sleeper contain high amounts of Asbestos and metal from the brake pads on the trains.
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Greg3
Largs NSW
13th February 2009 5:26pm
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Craig says...
I used masonary blocks seconds for my garden bed worked a treat and were pretty cheap as well.
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22nd February 2009 12:02pm
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denise says...
I made lots of tyre gardens. You need to cut the walls off to make best use of them. Someone uses a power jigsaw tool but I use a sharp garden knife. I took a while to get the skill and learnt the hard way to keep the blade facing away and keep the knife well in to avoid a harsh slip. At about 3cms away from the tread the rubber is thinner-cuts easier. I cover the ground with weedmat and space out the tyres and fill them with good soil/mix. It is great for winter especially as it keeps the soil warm.
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denise4
auckland kiwiland
4th March 2009 11:11am
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Lees says...
Hi everyone. Have enjoyed reading your thoughts. Here is a different one for raised garden beds. At one of our local nursery's I saw a veggie bed display by one of the seedling companies and it was done as no dig garden in a harwood box. Think old potato/apple bins used on the farms and orchards, and that is what I have used. I have lined the boxes with weed mat and filled them half full with free draining soil. Have then filled the remainder with the no dig layering system. Our first planting was last October and had a fantastic result. This was done at my daughters Primary School and the kids have loved planting, watching produce grow and then tasting the end result.The bins we first planted into were 1.1m x 1.1m wide by inside depth of 600mm. Very surprising amount of produce to one bin and plants were very healthy, which I have put down to good preparation and great air flow due to being a raised garden bed.We have now started preparing soil in new bins that are 1.8m x 1.2m wide and 600mm inside depth, ready to plant even more. We are going to attempt growing fruit trees in them as well. All plantings done as companion planting and NO chemicals have been used at all. Not sure how long bins will last, but has been a great exercise for everyone involved.
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Geelong Vic
25th March 2009 4:36pm
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au0rey says...
Craig, u mention about using bricks, can i know if you need to use cement to hold them together?
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melbourne
28th March 2009 4:27pm
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deb says...
I agree with shaz, Why buy items with added chemicals that you are actually told about. I have studied chemical buildup in the body and what happens is this. When we are young we are exposed to all sorts of chemicals, our body however has enough enzymes to remove these effectively. however as we age we are subject to more chemicals which remain in the cells of our bodies and the enzymes decrease with age. hence we get aches and pains and problems which plague us all as we get older. so the more you can eradicate chemicals from your lives, the better you will feel, even ordinary cleaners,moisturisers,etc they all contain petrochemicals.hope this helps..
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deb4
Australia
2nd April 2009 10:55am
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Kath says...
these were all grown using no chemicals in Perth's terrible sandy soils fertilised with composted chook & horse poo & worm casting-got a few bumps & scars & my hubby calls the carrots ' Chernobyl carrots' but they taste great!!!
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KathK
perth
8th April 2009 7:18pm
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margro says...
hey there...can anyone comment if it's ok to use recycled oregon as a garden bed? Cheers Mark
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margro
Adelaide
8th April 2009 9:29pm
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au0rey says...
Kath, cool picture of your harvest. I am trying to be as organic as I can as well. Two questions. Manure and worm casting all these contain NPK, but how about the trace elements such as zinc, manganese..etc that the vege/fruits need? I do use manure and worm casting but I feel that I needed to use chemcial fertiliser at times for the trace elements.

Also, are yours grown in ground or pot? Most of mine are in pots. Could that be the reason I have to resort to chemcial fertilisers as even premium potting mixes may not have the trace elements found in soil.
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melbourne
9th April 2009 8:30pm
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Julie says...
au0rey, contact info@ecogrowth.com.au. They make a mineral mix which is suitable for organic growers. No need to resort to synthetic chemicals.

I use it all the time, and have been growing organically for about 25 years.

A lot of trace elements are missing from our soils, so growing in the ground wouldn't necessarily fix your problem.
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Roleystone WA
9th April 2009 9:23pm
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Kath says...
Hi AuOrey, mine are all grown in the ground. I give the fruit trees trace elements twice a year as our soil (sand) lacks heaps eg molybdenum (?sp)but not the vegies-they just get the poo/castings plus as a treat liqid seawood/comfrey juice.
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KathK
perth
9th April 2009 10:36pm
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au0rey says...
Thanks Julie & Kath for your help! :)
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melbourne
10th April 2009 12:08pm
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Julie says...
au0rey, I forgot to mention the name of the product! It is Eco Prime Natural, available in 20(?) kg bags. It will last a long time.

I sent the email so you could find out who supplies it near you.
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Roleystone WA
11th April 2009 6:18pm
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wobbly says...
hi i have a veggie garden i used half railway sleepers and just used wood posts to support it .it is 2.4 metres x1.20 metres bunnings cut the sleepers in half for me.
i have a worm farm so i add the castings regularly , i add blood and bone and have a large bucket with horse manure in it which i top up with water then pour the water over the vegies. iam successfully growing pumpkins, tomatoes ,beans , peppers , spring onions , squash , spinach, silverbeet, and zucchini.the intial cost was the sleepers and wood stakes . the worm farm i have had for years .
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wobbly
Australia
13th April 2009 7:48am
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Galah says...

Hi,

What a great forum!

I'm getting a 3.5m x 2m x 2.1m greenhouse delivered soon( can't wait), and plan to grow winter veggies in it.

Can anyone who has grow winter veggies in southern Victoria in a greenhouse have any suggestions on what to grow?

At the moment I have some seedlings happening in readiness for the greenhouse arrival including; brussel sprouts, snow peas and silverbeet.

Any more types of veggies I can try over winter?

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Galah
Geelong
13th April 2009 10:16pm
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Tiggerbow says...
Hi All,
I have been reading the forums in regards to garden beds and the problems which people are encountering. I think I have found a pretty good solution.
I went to Tankmaster today in Midland (WA). They are producing poly 'earth rings'. These look very similar to the colourbond raised beds but seem to be cheaper and as they are made out of poly there is no rusting, corrosion, chemicals etc. They are light and seem to be quite cheap (800W x 1350L x 700H = $180.00). I am going to save my pennies and try these out.
I hope this helps and when I give mine a go I will report back.
Happy growing !!
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Tiggerbow
Perth, WA
18th April 2009 6:25pm
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wobbly says...
hi barry i want to make a compost area with corrugated iron but in a u shape so that i can access it to turn the compost.my non gardening hubby says the iron won t bend. all the water tank places sell them . they don t seem to support the shape only have stakes at the opening ? what do you think ? has any body else tried . thanks wobbly
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wobbly
Australia
20th April 2009 7:42am
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Jane says...
I've stumbled across this forum and it has been really helpful to read. Thanks everyone! I'm building my no dig garden this weekend and I was going to use treated pine with plastic on the inside. I've now decided against this and I'm thinking about not using any surrounds at all. What are your thoughts on this? Is it a bad idea?
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Jane7
Perth
24th April 2009 12:37am
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John I. says...
Hi Jane,
Gardening Australia did a piece on creating a no dig vegitable garden last year. They used a round design with a keyhole. As a border they simple used mulch. You can find the fact sheet on their website www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2214370.htm
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JohnI
Melton
24th April 2009 7:05am
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Jane says...
Thanks so much, John! That's decided it for me. I can't wait to go and pick up some hay this morning!
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Jane7
Perth
24th April 2009 9:59am
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Carol and Gary says...
We are a small business suppling and or installing raised colorbond gardens for those interested
Cheers Carol and Gary
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Carol and Gary
Perth
24th April 2009 4:05pm
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Barry says...
Hi Wobbly, the corrugated iron will bend easily because you are bending it along the axis of the corrugations and not across them as used for a normal gal. water tank. As for the open ends to access the compost so that you can get some exercise shovelling it around: make the structure in the shape of a semicircle and use star pickets at each end to anchor the sheets. Either use fairly long pickets so that there is about 500mm below ground level or use a loop of fencing wire to tie the tops of the pickets together. Twisting the wire loop will tension the pickets towards each other, as with a Spanish Windlass, If you want to use a U shape you will probably need more pickets to support the straight sides of the U
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Barry1
Iluka NSW
26th April 2009 3:46pm
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au0rey says...
This winter is going to be the first for my plants. Does anyone here grow thyme or rosemary or chilli? Do they turn yellow in winter? Mine seem to have some leaves doing so. Not sure if it is the cold or some deficiency. Would appreciate some advice.
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Melbourne
27th April 2009 5:56pm
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Julie says...
au0rey, thyme and rosemary don't usually turn yellow in winter. Could it be a pH problem? They are both very tough plants that don't normally have any problems.

Chili will definitely 'go off' in cold weather, as it is a tropicl plant. The plant will stop producing and look a bit straggly. Give it a hard prune in August and it will take off again when the weather warms.
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Roleystone WA
27th April 2009 7:55pm
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Julie says...
Duh! Should have looked at the photos before responding!

The yellow leaves are all lower leaves -no problem with the others. This is all quite normal, lots of plants do this.
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Roleystone WA
27th April 2009 8:02pm
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au0rey says...
Hi Julie! Thanks! All three are in pots but the thyme and rosemary never had this happening since I grew them last spring. I do hope it is not some deficiency cos I thought they do not need much to grow. As for the chilli, the yellowing is happening to the very young leaves for now. And new fruits shrivel before developing further. :)
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Melbourne
27th April 2009 11:23pm
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Julie says...
I don't know about your chili - do you give it enough water? Just a thought.

Could your thyme and rosemary need repotting? They are very deep-rooted plants that do best in the garden, especially rosemary, which is a medium sized bush. I have grown thyme in a pot,but it needed repotting every year to give room for the roots.

Also, although they are drought-resistant when grown in the ground, they need regular water in pots.
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Roleystone WA
28th April 2009 6:35pm
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belinda says...
Great forum, has anybody tried or heard of people using recyled plastic for retaining raised gard beds. Thanks
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bee13
Bayswater WA
30th April 2009 1:29am
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au0rey says...
Hi Julie, yeah my chilli plant gets sufficient water especially in the recent rains. I grow most my plants in pots cos i am renting and will move into purchased property end of the year. Really cant wait to plant them in the ground indeed. :)

Will continue to monitor them and see what happens.
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Melbourne
30th April 2009 7:12pm
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Julie says...
au0rey, I do the same - grow a lot of stuff in pots. I hope to build some time next year, so the pots just keep getting bigger!
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Roleystone WA
30th April 2009 8:29pm
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Jim says...
Carol and Gary,

Would you be able to post some information on the colourbond raised garden beds?

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30th April 2009 11:07pm
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Kath says...
I was doing a bit of research re the colourbond garden beds & came across a comment by a man who works in the steel industry that they are not suitable as being constantly moist they will rust out,-read Pomelo's comment on this link

http://www2b.abc.net.au/tmb/Client/Message.aspx?b=72&m=3059&ps=20&dm=1&pd=3

At the garden show in Perth there was a company with a rustproof version-the link is

http://www.tankmaster.com.au/mast_earth_rings.asp

I don't know anyone who's tried them but it would be worth exploring as neither are cheap.

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KathK
perth
1st May 2009 2:06pm
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Galah says...

Bought this on ebay and I must say I am very satisfied with the service, price and product.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Greenhouse-3-5x2x2M-Large-Green-Garden-Hot-House-New_W0QQitemZ330316941537QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_15?hash=item330316941537&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A1|39%3A1|240%3A1318#ebayphotohosting

I now have thriving seedlings for my winter veggies.

Will keep you all updated in a month or two on how they are going. Maybe I will own a digital camera by then and can post some picks.

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Galah
Geelong
1st May 2009 11:25pm
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Ellen says...
Hi Galah,

How strong is that thing ? I am scare that it might not be strong enough to hold it when it come to a really strong windy day, I 've bought a couple of tomatoes house, and none able to withstood Sydney windy day . :-(
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Ellen
Smithfield
2nd May 2009 12:32am
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Galah says...


We here in Victoria got hit with a southerly blast last week, with wind gusts up to 90kph, and the greenhouse held up ok.

It was shaking quite a bit in the wind, but I had pinned the whole thing down with 8 long tent pegs looped over the bottom rung of the structure, and no damage at all.

I was very impressed with it's strength, especially considering the price.



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Galah
Geelong
2nd May 2009 9:47am
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barry says...
Kath, I am not speculating or theorising about using corrugated iron or colorbond to form garden beds. I have been doing it for several years. No, the sheets do not last forever. They do last for several years. You can extend the life by lining the sheets with black plastic. I doubt if any other method for making raised garden beds can compete in time, convenience or cost.

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barry7
Iluka
2nd May 2009 11:46am
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Wayne says...
Galah says...
"I was very impressed with it's strength, especially considering the price."
---
Well done, please keep us informed as to how the shelter is going, the UV factor would be interesting, however, after just a couple of seasons it should pay for itself.
=======================
For raised garden beds I am gathering up some old tractor and truck tyres from the tyre people. I'm thinking that tyres will last forever, you can get different sizes, you can stack them on top of each other to make the bed deeper, and the best part of it is that they are free. If you don't like the wide rim simply cut it off with a jig saw.
Once I get them organized I'll post some pics.
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Wayne
Mackay
2nd May 2009 2:52pm
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Carol and Gary says...
Hi we seem to have a healthy debate going on re colorbond raised beds.We have been using ours for 4 years it shows no signs of wear,we know of others that have been in use longer.We agree with Barry for time cost and effort you cant beat it.The aount of money saved in the last 4 years far outweighs the initial cost.In addition they are light, assembled and eaily moved and pleasing to the eye.
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3rd May 2009 3:00pm
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Caol and Gary says...
raised garden bed
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Perth
3rd May 2009 3:14pm
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Kath says...
these are a poly version of the raised beds so in theory should outlive any of us
-it should be a one off purchase I'd imagine as they won't rust and the price is comparible

http://www.tankmaster.com.au/mast_earth_rings.asp
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KathK
perth
3rd May 2009 3:23pm
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Carol and Gary says...
Hi Kath,this is an alternative solution to colourbond inote however you are limited in sizes is there a reason.I see from their website they also make colorbond planters in a bigger range i wonder why.
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Perth
3rd May 2009 4:22pm
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carol and gary says...
hi jim
re:information on raised colorbond beds
sizes:round from 965 diameter
to 3450 diameter

smallest oblong width 610mm length 1170mm
largest 1500mm width 3000 length

rectangular width 1000mm length 1000mm
largest 1500mm width length 3000mm
There are a large range of sizes inbetween these examples.
They are one complete unit
All have a rolled top safety edge and are blind riveted.
All come in the full range of colorbond colours
Lightweight can be moved by one person
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3rd May 2009 5:15pm
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Wayne says...
I paid a visit to our local tyre dealer this morning and he was most pleased to give me these tractor tyres for nothing. They do look a bit unsightly but once I position them, level them and cut the tops out they should dress up OK.

Perhaps not for all but in my back yard they don't look to much out of place. Sort of goes with the old outhouse.

The tyres cut quiet easily with a course blade in a jigsaw
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Wayne
Mackay
9th May 2009 3:30pm
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Jirt says...
I have heard that tyres leach cadmium into the soil and are not recommended for growing vegetables - might be worth doing some research if this is the intended use.
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Jirt
Redlands Qld
10th May 2009 3:35pm
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amanda says...
I used left over colourbond sheets from building our house and star pickets - cheap n easy and my hubby used the angle-grinder on any sharp edges. Seen people use split hose for edges too. We have termite heaven here. I wouldn't use tyres for root veg (which is a storage organ) - they are full of awful chemicals that may leach under certain conditions (eg - acidity, moisture, bacteria)Perhaps a question for BC gardening australia guys?
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amanda19
geraldton WA
10th May 2009 6:58pm
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Wayne says...
Good comment Jirt, so I did some research.

http://tireprojectsforhawaii.com/gardening.aspx
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Wayne
Mackay
10th May 2009 7:01pm
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amanda says...
PS - railway sleepers are treated with creosote. Might not be nice for your veg? I don't know much about it.
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amanda19
geraldton WA
10th May 2009 7:01pm
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amanda says...
I wouldn't use retaining bricks in a dry zone - we find they are like terracotta pots and cause excessive loss of moisture thru evaporation. The mortar on the great wall of china is made with rice flour i believe? it's still there!
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amanda19
geraldton WA
10th May 2009 7:10pm
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richard says...
I am planning to use untreaded hardwood sleeper from bunnings. Intended to have a 600mm high raised vege plot. To overcome termite infesting the hardwood, I believe that by raising the bottom stack by 200mm with bricks shouls be able to overcome the problem. That means bottom 200mm is brick and top 400mm is hardwood sleeper. Just wonder has any body tried it yet?
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richard7
victoria
15th May 2009 11:06pm
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Wayne says...
Hello Richard
I'm afraid that the termites will still be able to reach the hardwood by climbing up the inside of the beds. What sort of hardwood will you be using, normally termites will attack only the sap wood part of hardwood but if you can get iron bark or stringy bark they will not touch them at all.
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Wayne
Mackay
16th May 2009 7:02am
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amanda says...
Can u use termimesh? maybe it might rust though?)
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amanda19
geraldton WA
16th May 2009 11:50am
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Wayne says...
It wouldn't be practical I'm afraid Amanda, Let's see what Richard says about the hardwood variety. Personally I would just use the hardwood straight on the ground or make the complete bed out of bricks, but I feel appearance could be important here.
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Wayne
Mackay
16th May 2009 6:08pm
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Kaye says...
Hi Kath,
This forum has helped me to build my first raised veggie garden out of 1/2 an old metal rainwater tank. I am now wondering what would be the easiest vegies and herbs to grow at this time of the year in Perth. I intend to also grow some marigolds to deter pests.
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Kaye1
Perth
16th May 2009 7:06pm
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richard says...
Hi Wayne,

Thanks for highlighting. The termite can still attack from inside of the beds. The sleeper I saw at bunnings is Red Gum. Is it a good choice of timber to use for raised garden bed? Iron bark should be good but I think it is expensive and rare to find.
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richard7
victoria
16th May 2009 9:30pm
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amanda says...
Richard - maybe you should speak with your local pest controller first.
The termites eat our railway sleepers and jarrah stakes here(it is a myth that termites wont touch jarrah) and when I asked ours why - he told me that they will go for anything outside their normal diet - they love hardwoods cos they are a 'treat' but more importantly they are a long lasting food source for them. Termites love moisture also - so a wet veggie bed will soon make your timber soft, dark and attractive to them.

Maybe you could try burying a piece of your chosen timber in a good spot and see what happensb4 you invest $$
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amanda19
geraldton WA
17th May 2009 12:30pm
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ally says...
Hi Richard
As a novel idea, I used old terracotta pots I had laying around. They were all at least 30cm high as a minimum and then I lined around the inside with some cheap plastic edging on a roll, to stop the dirt slipping through the cracks. The pots looks natural and I also put herbs in the pots to protect my vegies in the beds.
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ally
sydney
17th May 2009 1:36pm
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Wayne says...
Hello Richard, I'm afraid I know nothing about red gum so perhaps do as Amanda suggests. If you are really keen with time to spare you could form and pour concrete beds, I have done that years ago and found them to be very cheap to make.
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Wayne
Mackay
17th May 2009 6:02pm
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katie says...
Hey guys new to site i use colorbond containers no probs for 2 years
Using timber seems to be a major hassle
after reading last 15 posts.It all seems to much of a problem.Might cost a bit in beginning but place fill and plant is a lot easier.Ive tried the other ways but now im a convert.
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katie4
Rockingham WA
18th May 2009 4:20pm
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van says...
I am in Melbourne and giving my first veggie patch a try - wondering whether there is anything I might be able to plant at this time of year?
Should I sow seeds in punnets and then transfer to my raised bed once established?
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Van1
 
3rd June 2009 11:57pm
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Julie says...
Hi van. I would say it is far too late to sow anything from seed now. You may be able to buy seedlings from a nursery which would do OK.

I sowed seeds of various veg in March, then more in April. The March ones did really well, the April ones struggled.

Although the weather was warm, the day length had changed, enough to make a difference.

It won't be long before you can think of sowing summer crops. I start seeds of tomatoes, capsicum and chili inside in July - not so far away!

Maybe use the time learning and planning, or making compost!
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Roleystone WA
7th June 2009 5:30pm
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wobbly says...
hi i am on my second vegie garden at the same address [22 years] the first i just used the jarrah edging and 2 years ago i upgraded and made the garden bigger and used the redgum sleepers from bunnings . i have never had any termites wreck the edging.the original garden i used lucern hay ,mushroom compost horse manure and potting mix .did not dig at all , this time i filled the area with soil horse manure , worm casting and some blood and bone, ijust dug the grass off the top about 2 inches. i put weed mat around the area and between the beds.
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clematis vic
8th June 2009 9:13am
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Julie says...
van, I had another thought,re something you could do now in your veggi patch.

You could sow some oats(or other grasses) as a green manure. Then chop it down in spring before it seeds.This will add organic matter to your soil at little cost.
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Roleystone WA
8th June 2009 4:19pm
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Brad says...
peas?
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Brad2
Perth
8th June 2009 4:36pm
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Galah says...
Hi all.

Just got back from an organic farm(see below link), and saw some newly planted potatoes that are thriving in a winter.

http://www.gardenfarm.biz/

They use inexpensive wire( cook wire or similar), and form a circle about 1 metre in diameter. Then lined with a generous thickness of straw, filled to about 40cm with compost and plant the potatoes in that.

The straw keeps the soil warm enough for the spuds to thrive, and if frost is a threat, they gust throw plastic or Hessian over the plot to protect them.

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Galah
 
9th June 2009 11:17am
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Julie says...
Galah,good idea, I forgot about potatoes. Van mentioned growing from seed, so that's what I focused on.

I don't know where you live Van, but in Perth, July and January are the usual months for putting in potatoes.

I think on this forum it is helpful to say where you are, as climates are so varied around australia.

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Roleystone WA
9th June 2009 7:59pm
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Van says...
Thanks Julie and others for the reponses, yes I did mention it above but forgot to enter it in the box :)
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Van1
Melbourne
9th June 2009 10:42pm
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amanda says...
Hi Van - I swear by Pete Cundalls method of growing spuds..I get bumper crops and then the soil is absolutely perfect for growing the hungry crops afterward, when the weather warms. The spuds are also nice n clean.

I grow a thick lupin crop - whipper-snipper it, put the spuds on top, a handful of soil, some blood n bone n lots potash, then a meter thick straw, water well, then chuck anything you have got on top - soil, sawdust, some manure (not too much) cheap potting mix, seaweed etc, water again...and that's it. I don't need to hill them at all - just water and watch them go.

The worms go mad and you have also conditioned your soil for little effort.
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amanda19
geraldton.WA
10th June 2009 10:53am
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Julie says...
Re potatoes: does everyone here grow from seed potatoes (virus tested), or just the spuds you buy from the shop?

I have never bought the 'proper' ones, and never had any problems.
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Roleystone WA
10th June 2009 5:14pm
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amanda says...
Hi Julie - last yr I used shop ones - no problems at all (used white, royal blu and kipfler - my fave) This year I tried the same thing and they went rotten (I don't think they were fresh enuf') - but the 1/2 doz organic one's (King edwards) ok.
I replanted the same plot with seed spuds and they doing very well (I rotate the bed each season) Others I know use shop one's with no prob's too.

I drool over the Diggers selections..another quarantine no-no :((
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amanda19
geraldton.WA
10th June 2009 6:06pm
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amanda says...
Using tyres in the garden - there is an article on this in the July/Aug edition of Organic Gardener for those who may be interested.
(the gist is that they are best avoided until the research has been done with the leaching issues)
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amanda19
geraldton.WA
11th June 2009 6:26pm
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scott says...
If you can get to a timber yard- that being a place they actually saw the timber you can get cut sleepers 8x2inch by about 2.4 meters for about $12 each. I built my garden from these 2 rows high and 3 sleepers long.

Raised bed on weedmatt to stop any growth up.

Hope that helps
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scott8
coffs harbour
2nd July 2009 10:47am
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Esther says...
Hi all,
It's been interesting reading. I'm in the process of building a raised vege garden and never really thought about all the options.
I did read recently on the internet about a guy using boric acid, which is virtually harmless I think, to "paint" his untreated wood with which makes it unpalatable to termites and it won't rot. Sounds too good to be true???? I don't know. Maybe it's worth checking out.
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Esther2
Gympie
6th July 2009 6:59pm
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Julie says...
Yes, borax will kill ants. There is a product made from this which is used for wood, but can't remember what it's called. I'll try and ask someone who knows.

Borax is the main ingredient in Antrid.
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Roleystone WA
6th July 2009 7:31pm
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Dekka says...
You'll be risking Boron toxicity. In fact, I would think that by the time the resulting Boron levels in your garden bed have leached away enough to be able to grow plants in, the timber will probably no longer be protected.
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Dekka
Newcastle
6th July 2009 7:53pm
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MindfulMama says...
Great discussion - I've learnt a lot :)

Wanted to pass on that hardwood isnt necessarily chemical free - we had a hardwood fence installed presuming it was CCA free only to find out after the fact that the posts were in fact treated.

With the raised tank beds, anyone know about the dangers of the PVC / polymer coating leaching nasties like formaldehdye into the soil? I know PVC is a general no-no, just not sure about its use in gardening?

And what to do about the fact that all our garden beds will have to be near CCA treated timber fences? There doesnt seem to be any conclusive facts I can find about how far away from the fences I need to plant (& we dont have a lot of space to spare!) & what I can do to protect the space from the fences leaching.
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MindfulMama
Brisbane
21st August 2009 9:57pm
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Wayne says...
I must agree with you MindfulMama, any hardwood with the sap wood still attached will be treated, the borers will not touch the heart wood of most hardwoods but will eat out the sap wood.

The only exception to that rule that I know off is Yellow Stringy Bark, the borers do not touch any part of the tree. Perhaps Turpentine is the same. I used to like building houses with the Yellow Stringy but it is very hard to come by now.

The coal miners up here strip clear huge tracks of it and other good hardwood be we are not allowed to touch it. Better they burn it rather than put it to good use.
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
22nd August 2009 6:46am
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Original Post was last edited: 22nd August 2009 6:47am
Wayne says...
"anyone know about the dangers of the PVC / polymer coating leaching nasties like formaldehdye into the soil?"
----------

I know nothing about this MindfulMama and I really don't have a problem with CCA treated pine around garden beds. Very little if any poison would leach out in my opinion and what does would be so minuscule that it wouldn't be worth worrying about. I have worked with treated timber all my life with no side effects.

My "tyre garden" has progressed with Tomatoes, Beans, Zucchinis, Eschallots, Cucumbers, Silverbeet and Cos Lettuce.

I gave the Mango tree a prune with the chain saw hoping to try help control the Anthracnose but you might be able to see the dying flowers on top where I can't reach with the spray.

Notice the deformed Zucchini flowers in the last photo

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Wayne
Mackay QLD
22nd August 2009 8:25am
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Wayne says...
My "tyre garden" has progressed with tomatoes, eschallots, zucchinis, beans, silverbeet, cucumbers and cos lettuce. Note the deformed zucchini flowers.

I know nothing about "PVC / polymer coating leaching nasties" but I have worked with treated timber all my life and don't have a problem with it.

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Wayne
Mackay QLD
22nd August 2009 8:34am
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amanda says...
Hi Wayne..they are weird flowers n all! Are they grown from seed saved from previous crop?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
22nd August 2009 10:49am
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Wayne says...
Hello Amanda
They are bought seeds and it's happening with just one bush, all the others are OK
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
22nd August 2009 11:09am
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amanda says...
Oh...do u think it might be a virus or something? (mosiac viruses make cucumbers n zucchinis go all wierd...) If the leaves are the same then probly ok..keep eye on it tho' ..maybe just a mutant too...
There's a picture of one on this link:

http://www.annettemcfarlane.com/diseaseID.htm
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
22nd August 2009 11:15am
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Wayne says...
Thank you Amanda, the leaves are not deformed but I will keep an eye on it and post more pics later.

Interesting photo of that Tahitian Lime with Stylar end rot, my fruit developed that and I cured it with Epsom salts, now I let the fruit yellow and drop with no problems
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
22nd August 2009 2:06pm
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Julie says...
I had forgotten all about this, but my Tahitian lime used to have a sort of brown rot at the tips in its early years. I did nothing (because I didn't know what caused it) and for the last few years it has been fine. A puzzle!
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Roleystone WA
29th August 2009 7:11pm
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bob says...
ohh no, i just finished my first raised veggie garden and have enough for a second in C.C.A. H4 from bunnings
and im so thrilled not , now i have
stumpled on this forum maybe the black
plastic on the insides will help, or do i cart it all to the tip and start again,
i was here to ask what was best to use
underneath to stop weeds and not feed the white ant population and soil type
etc

help !!




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bob9
Australia
30th August 2009 3:32pm
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Original Post was last edited: 30th August 2009 3:40pm
Wayne says...
Simply carry on Bob in my opinion, I wouldn't worry to much. By all means line the inside with black plastic, or possibly paint it with a water based paint ?????? or perhaps line the inside with hardiflex????? How deep is it?

You shouldn't need to use anything to stop the weeds, as far as the white ants go, they won't hurt much. Soil type?? the best you can afford from what's available, plenty of mulch etc.

Good luck
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
30th August 2009 3:44pm
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Wayne says...
Here's a couple of pics of my beds today. I find that the tyres attract heat and keep the beds warm, OK for when it's cold but as summer approaches I think I might paint them white, then build a shade cloth roof over them.
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
30th August 2009 3:59pm
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bob says...
thank you wayne i took your advise

and used the black plastic, on the sides

its 400mm deep,im also debateing on

using the weed mat i purchased or just

dig the turf up first and work the soil before i fill it with the good soil and
mulch
thanks


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bob9
Australia
7th September 2009 5:51am
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Wayne says...
Hello Bob
I don't think it's necessary to use the weed mat unless you have nut grass [I don't if it works on that]just leave the turf there.

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Wayne
Mackay QLD
7th September 2009 9:34am
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wobbly says...
hi i have had some great advice and help from everybody before . thank you.
i am putting a 64 metre path i have managed to get 3 trailer loads of bricks and a load of fine road base i am planning to put the cement the bricks end to end as the edge and put the road base as the path. my questions are
1. do i have box the bricks in ? so when i put the gravel in and compact it down the bricks will stay put.
2. if i cement the edging and leave it for aweek or so will the cement be off and i wont have to box it in?
3 . i am trying to do this a cheap as possible, but i do want it to last !is the easiest way to compact it with a machine or is there some thing i have at home that will do the job ?
next problem ....
my broccoli and cauliflower heads are not happening i read some where to much some thing ?? cant remember what it was , i use aged horse manure , worm casting , blood and bone, and seaweed liquid regularly . what am missing or am i putting tooo much ?? thanks again everybody .
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wobbly
clematis
15th September 2009 12:32pm
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Wayne says...
Hey wobbly, a 64M path is one big job, that's over 200ft long. I have done 100's over the years so here we go.
[1] You need to de-grass the site first
[2] Lay a minumum of 100mm of road base and screed roughly to the required height.
[3] For a better job hire a whacker packer or you can make your own stomper. If you can weld, get a bit of 1"x1" about 5' long for a handle and weld it to a bit of heavy flat plate say 12" x 8" x 1/2". If you can't weld get a pick or mattock and fasten a bit of 2" hardwood to the end of it, leave the head on for weight.
[4]Once you've done this you should need to add another 1/2" or less to get it to the right level. Sand is best for this, screed it to what height you want and lay the bricks taping them with a rubber mallet as you go to settle them.
[5] Very important ---- Ensure that you have laid the road base at least 4" wider each side of the path.
[6] Make up a mix of 3 parts coarse sand to 1 of cement, not to wet. Lay it along the sides and taper it off to nothing in 4"

As far as the broccoli etc goes, I don't know
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
15th September 2009 5:58pm
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Brendan says...
Hi wobbly,
Try spraying your broccoli & cauliflower with a weak solution of Condys Crystals and a wetting agent, 2 to 3 times a week. That should help 'em form heads.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
16th September 2009 6:43am
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amanda says...
Cool Brendan - I will try that - I grow great broccoli but lousy cauli's! Mine either don't form a head or go all flowery whilst they are growing it. I think sometimes it's either too warm here - or that Bunnings isn't getting the right varieties in at the right time (most likely) (or they are lousy varieties - as one professional grower told me)

Are there any varieties of cauli u can recommend?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
16th September 2009 9:42am
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda,
The varity I grew was called 'Phenomenal Early'. They did take a long time to grow though.
I haven't grown them for a while, I must put some in next year, too late here now.

After planting out the seedlings, I'd put green sawdust around the plant, this keeps the slugs away.
A dressing of dolomite (or lime), helps too.
And don't forget the seaweed mulch.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
17th September 2009 6:39am
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amanda says...
Ok Brendan - will do. Interestingly - I have not had slugs (or snails) up until this winter - they have finally found our oasis! I got a real shock when I shone the torch on the lawn the other night - there were hundreds of small one's. The lawn looks great.
Should I treat it for the slugs?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
17th September 2009 9:00am
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Toby says...
Get some poultry and your slugs will disappear.
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Toby
Perth
17th September 2009 12:01pm
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amanda says...
I think the dogs will eat the chooks first Toby :( I only see the slugs at nite....can't see how they would get to them in the day? - the lawn is a buffaloe and very thick n dense.
Any other organic ways to get rid of slugs in lawn out there?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
17th September 2009 4:51pm
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wobbly says...
thank you wayne i wanted to use the house bricks as the edge and put the very fine road base as the path so do i have to put the sand under the road base and can i cement the bricks as the edge and pack down the road base. [like when you use lilydale toppings]
the path was meant to be simple and easy just to get rid of a slippery shaded goat track. but i have been given the bricks and the 12 ton of road base so it has changed !!!!
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wobbly
clematis
17th September 2009 6:36pm
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amanda says...
Good luck Wobbly! Sounds like **@# hard work to me :) We laid all our paths in a thick layer of cracker dust (granite dust I think) They are great - it's cheap stuff to buy in and a few hrs with an experienced bob-cat operator and the jobs done.

For the few weeds that make it thru' - just a toe kick with the boot and that's it. Great for kids on bikes etc. I love them. Can highly recommend for anyone who needs to lay a lot of path. :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
18th September 2009 9:46pm
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Wayne says...
Sorry about the delay wobbly
You won't need sand for that job nor cement, just set the bricks on a couple of inches of the base. Spread dirt on one side to within say an inch from the top of the bricks to allow for the lawn and the road base to the height you require between the bricks, pack both dirt and base well. A stomper is enough for this job.
If you wish for a more stable edge you could spread a mix of 4 sand to 1 cement under the bricks and lay them in that, like a bricklayer does.
Have fun
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
19th September 2009 5:17am
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Original Post was last edited: 19th September 2009 7:34am
Jo says...
HiWayne (Mackay)

I used truck tyres stacked 4 high for my worm farm, masses of worms and I throw everything into all yard clippings and use the mower to mulch all the fallen leaves in the yard etc and throw all that in too. I have covered the tyre tower with super thick mattress protector in white but left the tyres black, the tyres are in dappled shade.
I also have seperate compost areas but I find that the tyre worm farm produces the quickest and best compost/worm castings. When I feel like it (like to get to the bottom of the pile once or twice a year mmm yum LOL) I pull the top tyre off and just start a new pile then add the second tyre from the other pile when I have used the compost that was at that level and so on until all tyres are on the new pile. The worms that are in the edges of the tyres are more than enough to start the worm farm off again.
Cutting the rims out was not easy though. The truck tyres all had steel in them. Tried with angle grinder, snips and the jigsaw but in the end only managed to cut two walls out - one wall out of two tyres. It works fine because the protected area between the walls encourages worms to bed in them and so when starting the new pile of tyres - lots of worms in there.
I use car tyres for planters and when I am able to pick up more truck tyres I will make a second worm/compost bin.

Cheers
Jo
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Jo1
Eagleby QLD
20th September 2009 2:18am
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Wayne says...
Very interesting post Jo, thank you
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
20th September 2009 4:28am
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Antz Pantz says...
Thanks EVERYONE for sharing :)

I lived 3 blocks from the beach & virtually have NO soil ~ only sand ~ & I am renting. My feeling was that raised gardens were my only option & I have been dabbling with tyres quite sussessfully. Pls see potatoes now 3 tiers high & alwast ready for another. The small square beds were made cheaply with $7 little bamboo fences (from cheap shop, lined with thick cardboard wrapped in black gardening plastic (about 60c a meter from any hardware). I have sourced mushroom compost for 50-60c per bag. I used 5 of these + 1 big bag of horse poo ($2) & semi fine cane mulch layered in both beds (same composition in tyres). I'm getting beautiful big fresh mushies every day. Seedlings have done so well using ONLY mushroom compost in handmade newspaper pots ~ the fabulous wooden tool for making these is available online at Green Harvest ~ who specialize in online ordering of ORGANIC SEEDS.
www.greenharvest.com.au
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Antz Pantz
Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast, Qld.
21st September 2009 1:37pm
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Hillside says...
Hi Amanda,
Try putting out beer in saucers. When you come out the next morning you are likely to have a `pool' of slugs who died very happily!! It works beautifully for us.
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Hillside
Melbourne
27th September 2009 9:46am
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amanda says...
Thanks Hillside! Will do...(hopefully the dogs won't have a booze up on it!? :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
27th September 2009 10:07am
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amanda says...
Hey Julie...followed your lead and knocked up a shade-house for my veg for this summer! NO bugs NO wind and NO hot sun - yay! It's not flash but whatever...I might b able to save some water now and perhaps the seedlings won't all go straight to flower!? :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
27th September 2009 10:44am
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Original Post was last edited: 27th September 2009 10:48am
Julie says...
You have been a busy girl amanda! Mine doesn't go around the sides - it is an octagonal shape and shades from overhead sun.

Some plants get quite a lot of morning sun,like tomatoes and capsicums, but I think they need it to ripen faster.
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Roleystone WA
27th September 2009 3:49pm
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amanda says...
Oh - thanks for tip Julie - I did plant a cupla eggplants and capsicum in there - maybe it will be too shady. The material on the sides is not a shadecloth as such - it's a windbreak fabric. I might hedge my bets and put some outside. I want to grow mainly greens in there.

I think the person who invented cable ties is my hero/ine!

It's a great place to escape the bush flies tho'!! Might set my deck chair up in there too ;)))
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
27th September 2009 4:45pm
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Original Post was last edited: 27th September 2009 4:50pm
Donnadid says...
I built 6 raised beds from besser blocks. They were seconds and I had originally purchased enough to do 3 but ended up being delivered enough to do 6 beds. This picture was taken a year ago and the 'holes' can be filled with soil and planted. I did cos lettuce out of the holes last year and this year I have garlic growing well. They are two blocks high and I have not used any mortar - they just sit nicely. I now have surrounds on top made from wood and shadecloth to protect the vegies from the chooks! (Will add a photo of that later)
We used the lasagne recipe (newspaper, hay, compost, etc) for filling the beds and I am well pleased with it a year on.
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DonnaB
crows nest qld
27th September 2009 5:04pm
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amanda says...
Hi Donnadid..that's a great idea! Besser blocks are quite light I am told? and u can move them whenever u want? Can I ask how much they cost?
I guess u could spray the outside with sealant also - if they are porous?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
27th September 2009 5:11pm
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Donnadid says...
Hi Amanda - it they cost $320 delivered (I live 45 minutes out of town)for 100 of them but they actually ended up giving me 200. 100 is enough for 3 beds at that height. I will take photos of our surrounds and post them up tomorrow. The thing about besser is that they have two walls rather than being a solid brick. besser blocks are very heavy and that is why I needed no mortar - they just sit where you put them (at two high anyway).
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DonnaB
crows nest qld
27th September 2009 5:49pm
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brad says...
Can anyone recommend a similar forum for vegies? My first crop of peas got spotty towards the (premature) end of their cropping. But this is after all a fruit tree forum

thanks,
Brad

PS where should i ask about my hibiscus where the top leaves are going yellow-white while the bottom leaves are happy dark green?
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Brad2
Perth
2nd October 2009 5:06pm
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Wayne says...
We talk about anything that grows here Brad start a new thread with that pic and question, then a separate one for your hibiscus
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
2nd October 2009 7:59pm
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wobbly says...
hi thanksto everybody who has helped me with my path it well on its way [photos later] also info on whipper snippers.
i have unlimited supply of tank water for a vegie garden lately i seem to have it tooo wet or to dry , how long and how often should i water ?
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wobbly
clematis
3rd October 2009 8:10am
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Saxman says...
I finally took some photos of my berry plants (mostly blueberry varieties) and just thought i'd post them up!

Do you like my pie plant? Wasn't bad for a first try but still lookin for a great recipe!!!

Cheers,
Saxman!

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Saxman
Perth WA
3rd October 2009 6:33pm
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Saxman says...
Whoops put my post on wrong forum... oh well!
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Saxman
Perth WA
3rd October 2009 7:19pm
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Ellen says...
Hi Saxman

your b/b plants, those must be in 2nd yr if not 3rd yr. of growing, eh ?
They look awesome Sax
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Ellen
Smithfield
4th October 2009 8:39am
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Saxman says...
Cheers, Ellen! My blueberries are the most spoiled members of my family i think! Most of my bigger plants are two years old and all in pots. They get heaps of seasol bi-monthly and just a bit of thrive flower and fruit occasionally as well as their normal azalea food twice a year! Have 7 varieties of blueberry now! I agree with your comment that you can never have enough BB's =)
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4th October 2009 6:01pm
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Jen says...
Hi Everyone

I am new to this forum and I think it looks great!

I am just about to build a big vege patch and trying to work out the best and most cost effective way to do it. We have just finished (almost) major renovations and have lots of left over building supplies.

I wanted to make beds out of the left over corrogated Iron and Jarrah Pergola posts. My idea was to just pop the jarrah posts in the ground and secure them in with the cement ... apparently you put it in the hole with the post and then water over and it all just hardens.

Then nail/screw the corrogated Iron sheets to the jarrah posts and possibly put some Zinc edging (same stuff you use to edge the house with cement sheeting) and then possibly a bit of hose across the top of the corrogated iron sheets to stop my little one from cutting his fingers when we are gardening.

Has anyone see or tried this type of garden before?
Any problems?
Do I have to treat the Jarrah before we put it in the ground? We have a Jarrah/Fibro house and I would hate to encourage termites through the garden beds?
Someone also told me that apparently you can just use tin snips to cut the corrogated Iron and you can then rip it with your hands? Apparently it is a bit of a party trick? Anyone heard of this or have an ideas as to how to cut corrogated iron both vertically and horizontally?

Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated

Thanks

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Jen1
Perth
6th October 2009 1:01pm
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veronica says...
can anybody tell me how to keep my mulch in place because the birds keep spreading it everywhere. how can i edge it up high without building my wall up higher. i need an edge of some what
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veronica1
hillbank.s.a.
10th October 2009 8:00am
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wobbly says...
hi veronica i unfortunatly think you are going to struggle to stop the birds. i have a double row of the jarrah and they still manage to scatter it everywhere. they are collecting materials for there nests and looking for food. they will stop once it isn t spring if that any consolation
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wobbly
clematis
10th October 2009 2:23pm
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Jen says...
Hi Barry
Is there any chance you could post a picture of the garden beds you made as I am interested in doing something similar. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
Jen
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Jen1
Perth
10th October 2009 8:01pm
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Paul says...
Hi,

I have planted spinach, but it now has white spots on the leaves... is this a fungus infection?

See second photo - this is a pic of leaves from the neighbours tree which is near our fence, about 10m away from the spinach... could this be related?

How do I treat the problem? Mancozeb?

thanks
Paul
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Paul21
Perth
14th October 2009 7:55pm
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HappyEarth says...
Hey Paul ... looks like a sap sucking insect rather than a fungus. Quite common on what appears to be a pittosporum in the 2nd photo. Not sure what Mancozeb is but it sure doesnt sound like something Id want to spray on my spinach. Id just leave it - i doubt it will get much worse and Im sure you could still eat it.

Rich
www.happyearth.com.au
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HappyEarth
Wollongong
14th October 2009 8:20pm
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Paul says...
Sap-suckers eh?

I have noticed a lot of flies and bugs recently, including fruit-flies even though I have no fruiting trees (yet)...

I would still like to investigate preventing/repairing the damage (for the experience)... Would it be worthwhile trying something like eco-oil? it says it works against sap-sucking insects, so I'd guess so.

thanks Rich,
Paul
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Paul21
Perth
14th October 2009 9:19pm
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morrie says...
hi all i to have a treated pine veggie garden nearly a year old i was very happy with it .
untill i read this now im planing to change the sides to hardwood sleepers
or bricks not sure yet bricks have less probs i think im no bricklayer but i can lay bricks

ive learnt a lot on this forum
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morrie
sydney
20th October 2009 11:16pm
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Wayne says...
I've just finished a couple of new beds with treated pine morrie and I'm not about to change them.
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
21st October 2009 4:58pm
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Jason says...
Thats a nice looking set-up you have there Wayne. Very envious.
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Jason1
Perth
21st October 2009 8:48pm
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ClochM says...
Hi Forum Gurus. We have just bought half an acre in Lue NSW near Mudgee. One side of the tracks is lush grazing and our side is rock like bush.

As such, i want an inexpensive and not too laborious vege plot over about a 12x8 area. (Back/Shoulder injury)

Is it just a case of find non poisoned, non rusting, recycled anything materials and doing your best? I get the impression of reading the past 2 years of forum (some fiesty posts there green thumbs!) that anything will do to prop up a garden.

Also, what is the secret of a compost bin? I got a cheapy from ALDI which is plastic but now I am told the biproducts of the plastic will leach into my compost and poison me.... EEeek! And i was just trying to find somewhere to throw my scraps til we got a chook pen up and running :c(

I can buy a trailer of 'organic'soil from the landscape bloke for $50 so if I mix my poisoned compost, some horse poo, cow poo and mushy compost in that, will it suffice to set off my 3x1 beds to get some salads, tommies, cucumbs, zuccs, caps and herbs going? Is it that easy or do i need to find someone with and accost from them, a green thumb?

Also, we are literally on rocks with a few gums around. Will popping some worms in my poisoned compost really introduce feral squigglies into my local area?

All I wanna do is grow veges to eat instead of propping up woolies and coles. My own grown little tastes of heaven.

In summary;

Build up materials
Soil
Poo mix
Worms
Pest control (bugs to possums)

Love youse all you greeny gurus
Cristie
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ClochM
Lue NSW
25th October 2009 12:10am
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Paul says...
Wayne, whats with the shadecloth covers? What plants do you plan to put in there?
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Paul21
Perth
25th October 2009 10:18am
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Wayne says...
Hey Paul
I have Bean seeds under those, other than in the winter I strike all my seeds under shade cloth, especially now that it is getting quiet hot. I have found that the seeds strike much quicker under the cloth and the surface of the soil stays more moist.


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Wayne
Mackay QLD
25th October 2009 1:04pm
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Original Post was last edited: 26th October 2009 7:19am
Wayne says...
Hello ClochM
You seem to be doing fine with those ideas, I wouldn't worry to much about the plastic mulch bin, if it was sold as such it should be fine

Good luck and happy gardening
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
25th October 2009 1:26pm
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morrie says...
ok so i know some of you guys think treated pine is fine and it proberly is
but i had no lineing and some of these posts scared the hell out of me
so i extended my garden and changed the border to railway sleepers i scored for free pretty shabby but still got a few good years in them im not finished yet
here is some update pics
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morrie
sydney
1st November 2009 8:52pm
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Karen &amp; Paul says...
For those in the Northern Rivers, Southern Gold Coast I spotted some brand new UNTREATED sleepers at Red Neds Recycle Yard in South Tweed this week. I think they were $17 each and I measured a few ranging in length from 2 - 3.5 metres long. They were very chunky and solid :-)
I love your sleepers Morrie, they look great :-) One looks like it still has some track on it? hehe
HAPPY GARDENING
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Karen Paul1
Pottsville NSW
1st November 2009 10:07pm
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Dekka says...
Morrie, Well done on your conversion. Looks good and those veges will have the added flavour of 'peace of mind'...yum.
For the some of you who still think treated pine is OK, please read the literature that's out there. A quick google is all it takes to see absolute scientific proof that T.P and food crops don't mix. Just because our governments don't have the nuts to ban the stuff doesn't justify giving yourself or your loved ones cancer.
Morrie has reused what is otherwise a waste product. The fact that they are so weathered would suggest there is no longer any Creosote residue on them. So for no cost he now has a safe, environmentally friendlier soil retention device with added P.O.M. (That's peace of mind... not pile of manure BTW)
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Dekka
Newcastle
2nd November 2009 8:19am
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Brendan says...
Hi morrie & Dekka,
Those sleepers wouldn't last 12 months at my place. White Ants / Termites would devour them in no time.

Don't you have termites down there? They're real bad here :-(
They even eat 'Iron Bark' & 'Rosewood' timber, and they are hard as.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
2nd November 2009 9:20am
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Original Post was last edited: 5th November 2009 8:53am
amanda says...
Hi All, my new improved "enclosed" veggie patch is working a treat! No bugs and less watering. My leafy greens are tender and not a hint of bitterness in the lettuce. Julie - my bok choy still went to flower pretty quick - so must be the seedling stock from Bunnings? Anyway - I am thrilled...now if I can just get enough money to put a cover over the orchard then I'd be in business! :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
7th November 2009 11:07am
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Jantina says...
I'm so pleased for you amanda, after all your hard work you more than deserve it!
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Jantina
Mt. Gambier S.A.
8th November 2009 9:44am
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Zarra Ridge says...
Ewwww bunnings!!!
Never stock seedlings with characteristics for your region. God love poulmans and businesses only worried about price consistency.

I like the enclosure Amanda, very handymanish. As for the bok choy, 50% shade cloth in hot seasons (im presuming its 50% cloth you have up) wont stop bolting.

Enjoy growing.
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Zarra Ridge
Whian Whian
8th November 2009 11:03am
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amanda says...
Thanks guys... bummer about the asian greens :( I love them in a salad. Anyway - the chooks are enjoying them!
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
8th November 2009 12:56pm
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wobbly says...
hi what have you done to prevent the bitterness in your lettuce?love to know thank you julie
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clematis
10th December 2009 7:25pm
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wobbly says...
hi cristie what about a dig free garden as you may dig up more rocks. work out the spot you want the garden full sun is excellant, our house is elevated and we had a coonara wood heater i used to throw the ash off the balcony that gave the vegie garden its regular dose of potash , which they need . now the garden .i will explain what i did and you can use all or part of the info. i mowed the area really short including a 2ft border around and in between the beds . .the first layer was newspaper about 10 sheets layered then lucern and or hay about 4 inches thick and then mushroom compost mixed with potting mix then plant the vegies . the 2 ft border is to prevent the grass growing into the garden. you can buy weed mat and i put mulch on it .you then have a path around and between bed s .i hope this all makes senseand helps you.julie
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clematis
10th December 2009 8:06pm
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Winston says...
My tomatoes always grow to a nice size but before they ripen the bottom of the fruitseems to flatten and goes black
I thought it maybe tooclose to soil and burning but this happen all over plant and various heights
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Winston
 
5th January 2010 8:20pm
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Wayne says...
I would suggest a good dressing of dolomite is needed there Winston, could well be blossom end rot
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
5th January 2010 9:00pm
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mannie says...
very interesting reading here - thought I'd add my experience to the mix.

About 18 months ago, we started building an 8 bed rotation based garden system. Used what was lying around and easy to work with, which was old metal cladding, bits of hardwood, lots of newspaper and my husband's digging muscles.

hubby dug trnches a good 1/2 a metre down, which we lined with very thick newspaper before putting in the tin. We have old grazing land and we are constantly battling against kikuyu.

The beds were also lined with newspaper, as were the paths in between. So far there hasn't been too much of a weed problem and what grows out of the poo etc is easy to remove. We tried sawdust for between the beds, but with our regular windiness, this seemd to move around like sand dunes. When the house is finished and we have some cash left, will probably use gravel instead. But it is manageable in the meantime.

We filled the beds with a mix of our topsoil, compost and bags of stuff from the side of the road - horse poo, rabbit poo, chicken straw etc. At present I am also using some purchased compost while my compost builds again, but am hoping that we won't need this after March, when I open the compost that is currently asleep.

Probably the best thing we did was set up a watering system. We got a lot of the piping etc from garage sales and the fantastic secondhand sunday events that happen four times a year in Canberra, so again, it didn't cost a lot. The water comes from our dam via a header tank and the watering is on a timer, so when we are both at work in Canberra, the garden gets what it needs.

Photos are of the early stages and the 2009 winter crop of broad beans.

I am into the second rotation phase and all is going well. i get to harvest when I am at home and take my organically grown veggies back to Canberra each fortnight.

Someone in the forum mentioned water tanks - have also done this and it worked a treat while we were renting. We had a smallish round tank that was no longer any good. cut it in half and filled in a similar way and grew enough bits in it to make worthwhile. For a while these were my compost bins until we built the permanent ones, and now they are part of my herb garden - keeping invasive things like tansy and mints in check.
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mannie2
far south coast NSW
8th January 2010 1:25pm
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DisplayName says...
http://burkesbackyard.com.au/article.php?id=6079 - Info from my mate Don!!!
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Ipswich, Qld
12th January 2010 12:16am
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amanda says...
Hi mannie - great pic's - thanks for sharing them. My beds set up the same way but I wish I had made them longer and narrower like yours and had at least 6 instead of 4!)
In summer I find that anything growing too close to the colourbond got a bit burnt from the reflected heat - but otherwise it's been great (as we have termites here). I used cracker/crusher dust for my paths - it's cheap. You can also sprinkle a little concrete dust over it, water in and it sets pretty hard.
Kikuyu sucks doesn't it. I have noticed couch coming up in my orchard from some horse poo I put down - I nearly had a fit :-)))
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
12th January 2010 11:52am
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Nicole says...
I was just wondering if anyone could offer some advice about putting a raised garden bed against an existing retaining wall built out of timber sleepers?

I have a short (2 sleepers high) retaining wall and was hoping to put a raised bed against it but don't want the wall to rot as it's kind of holding up the pool! The raised bed will only be one sleeper deep and will run the full length of the wall (around 7 metres). Can anyone suggest what to put between the wall and the bed to stop rotting?

Thanks!
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Nicole3
Durack Q
23rd January 2010 10:36am
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Wayne says...
Hello Nicole
What are the sleepers in the existing wall, treated Pine or hardwood? Treated pine is good for 40 years they say and hardwood not much less.

Either way I wouldn't worry as the bed will be just one sleeper high. The moisture will not be much of a worry. If you put anything there to stop the moisture from going in it will also stop it from coming out.
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
23rd January 2010 11:43am
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Nicole says...
Hi Wayne,

I think the existing sleepers are a treated wood (they look kind of green?). I spoke to someone else who also said it would probably be fine to put a bed in without a barrier between the wall and bed.
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Nicole3
Durack Q
23rd January 2010 1:46pm
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Lee says...
Have heard not so good things about using railway sleepers for gardens(esp vege gardens, as the treatment(which i am unsure of) that was used way back when is non biodegradable and has a very long half life (think the likes of agent orange, ddt etc)as they wanted little maintenance. Also think of the what the trains, from the past in particular, have left behind on the tracks - diesel, oil etc. Makes you wonder why they are so well preserved even 50 years later!?!?
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Lee6
Caloundra
2nd February 2010 8:44am
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Wayne says...
Hi Lee

Railway sleepers here in QLD were usually cut from high quality hardwood and the sap wood was never used meaning that they didn't need to treat the timber at the mill, however, many were later treated with creosote.

There was diesel etc left behind but in the old wooden carriage days so was a bit of fertiliser. Probably why Mum would never let us go to the toilet when the train was at a station.

Our construction timber that had sap wood in it or a species susceptible to borer was pressure treated with copper sulphate and arsenic, perhaps that is what you are thinking of. I now suffer from poisoning in my lower legs from sweating in work socks with treated sawdust about.
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Wayne
Mackay QLD
2nd February 2010 10:13am
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Sunnybrae Pony Club says...
If anybody would like free, clean horse manure, there is plenty of it available from Sunnybrae Pony Club on Gallipoli Grove at Regency Park in South Australia. Gardeners welcome - BYO bags or trailer and load up. Gates open afternoons from 3 - 7 or weekend mornings and late afternoons.
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Sunnybrae Pony Club
Adelaide
8th February 2010 3:40pm
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Ding. says...
With the timber sleepers, jarrah and wandoo are the main timbers that were used in sleepers in the west, central and southern Australia. Jarrah sleepers (red colouring) tend to attract white ants / termites but the wandoo sleepers tend to repel the white ants. We suspect that the wandoo sleepers are too hard for the termites to chew through! Jarrah has a density rating of about 800... Wandoo has a rating of 1,500 and is recommended for use in salt water, supporting steel!!! It is also nearly twice the weight of jarrah, so you know when you have a wandoo sleeper in your hands!!!

With the concrete sleepers, a 2 metre long by 200 mm high by 80 mm thick concrete sleeper is supposed to weigh in at about 80 kilograms.

With treated pine, that is never to be burned in any sort of fire, as the timber contains material that is toxic when burnt.

Am also trying to work out how to have a raised garden in my backyard. Rather than looking to use sleepers as an alternative, am looking at hollow retaining wall blocks that were made by Besser Ind. back in the 1980's and 90's. These are a standard size 390 X 190 X190 block with a rounded front corners and lip on them so that they can be staggered back. The other good thing about these blocks is that they are large enough to be able to grow carrots inside of them! When laying them, you can lay them in an 'open' pattern, so you can put a couple of carrots in each one, and that will cover the face of the block in time with green foliage. It also means that the sides of the raised area are being put to use as well.
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Ding1
Mornington
9th February 2010 9:36am
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Craig says...
Scott,
Did you ever post (apologies, butI didn't see it of you did) what you discovered about the reason for the problem you had from your raised garden a while back? This site is fantastic, but of course very confusing for someone planning how best to make a safe etc raised garden.
Cheers
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Craig6
northeast Vic
17th February 2010 7:03pm
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Grubs says...
I just bought two pallets of concrete "Besser" blocks. My decision making was to be as eco-friendly as possible and went a bit like this:

Treated Pine (ACC) - too toxic. Long term disposal as landfill so not acceptable.

EcoWood (non-toxic treated pine) - says shouldn't burn it so even if its not toxic its still not very "organic" and long term disposal is landfill.

Redgum sleepers - Was the preferred option until I learn that just how much over harvesting of native redgum forests is occurring - just not sustainable. (was a bit disappointed as I like redgum)

Re-use old railway sleepers - a good idea but just too expensive locally. $30 per sleeper and lesser grades just too decayed to be a good long term solution.

Corrugated or Fencing Iron - no cheap local source. Too expensive new. Commercially available beds too expensive or made from zincalume which isnt as good as gal in a moist environment like a vege garden bed.

Concrete blocks - final choice. Can re-use for other projects and/or change the shape of the beds if required in the future. Fire resistant (we live in a high fire risk area). Going to try loose stacking them, filling cavities with soil and applying a slurry to give a rendered look. May line with plastic and set up as wicking beds.
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68
Melbourne
19th February 2010 12:07am
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Charles cant spell says...
I wouldn't stress about ending up at that instead of hardwood sleepers. I used hardwood sleepers as the house I bought had them in the ground as old garden edging. But some area bit decayed and even the good ones don't but up that well. The end result being if your bed gets a bit dry and you want to flood it to saturate the water keeps flowing out the gaps.
So while an open base is great you dont really want non water holding raised bed walls. Well that's what I have found here anyway.
Do you need to seal besser blocks on the inside to stop moisture siphoning.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
19th February 2010 12:59am
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Brendan says...
Hi, I have built out garden out of besser blocks (after hunting round trying to find out what to call them!!). The original idea was a simple rectangle which was one level high, so not fully raised but didnt really need it raised (would need more dirt!). Had originally planned to leave the top of the blocks open to plant in, but ended up putting pavers on top for a nice sittable edge. Also thought the blocks would end up as little hot ovens instead of nice growing places.

The blocks I glued together with "liquid nails". Then painted/sealed with paving paint (including the inside as had heard they suck water..). End result was great.
Cos the sun seems to be pretty mean here, I got some alkathene pipe lengths from bunnings that were the perfect precut length to use as hoops over the garden with shade cloth over the top. So far everything is going well with the odd mean green caterpiller eating his fill till he gets big enough to find on the leaf! Eggplants, lettuce, beans, capsicum, peppers, rhubarb etc all seem to be doing well. Total cost of the block surrounds (approx 5.5m long by 2m wide) = 36 blocks @ $3 each. Plus liquid nails, and paint, all up less than $200, and its not going to fall apart in a hurry. In future could add another layer of blocks to raise it some more...


Enjoy! yay for rainwater divertors! and Olive drums!
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Brendan8
Melbourne
19th February 2010 9:43am
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Original Post was last edited: 19th February 2010 9:44am
Violet_Cactus says...
Brendan, do you have a photo? Your setup sounds excellent.

Kath, if you are still reading this thread, where did you source those beautiful rocks for your garden walls?
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VioletCactus1
Melbourne
19th February 2010 10:08pm
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Ana says...
What about besser blocks to build a raised garden, I think it would have to be a cheaper option and plus no chemicals involved.
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Ana
Narangba, QLD
23rd February 2010 2:46pm
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Brendan says...
Violet_Cactus: Yep I will take one tonight.
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Brendan8
Melbourne
25th February 2010 4:21pm
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Brendan says...
Sorry couldnt find camera cable...still looking.
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Brendan8
Melbourne
1st March 2010 10:39am
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Itdepends says...
Bessa blocks may make the soil alkaline in their vicinity. Shouldn't be a big drama for most crops- but some (E.g blueberries and azaleas) won't like it at all.
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1st March 2010 1:02pm
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Brendan W says...
Found cable. Photos attached. Keeping the whole thing level was the toughest part esp digging around my pile of garden soil.....silly idea to dump it where the garden was to go. But only managed to get it wrong at one end (about 1inch.) Was using laser level as string line in the dark haha. Not bad for working in the dark back in Nov 09 when we had over 35 degree days and it was cool enough to be working outside at 11pm!

Picture 4 is at the beginning before thought of the shade cloth. Doesn't have capping pavers on top of the besser blocks. Pic 3 does have the caps.

Enjoy. I will remember about the soil alkaline thanks "Itdepends".
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Hoppers Crossing Melbourne
2nd March 2010 9:40am
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Brendan W says...
Sorr forgot to add, as mentioned before, Besser blocks (approx $3each for the largest ones the shop had) are glued together with liquid nails. Then paving stones (around $1.20ea from Bunnings) glued on top. Then all painted with a paving paint inside and out to seal and make a more fitting colour (our house has a similar colour on it..)
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Hoppers Crossing Melbourne
2nd March 2010 9:43am
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Ana says...
looks realy good brendan, where did u get the tubes holding the mesh from?
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Ana
Narangba, QLD
2nd March 2010 2:06pm
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Brendan W says...
The tubes where from Bunnings = precut lengths of Alkathene. Over in the plumbing dept, they just happened to be the perfect length. I have got some bamboo stakes in the ends of them poked into the dirt, this gave them some extra support and length. ie Poke bamboo stake into garden int he right place, then put the pipe over the top, the flex in the pipe holds it in place on the bamboo.

The shadecloth is cable tied on only in the middle, and this means can open up the sides. Have got a couple of stakes on an angle from the ends to hold the shadecloth tight also cable tied on by drilling a hole in the end of the stake and putting cable tie through. Then some stakes along the edges to act as weights to hold the sides down, a couple of rocks on the ends where cloth is not quite long enough to reach the ground. The stakes on the sides also make it easy to fold up the sides. as you can just lift one stake to open half the side and sit it up on top.
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Tarneit Mebourne
2nd March 2010 2:17pm
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Ana says...
for the raised vegie patch, havent build it yet, but when I do, should I go with besser blocks or masonry garden blocks? not sure.
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Ana
Narangba, QLD
2nd March 2010 2:30pm
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Violet_Cactus says...
Great photos, Brendan, thanks!
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VioletCactus1
Melbourne
6th March 2010 5:28pm
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Brendan says...
Ana - it probably depends on what you want it to look like. Besser blocks I found a bit easier and lighter, it depends on the masonary blocks available though. Either way you have to seal them so they dont suck all the water out of the dirt beside them. Let us know which way you go.
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Brendan8
Melbourne
10th March 2010 8:43am
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gus says...
anyone now of a natural formula for treating jarrah sleepers that may keep the moisture and ants away?
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gus2
Innaloo
23rd March 2010 1:04am
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oleh says...
I have just built 6 veggie plots made out of treated pine. While the new treated pine allegedly does not have arsenic in it, I am reliably informed that it does. My plots are 1.2m wide (optimum width so you can reach the centre from each side) 800 high (saves bending over) and 2.4m long. U used galvanised bolts for each corner. I then lined the sides with pond liner (expected to last 30 years - ensure you leave the bottom free - some people haven't and wondered why their plot becomes water logged) and capped the top of the liner with treated pine strips. I am growing lots of fantastic tasing vegetables. I used to use jarrah sleepers like you and also had white ants that's why I went to treated pine and have had no problems.
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oleh
South Australia
2nd April 2010 10:21am
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snottiegobble says...
This is what I came up with over WA sand.
It is 20ft by 10ft veggie garden using galv. iron sheets half buried & held in place with star pickets ( steel posts).
The plot was covered in weedmat & old carpet first to stop couch grass & tree roots, & then half filled with yellow sand( has minimal amount of clay) The plot was then topped up with bulk soil mixture, potting mix & musshroom compost. Has been very successful in its first year with winter vegies such as cabbages, brocs, caulis, b.beans, snowpeas, then later lettuces, carrots, celery,leeks, onions, s.beet,beetroot,
capsicums,toms,egg plants, cucumber,
jap turnips, chinese greens, strawberries, & finally watermelons. I decided to use shadecloth in the summer which was supported by poly pipe over poly stakes & using elctricians plastic conduit for spacing with wire running right though. Glad I did as W.A summers are HOT!
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snottiegobble
bunbury
4th April 2010 9:44pm
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gus says...
Hey snottiegobble I think that looks great. Trying to work out the best way to make a raised garden myself and that is what I am aiming for. Can I ask where you got the iron sheets from?
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gus2
Innaloo
4th April 2010 11:10pm
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Brendan says...
Hi gus,
Here's a photo taken about 2 years ago of my old garden I was fixing up. You could put the koppers posts on the outside of the iron if you like.

Don't you just love the colours of the Trimdek sheeting!
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
5th April 2010 7:20am
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snottiegobble says...
Hi Gus,
I bought the corri. iron sheets & star pickets from Busselton Salvage. They were all new, but at a good price.
I cannot see the sense in buying those cut down water tanks for up to $300 when they are just a fraction of the area I have to grow stuff! Notice there are even yellow covers available for the tops of the posts ( Bunnings) so that you dont scratch yourself.
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snottiegobble
bunbury
5th April 2010 10:17pm
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gus says...
Thanks for the info guys
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gus2
Innaloo
10th April 2010 9:54pm
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mankimbo says...
This forum was key in me making some decisions around building a raised garden bed. So I have decided to share the end result with you all.

I had an old shed and pulled it down and found a 100mm cement border that it had been built on with some old cement squares as the floor. Underneath that was some compacted 'soil' that reminded me of old tennis courts.

The cement border measured 3m x 1.8m. I decided to keep it as the base and then looked into what I was going to build the raised bed from. Every building material possible was considered from bricks to bay hales but in the end I went with new treated pine from Bunnings. I made 3 layers of 200mm making the total height 600mm. The layers were attached with galvanized brackets. My mate Matt deserves a mention at this point as the man with the drill and dropsaw but more importantly the stamina to dig through the clay that lay 100mm under the ground

I put down some old cardboard boxes as the 'weed mat' and lined the sides with pond liner which was stapled to the wood.

For dirt I rang almost every place in Sydney and the best price for me was EH sand & soil at Engadine.

Along the way my wife had our first child which made any spare time a premium.

The total amount of soil required was 3.18 cubic metres. A hell of a lot of soil to shovel and wheelbarrow. So I paid a little bit more and had them fill up 3 x 1Cubic metre bags and drop it over the back fence. My only regret is that I didn't get 4 bags as it did not quite fill it up and I can always use the extra soil elsewhere.

Anyhow here are the pictures. I have recently planted Broccoli, carrots, beetroot, sunflowers, radish & lettuce. Next month in goes garlic, pak choi, onion, rocket, spinach and leeks.


So I have written an essay and hope that someone finds it of use.

(Pictures are in reverse time order!)
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1

Picture: 2

Picture: 3

Picture: 4

Picture: 5

Picture: 6

Picture: 7

Picture: 8
 
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Mankimbo
Sydney- near Cronulla
26th April 2010 7:07pm
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Original Post was last edited: 27th April 2010 7:30pm
Brendan says...
Hi mankinbo,
You've done very well.
Did you concrete those side posts into the ground?
I probably would have painted the treated pine sleepers as well:-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
27th April 2010 7:03am
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wILL says...
I've just completed construction of my raised vege patch. Used H4 treated timber. I have found studies that indicate the Chemical uptake of any mobile chemical on these logs is degraded by Soil microbes. There are over 300 chemicals in the "creosote" type treated beams. HAs anyone got any warnings about not using this stuff.??
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wILL1
Orange
27th April 2010 3:26pm
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mankimbo says...
The ground was pretty much clay so it took a while to get the holes dug. I ended up digging them during a weekend of rain. I decided against concreting them in as the ground was strong enough to hold them in once I backfilled the clay.
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Mankimbo
Sydney- near Cronulla
27th April 2010 7:32pm
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Brendan says...
Hi mankimbo,
I meant to add, why don't you buy a few bags of potting mix per week, to 'top up' the shortfall with the imported soil?
I'd buy a fairly good one, but it's up to you. If you haven't got any veggies in yet, you could mix it in with your soil, that would give you a good brew.

A good all round fertilizer brew to use is : 2 parts blood & bone, 1 part sulphate of potash, 1 part epsom salts.
Depending on the pH of your soil, you may need to add some Dolomite as well:-)
(I'd add some gypsum too.)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
28th April 2010 6:37am
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gus says...
Hey Mankimbo, I think you've done a great job and thanks for posting all that info.
I too find the forum a great tool for deciding on building materials etc. Can I ask if you ever considered using "thinner" peices of wood than sleepers? I don't know if thinner peices would just rot too quickly, but that's ideally what I am looking at. I am going to paint them black, but wondered if anyone out there had any suggestions as to sealing them from the elements?
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gus2
Innaloo
29th April 2010 9:01pm
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Brendan says...
Hi gus,
Because of the heat we get here, I'd paint my treated pine white, and probably give them two coats.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
30th April 2010 9:18am
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Charles cant spell says...
Gus one thing to bear in mind is that if you do a narrow raised bed you should never have to walk on it therefor the soil should not compact to much and the lateral loads should be minimal, hence providing you can stop the rot your thinner boards should be fine. You will however need some way of joining the comers that doesnt involve weaking them with drill holes etc. I suggest a 90 degree corner that the boards sit in. The load will be outwards so you should be able to place then in a galavanised 90 degree angle and just stack them on top of each other. They will be loose until you fill your bed but ounce that is done they should be pretty stable.

Just my 5c.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
30th April 2010 11:53am
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gus says...
Thanks Charles, every penny counts.
Thought I would just stick a couple of nails in, but you make a good point, that might weaken them and make them even more susceptible to rot. I am going to dig a bit of a hole so I dont stack them too high.
I have heard that tar based paint will water proof wood, but cant exactly work out what that is. I imagine a lot of other people have found a similair problem balancing durability v toxicity. I have narrowed it down to a linseed oil, tar based product of some sort, but still unsure which way to go?
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gus2
Innaloo
30th April 2010 10:08pm
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Charles cant spell says...
Bitumen paint is what its generally called, it might cost you $50 a tin, should do the lot. It does have a tendancey to stay stacky though if thats an issue. I.e. when you rub against it your gunna get a bit black.

Have you considered plastic lined beds that are inground beds with a mounded up earth wall on each side. I.e. the wicked bed idea again.

I will be setting these beds up for Newborough School to get them started on the vegetable garden, if we find they are not hard wearing enough we can create more permanent/heavy duty beds when the grant money come through.

BAsically you could get the beds to be knee high with no extra materials other than the black plastic and earth.

This method is less space friendly though.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
1st May 2010 10:14am
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Wayne says...
Gus
You can go for tractor tyres if they suit, you can usually get them for nothing and it's not hard to cut the walls out.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Wayne
Mackay QLD
1st May 2010 11:32am
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Karen &amp; Paul says...
They Look great Wayne... I know where there are 3 dumped on the side of the road nearby. I stopped one day to grab one and there was NO chance of me moving it. So heavy It felt like it was bolted to the ground! There was a lot of weed around it though. Perhaps I'll take Paul back and give em another go :-)
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Paul Karen1
Pottsville Northern NSW
2nd May 2010 4:14pm
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Sarah says...
Does anyone have advice about using Eco Wood sleepers for raised garden beds? I have heard they are similar to treated pine but are arsenic free. Would I still need to line it with plastic if I used them?
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Adelaide
3rd May 2010 1:04pm
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John I says...
Hi Sarah, I've used Eco Wood for my veggie patch because it is arsenic free. I didn't line with plastic because it would only tear when digging. I painted the outside of the garden beds but left the inside. It's been 2 years now and the wood is holding well.
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JohnI
Melbourne
3rd May 2010 1:14pm
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John I says...
Here is a picture of my Eco Wood garden beds when I first built them, and a second one taken today...
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JohnI
Melbourne
3rd May 2010 1:21pm
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Sarah says...
Thanks John - your veggie beds look great. They are very similar to the ones I would like to put in my garden. My next step is to find a retailer for Eco Wood in Adelaide. Any one in SA know where to get them? (I haven't even started to look yet). Thanks for your help
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Adelaide
3rd May 2010 5:37pm
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John I says...
Sarah, ask at your local garden/landscape supply.

When I got mine I searched the internet for a supplier and found someone over the other side of the city from me. I phoned through an order and the guy who delivered it was from my local landscape supply centre. He told me that if I ordered through them I would have saved around $70 on delivery.
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JohnI
Melbourne
4th May 2010 12:35pm
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growandmake says...
You could try strawbales. We have an article on strawbale gardens at Growandmake.com
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growandmake
Portland
7th May 2010 2:05pm
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7 says...
Railway sleepers are available from a second hand yard at Withcott,between Gatton and Toowoomba,on the highway
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7
brisbane
8th May 2010 5:34pm
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Cindy says...
Hi All - Hoping someone can help me out, I'm starting up a veggie garden and I'm looking to buy some chicken poo. I remember when I was a kid my dad used to buy the bags of poo from the side of the road and he still swears that was the best stuff, better than any of the mixes you can buy in bags at nurseries and at Bunnings. Does anyone know of anywhere I can find chicken poo for sale of the side of the road in Adelaide?
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Cindy4
Adelaide
17th May 2010 5:12pm
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Geoff says...
Chook poo needs to be aged and the neighbours aint too keen on it either. However, it is one of the better animal manures. If you want to buy pellets, head for a stockfeed store. Most tend to sell fertalisers also and a lot cheaper than that large hardware place.
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Geoff4
GoldCoast
22nd May 2010 7:40pm
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ANDRE says...
I plan on this earth to paradise.
I use for these purposes the most interesting ideas.
I hope that many useful things I learned from you.

But there is a serious problem. To realize its goals to be a very big work on tidying up the very large surrounding area. It is necessary to solve the problem of harvesting and processing of large amounts of garbage. I hope that here in time nature will be able to breathe freely.
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ANDRE1
ROMANIA
25th May 2010 5:58pm
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amanda says...
Good luck Andre! I must admit that when we travelled through Hungary (10yrs ago) we were quite shocked by the amount of garbage/rubbish that people had just dumped wherever they felt like it.

Such lovely countryside - I hope they get it cleaned up too.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
25th May 2010 8:45pm
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Ros says...
Could anyone tell me when it is the best time to plant seedlings(veggies) after adding compost , cow manure, blood and bone and gypsum to the garden soil?
Could I plant them a day after the bed has been dug throughly or would they "cook"?
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Ros1
Greenvale Qld
29th May 2010 3:18pm
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Charles cant spell says...
As long as its well rotted/dry'd manure you should be fine. Its more green leafs and fresh manure and high leaves of potash and artificial fertiliser that cause a problems with root burn. If you want to be sure just get a bag of potting mix, dig a hole for the plant put in a handful of potting mix near roots and by the time its free of this mix your bed will be fine.
I.e As long as the compost is well rotten or heat decomposed as well it should be fine.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
30th May 2010 11:28am
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Cindy says...
Thanks Geoff. We got some chicken manure that had been pelleted so it's minus the smell which is much better for our relationship with the neighbours ;)

I have attached a photo of our veggie garden. This is our 1st veggie garden and maybe a bit ambitious but we will see how we go!
PS - We have mulched since the photo.
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Cindy4
Adelaide
31st May 2010 12:41pm
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Brad says...
Please don't post to this topic anymore as it is now huge. The topic is continued at
https://www.daleysfruit.com.au/forum/veggie-garden-part/

(thanks Charles)
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Brad2
Como, Perth
31st May 2010 5:21pm
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meg says...
How do I keep out rabbits?
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Ballina
18th June 2010 4:05pm
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macca says...
Are you the Yuri that sells Isagenix?
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12th July 2010 10:25pm
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len says...
g'day cindy,

with the dogs it comes down to obedience training, ours knew not to go on the garden. or set up a barriere between dog area and garden, you could use that plastic net material they use on bulding sites.

our bale gardens still going well, and with no formal edging, will never need any edging, until we get older then we will need to convert to corrugated edging to give us height, won't buy the the pre-fromed models too expesnive for us.

just some sheets cut in 1/2 lenghtwise and galvanised star pickets, tall enough to create trellis for tomato's beans etc.,.

len (lensgarden)
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len
queensland
14th July 2010 6:06am
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wobbly says...
what a brilliant job you have done it looks great. am i trying to grow broccoli it never gets a good head on it any ideas what i am doing wrong ,my vegie garden is fertilised with blood and bone horse manure and worm castings and potash alternatly.thanks
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clematis
30th July 2010 4:54pm
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kale says...
kale is a veggie that tasts like cabbage. very good vegies.
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2nd August 2010 2:56pm
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Brad says...
Please don't post to this topic anymore as it is now huge. The topic is continued at
https://www.daleysfruit.com.au/forum/veggie-garden-part/

(thanks Charles)
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Brad2
Como, Perth
2nd August 2010 6:34pm
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Yuri says...
Answer to macca: No.
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8th August 2010 10:53pm
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? says...
wow i look for info for school and to see that this conversation started 2 years ago lol

:-P
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69
 
10th August 2010 2:18pm
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Linda says...
I used wood stakes and corrigated iron with ends overed with hose for safety. It doesn't rot and is strong.
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verrierdale
9th October 2010 11:42pm
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Jo says...
Is the mystery veg kale?
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Jo18
Ireland
11th October 2010 2:39am
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Kirbs says...
After some 3-4 years we have decided to reinvent our vegie growing garden. My wife is keen on the raised garden concept and I it ticks all of the boxes. I visited the local Bunnings shop and took note of the size and price. I have done my research I can make my own for third of the price in fact I can have a bed 2.8m long x 0.8m wide and the height of a piece of roofing iron 760mm for $83.16. I have found a bloke how has a set of rollers and he is prepare to roll the half circle ends. I will pay him $10 for the effort and the additional cost will be the self drilling tex screws to fix the iron. So cost will be $83.16 + $10 + $10 for tex screws = approx $100. Cannot wait to get started.
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kirbs
Ballarat
12th October 2010 2:32pm
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kimmy says...
We have a variety of beds which suit different purposes. The one that requires the least work though would have to be the raised beds, weeding is a breeze and so easy to plant and harvest from.I found though that if you can get thicker metal it is better as it insulates better. We actually grew tomatoes and capsicums all winter due to the beds being warm during the day .
Check out my blog for the different gardens we have,lots of pictures.
thegirlwithgreenthumbs.blogspot.com
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kimmy
hunter valley
14th October 2010 8:19am
#UserID: 4411
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kirbs says...
Thanks kimmy, for that advice I have a choice of two different thicknesses of colorbond 0.42 @ $12.23/m and )0.6 @ $22.23/m but comparing the 2 prices one is almost double.I have selected red color which will aid in absorbing heat. Being in the Ballarat area we do have many winter frosts and spring ones too and temps range from 3 to 10/11. To help overcome this I spent time last night designing a suitable plastic cover that would act as a hot house for the early spring, cool days in summer and early winter.
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kirbs
Ballarat.
14th October 2010 12:08pm
#UserID: 4399
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John says...
Real-crete.com.au have concrete garden beds
they are very easy to install check web site
corners are about $20 ea sleepers are From
$28
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Gold coast
17th November 2010 4:09pm
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Allison says...
Can you tell me how you lay bricks that high and maintain the structural integrity of the garden bed ?
Do you have a visual picture of this that may help to put it all together.
This is a new adventure for me so the more information the better.
Thank you.
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Lake Macquarie
23rd November 2010 10:50am
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KevM says...
In regards to treated timber not being good for vegie gardens. They do last a lot longer and if they do leach out any toxins they are inorganic (i.e cannot be taken up into plants). If you worried bout the toxins cover the inside with heavy plastic. My veggie garden has had treated pine for approx 10 years and still going strong. Neighbours have replaced their untreated hardwood at least two times. I haven't got three eyes yet from eating vegies grown in treated pine raised beds. If I live to 80 (now 55) may prove a theory....ha ha
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KevM
brisbane
1st December 2010 9:14pm
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Lia says...
I am seeking the following vegetables: spinach, silver beet, broccoli, cabbages, asparagus, rhubarb, heritage tomatoes, watermelon, rockmelon, passionfruit vines, paw paws, mulberries, vines of beans, climbing peas and sweet corn, and rocket.

We need them for a small community garden display (please see sample design attachment) for an exhibition stand in April 2011. I understand that it is the wrong month to begin growing or already have growing any of the above – but this is a special request (i.e hormone injections acceptable, or whatever other methods, as these would not be consumed). We would need the vegetables, any of which you could supply, pretty mature by the dates of 10-13 April 2011.

If you are able to supply us with such, can you please give me a cost estimate for each according to the following bed dimensions: 2 @ 2m long x 0.5m wide and 1 @ 1.5m long x 0.5m wide.

If you do not have any of the above vegetables, do you have any others that would be mature by the given dates? Or, might you be able to point me in the right direction?

Thank you; I really appreciate your time.
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Lia
Perth, WA
18th January 2011 7:15pm
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Brad says...
Lia, you're in the wrong place. if you want the nursery (and Daleys isn't the right place) you need to contact them directly. This is a public forum (Daley's staff don't appear to keep up reading it anymore - they're running a nursery).

There are people on here that can probably help you more, but you haven't left any contact details, so thats a bit hard too
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Brad2
G hill,Perth
18th January 2011 7:55pm
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Jimmy says...
Lia

Talk to Ben Mitchell at growing free.

he should be able to help.

Google his name and business.

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Jimmy
Perth
19th January 2011 11:25am
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Jimmy says...

Ben Mitchell of Growing Free Gardens, O'Connor W.A.



Name: Ben Mitchell
Business: Growing Free Gardens

Location: O'Connor, WA


(design work and speaking: Australia-wide)


Length of time Growing Free has been in operation: 3 years

A little about Growing Free: Gardener (State Winner of 2010 WA Nursery & Garden Industry Award)


Everything we do is based on sustainable principles and a triple bottom line. We consult with our clients about the environmental, social and economic aspects of their garden so they can have the beautiful garden they have always wanted.

Here are some of the things we are good at;

•Growing our clients an endless harvest of food so that they can eat the sweetest produce every day;
•Making their garden look great so that their home always looks the best on the street;
•Capturing their vision for their dream garden and turning it into the dream garden they've always wanted;
•Fashioning to the highest standards a sustainable garden that suits their style
•Giving them the best advice on their garden

Growing Free is the new way of gardening.


We work on a proactive and consultative based system so that our customer’s needs are clearly communicated. Our practices are sustainably based.

I grew up in the nursery industry as my grandfather bought a garden nursery when I was 8 years old. I have worked with plants ever since. I try to look at each garden and find a balance. This is something that all great gardens have.

Aside from all of that I perform public education workshops and do public speaking on gardening, sustainability, and home food production. I also write my own newsletter, The Antidote and write for SPICE Magazine, Australian Horticulture, Grow - the state industry magazine


I won Young Leader of the Year award for WA, was shortlisted for Terra Madre by Slow Food in WA and have been asked to be part of a panel on food ethic for them later in the year. I am also a board member of NGIWA (Nursery & Garden Industry of WA).


The BEST business tip I've ever been given:


Your wife is probably right.

I hate to admit this one but a business coach I knew said it as a throw away statement and it stuck in my head. My wife now knows my content better than me sometimes and when I’m that tired I can’t move she reminds me what I’m on about.

If I knew then, what I know now, what would I do differently?

Specialise earlier, seek professional help quicker, never trust a bookkeeper to look at my figures like I do, outsource wherever I could to create better systems, stay smaller smarter and quicker.


The biggest BUZZ about Growing Free?

I have talked to over 7000 people, done work for some of the most prominent, wealthy people and am now am advising top restaurants on how to grow their own food. When the phone rings and a customer asks, "Can you do that?" And it’s something I have always wanted to do, I punch the air!!! ... silently, then laugh and can’t stop smiling.
The ‘silly’ question my customers ask me all the time?

Are there any trees that don’t drop leaves? [!!!! ] One that’s good near a pool...

How do I use ‘technology’ for the benefit of my business and customers?

I have recently been targeting restaurants and real estate agents on Twitter, with good success. I now have a veggie garden to install in 1 of Perth’s top restaurants and have to go see the owner of Perth’s highest rated restaurant next week.

My admin is outsourced to the Phillipines and run completely online and via skype, Google docs and a number of other systems.

I have a 1300 number which goes straight through to a virtual office which emails straight to my VA (Virtual Assistant).

I have a newsletter on icontact with over 1000 subscribers which I think I can easily double if not triple numbers annually.

We have a Growing Free facebook page which is in the process of being updated and to be used as a marketing tool.


The website has a landing page and the site is in the process of being done, but I have a link on it to my newsletter, facebook and Twitter which works quite well.

I have a friend who moderates a home improvement site who regularly refers people through to my newsletter

My team onsite all have camera and video phones and images get sent to customers as do videos if we encounter problems so that they can see exactly what is going on. When a job is finished they use a service called mbox and follow a script to send all info to a mp3, leaving the admin VA to follow up on.

When my VA needs me fast she DMs me on Twitter. Instant contact!


Biggest future trend in my industry?

Localised Marketing

In the food industry you can buy Capel Vale butter, Ferguson Valley Milk etc. When you go to a garden nursery you get a Jervis Bay Gem Westringea but the label says nothing about where Jervis Bay is! Or the features and benefits of that plant. That will all change.

Who has had the most impact on my life, to date, and why?

My Family including Parents, Wife and Children. I was raised to be creative, to be able to write or express myself however I wanted. When my business is in trouble they help and when I succeed they are always proud of me. My mum taught me how to garden, my Dad to write, my wife to be "me" and my kids to do the right thing. They all allow me to be passionate about what I want to do.

What or who makes me laugh?

WC Fields, The Goons, Yoko Ono, The Mighty Boosh

What am I currently reading?

Irvine Welsh, Crime

A bunch of stuff on the history of market gardening in WA that I just researched for an article

Favourite music?

The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash was bought for me by my mum at 9 or 10 years old. My life was never the same again.

Too many other to mention- have more CD’s Cassettes and LP’s 45’s than I can count

My earliest music memories are my mum playing Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and Leonard Cohen. I was obsessed with German marching bands and The Chieftans.

Favourite quote:

Every time I open up my mouth these days I throw up all of the clean living. Shane Mcgowan, The Pogues




If you’re looking for the Latest, Greatest, Sexiest weekly gardening tips, so that you can become a great Sustainable Gardener in your home, subscribe to the Antidote www.growingfree.com.au






Facebook: Growing Free Gardens

Twitter: @Growing Free

Gardenjot.com Bens garden

www.growingfree.com.au

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Jimmy
Perth
19th January 2011 11:29am
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Jan says...
I had some guys build my gardens www.urbanfarmers.net.au and they said cypress pine was the way to go because it's long lasting and is naturally termite resistant. (colorbond would do those things too, but I don't think it looks as nice)
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Jan15
 
14th February 2011 7:03pm
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mohammad says...
hi Paul i think the second picture is some kind of mite which mean u have to spray omite
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mohammad
Israel
25th April 2011 8:12pm
#UserID: 5224
Posts: 2
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adamus says...
Wow. Treated pine has arsenic to keep the buggers at bay. It is recommended to cover it with something impermeable if you're growing veggies or fruit in it.
I certainly wouldn't be eating anything grown in beds made of uncovered treated pine.
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adamus
Armidale
27th April 2011 6:41am
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gregor says...
The best value corrugated steel raised garden beds come from Empire Raised Garden Beds in Perth, they have a big range free delivery and great prices.
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gregor1
perth
7th May 2011 10:59am
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Mark says...
I've just moved to the country a few months ago,& half my backyard is going to be the veggie patch. I'm for Recyclying Anything to save money. Old tree branches,railway sleepers,Rocks if you have them. ... I want to try using shrubs & succulents to form part of a retaining wall. I Hanen't done it (yet) but I'm thinking of low growing thick foliage shrubs. ... If you want to be fancy & have money to spend, listen to Gregor. They Are good raised beds.(I'm just too poor & too tight.) .. Hope this helps.
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
27th June 2011 10:57pm
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Mark says...
P.S. ... The next door neighbour just threw out one of those Above ground Swimming Pools for kids. .. Things like that Are Great! (if only I'd known about it a bit earlier.) So yeah,Old fish ponds,even old Baths! They act as a retaining wall AND you can grow inside them as well.
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
27th June 2011 11:02pm
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Mark says...
Winston, Bung in a few bits of broken up coraline limestone,& a handful of blood & bone. That should do the trick. If it doesn't, then I'd suggest picking the tomy's earlier to ripen off the vine. (I've never had this problem,but a tomatoe grower/friend reckons it's what he does.)
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
27th June 2011 11:10pm
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selina says...
We used the Bunning ACQ timber veggie boxes in our new veggie garden. Really easy to assemble! Now I am impatiently waiting for the veg to grow!

http://selina-veggiegarden.blogspot.com/
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selina
Sunshine Coast QLD
13th July 2011 10:17pm
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ed.said says...
What a fantastic response!
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edsaid1
Melbourne
17th July 2011 1:30pm
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selina says...
I get the feeling a lot of people are starting veggie gardens!


http://selina-veggiegarden.blogspot.com/
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selina
Sunshine Coast QLD
22nd July 2011 10:12pm
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Original Post was last edited: 22nd July 2011 10:14pm
peter says...
hi selina,
thanks for the tip about tying two
leaves over the coliflower heads, i
wondered why some of mine were going brown in some places.
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adelaide
22nd July 2011 10:23pm
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sw says...
http://www.csiro.au/resources/CCATreatedTimber--ci_pageNo-1.html
please read the factsheet on CCA timber from CSIRO. And dont fall for alarmist crap that can get posted on forums such as this
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sw
reality
6th August 2011 8:09pm
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Jim says...
It is ok SW I think we are all comfortable by the rate of chimpanzee evolution.
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electra
Fremantle
6th August 2011 10:38pm
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Mark says...
Jan,, Treatd Pine is coated with Arsenic! NOT safe for pets,kid's or you. Definately Not Safe to grow Veggie's in!! Pine,treated or not will NOT last as long as Redwood or Any Hardwood. (i used to work in a timberyard,& those guys saw you coming for miles. "Sorry".) I live in the country. To me, the Best Value is anything I can get For FREE & Recycle! Rocks,Tree Branches,Star Posts are all good to use. If you really want to be cheap like me & different, just use a row of Pot Plants for the raised wall. Soil will fall through the gaps until it hardens. The gaps between the Pot Plants will help the drainage & at the same time provide the pot plants with water! .... Try potting your Herbs as a border & have those Veggie's in the ground behind them! .... Not sure about it? I started with a few pots on a corner with succulents, just to see how it went. "So far,so good."
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
13th August 2011 8:05pm
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John Mc says...
I saw a good idea on Gardening Aus a couple of weeks ago where Josh made a garden box woven out of live Bay leaf twigs and branches. As a bonus, you get bay leaves growing around the edge of your garden. There might be other herb shrubs that could be used just as effectively.
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JohnMc1
Warnervale NSW
13th August 2011 8:56pm
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wobbly says...
hi i have put in a brick path in a shaded area (i got all the bricks free by placing an add in the THURSDAY PAPER , small local paper in melb ) .I put the bricks with the smooth side up thinking it would look better it does but it is as slippery as all ....... i would like a cheap easy way of making it not slippery that lasts it is 40 metres long and 6 bricks wide .
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clematis
14th August 2011 9:24pm
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Phil says...
I use the bricks with thre large holes which we gather from building sites. Using concrwete blend from the landscape supplier I make a runny mix of cement and fill the holes as the bricks are laid. The trick is to ram the mix thoroughly and it will set in "pins" from the top to bottom. Our beds are four bricks hich capped off with a brick paver set in motar. Built for a lifetime of happy gardening.
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Phil14
Elimbah
17th August 2011 10:50am
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Original Post was last edited: 17th August 2011 10:53am
Nadine says...
Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum. I'd like to start building a veggie garden on a patch of concrete out the back of my house. It gets a lot of sun in Summer. I have some planks of untreated pine, but I'm not sure what to put on the base of the patch. I'm not worried about ruining the concrete. Drainage seems ok.
Any ideas? I was thinking about fruit bins.
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Nadine
NE Victoria
21st August 2011 6:14pm
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Xiem says...
Are you talking about polystyrene fruit bins Nadine? Can't you just fill the bins with soil and sit them on the concrete?
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Diego
 
21st August 2011 6:30pm
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David says...
I have looked at all types of material for a raised vegie gardn bed. In the end best option was a colourbond metal one . Costs around $130 for one 2.4 mtrs. long 1.2 wide and 500 cm high. Less bending,good drainage and you can fill it with all the good soil plus mushroom compost etc.It will see me out !
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David32
 
25th August 2011 10:34am
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Mark says...
Nadine, what Xiem says about polystyrene fruit boxes Is a good idea & I do that myself. (tall ones for root crops,shollow ones for leaf crops.) (They also make fair seed raisers with a plastic bag over them.) Just put some totn up cardboard from a carton in the bottom to help with drainage. You don't need to,but it keeps the soil from washing away with the excess water. Another idea, is you can use old tyres. ANY Size big or small are great! Tyres are great Gardens! There's so much you can Do with them. Eg;1/ Just lay it on the ground fill with soil & plant in it. OR 2/ Same as above,but with a potted plant inside. OR 3/ Same as No's 1 & 2, but Stack a few for some depth of soil. OR 4/ Cut in half & plant in the tyre,leaning against a wall. OR 5/ Cut a tyre & twist inside out & so on (somehow) to form a Swan! Paint it White or leave it Black. Very sorry, I Don't know How to do it. .. I Use Polystyrene fruit boxes as I have said & also have a couple of old tractor tyres as a garden. .. BOTTOM LINE Nadine. ... Recycle Junk! It will amaze you what you CAN Use! We also have a 'pot plant' inside an old Tiolet! I am growing Mustard in the Cistern! Bath Tubs ARE GREAT! If you can get one for next to nothing, Grab It. You will even have people Envy you over your garden in a bath tub! We have one in the Front Yard!
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
25th August 2011 7:35pm
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Mark says...
Hi Katrina. You can get Old sleepers direct from the railways. Just give them a call & tell them what you want. They'll be glad to be able to get rid of some,but they will try to charge you for them.(even if they were going to go to the tip, you know what the railways are like.) .. So just be prepared to part with some cash for them. First though,Go to your local Garden Supplier & see how much they are.(that way you won't let the railways rip you off.) .. You Might like to know, that at Present, there are Railway Upgrades going on,replacing the old wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers. (Here in Victoria, anyway). ... So it might be a good idea to check with the railways now? ... Oh yes,, some garden centres also have Old sleepers too. .. I just got My old ones, from around the neighbourhood when other people were digging their old ones out. FREE is always Best, I Reckon.
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Mark27
N.W. Victoria
25th August 2011 7:50pm
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Sam says...
I agree - you can't beat 'em.
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Westbury
25th August 2011 8:43pm
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Nadine says...
Hi Xiem,
No large wooden fruit bins (Im in the Goulburn Valley). I thought maybe of using them instead of creating my own with pine planks. I think my concern has been what to treat the planks with. But reading through I think I'll just leave them untreated.
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Nadine
NE Victoria
27th August 2011 10:57am
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Nadine says...
Thanks Mark, yes I'm big on recycling. All the pine I have is from a friend's renovation. Do you think I should just put the pine beds straight on the concrete with maybe some straw and cardboard underneath the soil?
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Nadine
NE Victoria
27th August 2011 11:00am
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Lynne says...
I did have treated pine beds that we made with old pallets but they didnt last a year so we made some beds out of a piece of iron cut down the middle and then joined to make a bed 5 ft long by 3 ft wide and I made them into wicking beds .
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Goonellabah
28th August 2011 6:10pm
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Lynne says...
if anyone is interested I have a blog as well..

http://lymasc.blogspot.com/
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Goonellabah
28th August 2011 6:19pm
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amanda says...
Nice one Lynne :) Well - it's a strange season up here in Gero...how about Perth? I keep waiting for the aphids to turn up - but I think the weeds have really got the jump on them this year and they have missed the boat for succulent young growth...?

I also have very patchy flowering on my stone fruit too...? and some flowering has been very stop/start...

The locust plague in autumn must have laid lots of eggs - as young ones are turning up in force now...thankfully they are staying out in the paddock ..so far.

Only 6ml of rain in 2, maybe 3, weeks now - I hope it's not going to be a dry spring again...?

Gardening can be a tough gig hey..?? :-/
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amanda19
Geraldton. Mide West WA.
4th September 2011 10:52am
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snottiegobble says...
Old fridges & freezers also make great garden beds as well as worm farms. For garden beds just take the doors off & lie them on their backs. You will need to remove all the electrics & get someone to de-gas each unit first.. drill holes in the back (base) for drainage & paint the outside if need be.
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smackin the middle)
4th September 2011 1:47pm
#UserID: 3468
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snottiegobble says...
Amanda, we are having 5 to 10 mls every couple of days now & there was plenty over August yet its still not the long term average.
Dont like the thought of hoppers being so early for you.
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smackin the middle)
4th September 2011 1:52pm
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amanda says...
Hey SG...yea - hopefully they will mate, lay eggs n die B4 the paddock food dries up and they get desperate for my babies... I really don't want to spray anything (and the choice is Carabyl...spelling?) I would just feel a bit defeated if I had to use anything toxic...

With the block being on the market - it might not be a good 'look' to have stripped fruit trees..?? :-O

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amanda19
Geraldton. Mide West WA.
4th September 2011 9:04pm
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snottiegobble says...
Amanda, we feed our magpies on a regular basis. They like cheddar & budgie mix & fly in 2 or 3 times a day. While they are in the garden they also find bugs, spiders & caterpillers, even green ones on the brassicas.. Maybe you can attract a family to call in too!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smackin the middle)
5th September 2011 1:56am
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Maek says...
Nadine: well you could if that's your preference. Personally, I wouldn't bother putting straw & cardboard down first.The only use for doing that is for some drainage,& it won't take long for the straw & cardboard to break down. When it does,you'll either have to replace it or have dirt straight on the concrete & lose most of your drainage. .. If I were doing it, I'd put a layer of rocks & stones down first,but just on the inside edges against the sleepers or pine. Then I'd just put the soil straight onto the concrete.(add a layer of stones into the bottom 6 inches or so of soil,then fill your garden bed as normal.) Oh,, You mentioned using Pine. .. I do hope it is NOT 'Treated Pine'. .. "Treated Pine" has Arsenic in the treatment chemical & is Dangerous to YOU ,to children,& pets. Not to mention thos Vegies you are going to grow to eat! .. You Wouldn't eat Rat Poison would you? No. Well, it's just about the same thing! .. Hope this Helps a little!
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Mildura,Victoria
5th September 2011 7:33pm
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Lynne says...
If you line the inside of the garden bed with plastic you dont have to worry about using treated pine , and I think the jury is still debating about that anyway. There is quite a lengthy thread on here about that.
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8th September 2011 10:54pm
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Donovan says...
I recently went with a colorbond raised bed built to a custom size to fit down the side of my house. It was perfect as it sits in a space otherwise not really used as I have a fairly small to average sized yard. Managing to grow a pretty wide variety of veggies in it.

Its 3m X 0.8m. It holds around 1000L of soil.

Combine that with some potted stuff and I have a pretty good growing space. I may have room to sneak in another about the same size down the road, along with water tank, and as you can see all down the length of the house between the yard and the garage. Just outside the kitchen window too, so nice view of it.
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Donovan
Perth
14th September 2011 5:27pm
#UserID: 5073
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Mike says...
CCA refers to Copper Chrome Arsenate;pretty toxic stuff. You should use gloves when handling it. I am not sure I would want to eat food grown with roots in contact with CCA
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Mike23
Canberra
25th September 2011 11:48am
#UserID: 5878
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helen says...
I used Besser Blocks to do my vegetable garden. bought them at Bunnings for $2.95 each.You can make it as big or as small and it is totally portable. The holes I have also filled with soil and planted with herbs. I make the NO-DiG garden by placing layers og newspaper on the grass and filled the bed with mixture of garden soil , cow manure and mushroom compost. Hope it will help.
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helen11
Sydney
27th September 2011 9:05am
#UserID: 5886
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Shade Sails Melbourne says...
If they are indeed shade sails they will have grommets on the corners. If I remember correctly, shade sails are mostly triangular, correct? Well, all you need to do is put a bent nail on a post, hook a grommet to it, the tie a rope through the other two grommets and open it up to the desired angle.

Shade Sails Melbourne
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Shade Sails Melbourne
 
20th October 2011 9:36pm
#UserID: 5857
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daz says...
why do vege gardens have to be raised..........i get great results from mounding in rows
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daz
 
24th October 2011 2:54pm
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Original Post was last edited: 24th October 2011 2:55pm
matt says...
Check out this new product, a container raised garden bed.

It recycles excess water and comes with a protective greenhouse canopy complete with a mist-spray watering system.

It allows for high density planting and promotes rapid growth,

The Vegepod

The photo is 3 weeks from seedlings
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matt10
sydney
26th October 2011 12:14pm
#UserID: 6036
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Katey says...
I have recently moved and would like advice on what herbs and vegetables are suitable to grow Oct & November on the gold coast, mermaid waters.
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Katey
Gold Coast
27th October 2011 1:43pm
#UserID: 6044
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Nick says...
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/vegieguide/ :)
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Nick T
Altona, VIC
27th October 2011 7:25pm
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Michael says...
The Vegepod is a great idea but at $500 it's quite expensive for the home gardener.
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Michael D
Wakeley
28th October 2011 1:03pm
#UserID: 1938
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Tony says...
I am involved in setting up a Community Garden and its on an old industrial site, now a park. the local council will not allow us to penetrate the soil so we have to set up raised beds. And as many of our members cannot bend as well as they used to, its a good solution.
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Tony26
Sydney
31st October 2011 8:42am
#UserID: 6064
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matt says...
yeah at $500 the Vegepod does seem expensive at first glance.

With any of the purchased garden kits soil becomes an issue. You need to use a decent quality mix and to fill a 2.2m x 1m x .4m steel tank it will require almost 50 bags which pushes the finished price over $500.

You can half fill it with rubble but many people don't have rubble laying around.

It takes 16 bags to fill the Vegepod. It just makes setting up a veggie patch extremely easy for the inexperienced gardener.

Also with the canopy you get to eat what you grow. no possums, bandicoots or bush turkeys stealing crops.

You can re-coup the cost of the Vegepod in under 12 months just by growing common crops like lettuce, silverbeet, pak choi etc.

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matt10
sydney
1st November 2011 8:34am
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Fayley says...
The company that does the pine treating is OSMOSE and their website osmose.com.au has brochures on the different types of treated pine. They state that they do use arsenic and their usage brochure for CCA pine says not to use where it will contact drinking water or human or animal feed or bedding. There is an ACQ (alkaline copper quarternary) which is safe from termites and not as toxic. It still has copper which is said to be carcinogenic, but if you want pine sleepers these are the way to go. Definitely can't use CCA pine - even manufacturers say dont use for food bins or veggie gardens.
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Fayley
Perth
6th November 2011 3:04pm
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Susan says...
New to this site, but wanted to comment on Tom Sept 2007. My mother used fridges, washing machines..the old wringer type and twin tubs, old baths, stoves you name it, she recyled in her garden way before the word recycle became fashionable.
Even the old guttering, she attached to the garden fence and for all the years I lived at home mum grew strawberries in the guttering.
I guess i have taken after mum and I live on a small cattle property with lots of cow manure, I recycle alot in my garden too.
I just need now to convince my hubby that a raised garden bed will make my enjoyment of gardening so much more enjoyable.
the tomato picture is of Beefsteak tomatoes ( not oxheart). The red one on the right is a store bought. My bushes are so laden with fruit on one bush I have about 40 tomatoes.
Merry Xmas all
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Susan14
Lockyer Valley Qld
21st December 2011 11:22pm
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Mark says...
Yes Susan, we do that sort of thing too! My wife comes from the country & has always recycled,just because it has always been the way to do things. Nearly a year ago now, we moved to the country & I started doing it too. 1 of the tiolets we had, was removed & now is in the backyard being used as a planter. My wife grows brami in it.(I'm sure I spelled that wrong). I have the cistern & I am using that to grow mustard in. The old TV antannae we took down,is now being used for my runner beans to climb on. We even salvaged an old bath tub. My wife turned that into a flower garden in the front yard! ... You are right when you say that a lot of things can be recycled! Tell your husband that a veggie garden does NOT have to be hard work! I just used lopped & fallen branches,& a couple of old tractor tyres as the border for mine. (& not only is it cheaper than going out & buying one, it also looks good & looks like it belongs. Best of all though is, people think that it took a lot of hard work to do!) ... If that doesn't get him moving,, nothing will.
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Mildura
30th December 2011 3:33pm
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CCA not OK says...
CCA treatment is quietly being phased out in USA and EU. You dont see many of those treated pine playgrounds anymore do you?
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CCA not OK
Vic
11th January 2012 12:29pm
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au0rey says...
Have you seen those wooden lattices or trellis that are sold in Bunnings? Are they treated? Can we use them in gardening to support edible crops?
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Melbourne
11th January 2012 5:01pm
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Mary says...
About how much would this cost please??
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Mary9
Melbourne
14th January 2012 11:55am
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amanda says...
In order to cure my grumpiness due to gardening withdrawals and a broken toe - I started container gardening under the verandah yesterday ;-) Never thought I'd see the day - with 30acres all around me..lol.

I now have big containers on wheels for fresh baby greens: a stir fry mix and a salad mix. They are covered with fine netting to keep out the summer bugs and in full shade to ward off the heat, with self wicking pots.

Happy sigh...life is good again ;-)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
19th January 2012 1:18pm
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snottiegobble says...
Amanda how did you break a toe? Youve got 9 others so whats the prob? :-) Big storm looming your way, hope you get just rain!

There are so many fridges & freezers going to the tip & they are ideal for both growing in, & worm farms due to their inner walls being insulation! Just make sure the gas has been removed!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smackin the middle)
19th January 2012 1:36pm
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amanda says...
Looks as good as it gets outside my windows SG! Fingers and 9 toes crossed :)
Walking into jarrah furniture is a speciality of mine SG...it's just a nuisance more than anything...hoping the Dr will give me a Medical Certificate excusing me from housework!? haha...I can dream ;-)

I had to buy some nice tubs...as the house on the market I thought it should look 'tidy'..but yes I agree - old fridges make great smokers etc too...

I scored a great garden arch for just $8 at the recyclers yesterday - just what I needed to get my beast of a panama p'fruit up off the patio. It's taking over the whole back end of the house...
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
19th January 2012 3:09pm
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Mark says...
Ni Au0rey,, .. YES, You CAN use those wooden trellis's from up at Bunnings for Edible food crops!! .... The plain looking one's are NOT Treated,but if you see any that are green in colour, like those pine posts,, well, they are treated with arsenic & are dangerous /inadvisable to use!! ... I Personally, DO Use those plain untreated trellises myself for growing my peas & beans on. (but the one's I got were free, 'salvaged'from someone elseses junk pile. ... I also have a friend who just happens to work in Bunnings. ...... "Hope This Helps You." BOTTOM LINE:::: Many things we are told are toxic,may or may not be safe to use. Personally,,, I stay clear of those green treated pine posts, but I don't mind using lead in paint(even to grow things on.)
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Mildura
21st January 2012 8:43pm
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amanda says...
au0rey - best check with the guys at Bunnings first :)

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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
22nd January 2012 1:28pm
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au0rey says...
Thanks Amanda! Oopss am I the only one using these haha...i use them to let my cucumber vines climb.
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au0rey
melbourne
22nd January 2012 10:00pm
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amanda says...
You should be alright with that use au0rey? It's really a personal choice in most cases :) Some folk are comfortable with teated pine, others not so. As a trellis it's not like it's in the ground much anyway?

I was lucky to score some old solid jarrah ones at the recyclers - damn heavy but then the pine ones smash to bits here, in the wind :-O (they don't make them very strong tho..)

PS: they also have bamboo ones au0rey...might be a little more expensive - but mine has been more durable...know anyone with a bamboo plantation?? :)
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amanda19
Geraldton, 400km North of Perth
25th January 2012 9:23am
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Gardening Australia wannabee says...
I love a good teated pine.
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4th February 2012 10:57am
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Mark says...
Well Amanda,, If you have a broken toe, you have every right to be grumpy,That's pain, & just downright inconvenient too. ... If you've got the grumps due to gardening withdrawal too,& have taken the step (oops, no pun intended), to do Container Gardening,, you might think about extending that idea. ..... "Why not take up doing Bonsai as well!?" It's really not as hard as people make it out to be,& you'll be working with fully grown Trees again,(just quite a bit smaller). If "No Time" has been yourexcuse before, now you do have the time, AND you can do the whole thing sitting down comfortably. .. (Oh,, When you toe gets better & heals,, you 'might' want to tell those around you, that you can no longer put the same stress on it that you used to. (that's if you got used to others doing things for you. :-D ) .. "Get Well Soon",,, (but don't tell everyone you are well, as soon as you are well.") ;-)
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Mildura
15th February 2012 10:36pm
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Yuliya says...
Hi guys, I was reading this forum and buying plants from Daleys for a while. And I have to say.. I love it! The way you share tips and ideas and swap seeds... feels like small country community).

Anyway, on the topic, my garden bed is from CC treated pine from Bunnings. I say CC, because arsenic was removed for this mix and people from Bunnings actually recommended this for garden bed. On the photo the bed is a month ago and doubled since; we were picking more cucumbers, cos lettuce and snow peas than my family of three can consume.

We're renting, so this 2x1m garden bed is all I've got to play with... and many-many pots)
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Yuliya
Brisbane EW
30th April 2012 10:07pm
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snottiegobble says...
Good Onya Yuliya! Youve obviously got green thumbs so keep on gardening & organically if you can! We are a small country community in a big land, but learn so much from each other so welcome to the forum!!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
30th April 2012 11:16pm
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Brendan says...
Hi Yuliya, looks good! If it were mine, I'd add more mulch :-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
2nd May 2012 9:34am
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Yuliya says...
Thanks Brendan, it does need more mulch, I agree, in a mean time I've planted some carrots and radishes there) It's been raining here in Brisbane, so I'm not in a rush..

Here is the garden not even 2 weeks later. Cucumbers gone crazy and overtaking the garden, you won't pick it's just 2 of them there %-)
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Yuliya
Brisbane NW
2nd May 2012 10:27pm
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Mike says...
Brendan kinda like this you mean?this one has been compressed.
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Cairns
5th May 2012 10:28am
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MaryT says...
Green eyes alert! Mike what a spread! To think you also have a trillion trees as well!
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MaryT
Sydney
5th May 2012 10:38am
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Mike says...
They are only young babes yet.Small plants can be mature like my giant siam carambola.
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Cairns
5th May 2012 10:59am
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JUJUBE FOR SALE IN MELBOURNE says...
Nice to see your garden again Mike!
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JUJUBE FOR SALE
 
5th May 2012 11:13am
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amanda says...
Great Mike! I love seeing pics of peoples gardens - and yours has lots to see! What carambola would you recommend? (that is easy to get hold of)

I had a lovely deep yellow and tasty one from the F&V shop the other day - they seem to have improved in flavour these days? (was never that into them b4) Now I would like to grow one.

Do they come true to type from seed?
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
5th May 2012 11:14am
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Mike says...
Amanda when it comes to carambola I'm an old fashioned guy and fwang tung is hard to beat.If you're a 'happenin kinda chick' and like flashy things in good taste B17 is a star.
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Cairns
5th May 2012 11:21am
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amanda says...
Lol..thanks Mike :D
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
5th May 2012 4:43pm
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Yuliya says...
Mike, beautiful garden! I'll have something like that... one day... hopefully)

What is the high large leaf plant you have in every bed?
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Yuliya
Brisbane NW
5th May 2012 7:43pm
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snottiegobble says...
Yeah Mike it looks like that starchy plant taro, but isnt it supposed to be water?
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
5th May 2012 7:54pm
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Mike says...
There are two types of taro and the one in the second cell back on the left is xanthosoma.In the custard apple picture on the bench there were some small solomons taro which may soon join them.
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Mike32
Cairns
5th May 2012 8:01pm
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Mike says...
There has ben a growth spurt in the garden since the last picture 2 days ago.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 10:24am
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MaryT says...
Mike it's good to see pictures of your garden. I am full of admiration and envy. I used to imagine your garden as some sort of jungle but it's super neat - quite Brendan-like. :)
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 10:43am
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Mike says...
There are jungly corners Mary.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 10:50am
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Mike says...
Mary wrong picture this is more jungly
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Cairns
7th May 2012 10:51am
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MaryT says...
Wow are there two trunks to that paw paw or just one in front of another?
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 11:07am
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Mike says...
The one in front died a while ago and is alive again now.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 11:08am
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Mike says...
When it first died the trunk went rotten and then it decided to live and be healthy again.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 11:25am
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Mike says...
Oh yeah you can see the evidence of when it went through a rough patch.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 11:26am
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MaryT says...
That is amazing, Mike. I know you're clever but didn't realise that you can raise the dead. You should name it a miracle tree.
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 11:30am
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Mike says...
A couple of times I nearly did your trick and when they get tall it is time to chop.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 11:38am
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MaryT says...
They say you should chop it where those knobs are closest together and cover the wound with a tin - I think I would give mine away when it's too tall. Apparently they're only good for about five years anyway? Judging by the photo yours are out of reach? Unless you are seven feet tall?
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 2:56pm
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Mike says...
On the very top rung it is a feather over 7 feet to reach them so I can do it.4 to 10 years might be their life span if renewal takles place.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 4:23pm
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MaryT says...
That sounds very scary, Mike; for you and for whoever has to catch them as you chuck those giant paw paws down from that great height.
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 4:33pm
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Mike says...
Mary I do the highwire without a net and never have a catcher.The klutzes who have gone catcher in the past usually end up wearing ripe fruit or scraping it out of the lawn.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 6:59pm
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MaryT says...
Mike that sounds too dangerous to be worthwhile. Definitely time to give it the chop.
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 7:04pm
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Mike says...
There are too many green ones and I'll never fall.If the impossible happened the ground would break my fall.The double one out the back is way taller than the one next to the house.
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Cairns
7th May 2012 7:21pm
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MaryT says...
Touch Wood. Guess you would be touching wood :)
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MaryT
Sydney
7th May 2012 7:23pm
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Mike says...
My friend has problems in his garden SG with 65kg raiders.
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Mike
Cairns
8th May 2012 9:42am
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Mike says...
Nothing messes with the big girl.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 10:01am
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MaryT says...
Mike do you have them nearby? This is the closest I got to one in the Daintree - at Hugh Spencer's.
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MaryT
Sydney
8th May 2012 10:17am
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Mike says...
Maybe 1km away Mary.I know that friendly little male.I used to know Mr Spencer and Brigitta years ago,and Hugh is not all he seems.Some of the students actually qualified to deal with wildlife have helped enormously.I wonder if they still use teh Grays' farm next door to catch Nyctimines.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 4:29pm
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snottiegobble says...
Thats a wonderful problem to have Mike!
There is supposed to be only 1000 casowaries left! Would that mean he has 0.05%? of the worlds population???
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
8th May 2012 4:31pm
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Mike says...
More like 500 SG the figure of 1200 has been bandied around for 40 years while they've been declining.Maybe 150 for Cape york and who knows with the other subs. of the southern Cass. but they are all in freefall.Unlikely to be 5000 cassowaries left altogether even with all island pops included.Bennets and single wattled also in big strife.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 4:35pm
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Xiem says...
I got pretty close to one with her baby a couple of years ago on the track down to the Blue Hole in the Daintree. The fact that this magical place is not protected and that locals can go swimming there with their cattle/pig? dogs is no doubt one of the reasons that cassowaries are "in freefall".
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Diego
 
8th May 2012 5:22pm
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Mike says...
Xiem males look after chicks and are about half the size of females which are queens of the forest.Packs of hunting dogs,cars,clearing and maybe even traditional hunting take out birds.There are places like the blue hole in many spots from Tully to Cooktown and on the tablelands.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 5:32pm
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MaryT says...
Mike, Hugh used to have quite a few on his property at Cape Trib. He is not all he seems? I remember he kept a CAT which was pretty shocking as it used to bring in all sorts of small animals but I'll always remember him playing the mouth organ all night so we could dance to some music. Those were the days :)
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MaryT
Sydney
8th May 2012 5:42pm
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Mike says...
He is well qualified in engineering but far be from me to let any cats out of any bags or express opinions in this forum.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 5:49pm
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MaryT says...
Say no more:)
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MaryT
Sydney
8th May 2012 5:58pm
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Dave says...
Cassowaries are more important in the forest than they seem as quoted below
The Cassowary is known as a “keystone” species, crucial for the preservation of rainforest diversity due to the important role it plays as a seeds disperser. Cassowaries are one of only a few frugivores that can disperse large rainforest fruits and are the only long distance dispersal vector for large seeded fruits. Their diet includes fleshy fruits of up to 238 plant species, including seven exotics.
Every orchard should have one!
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Dave
Dandenongs
8th May 2012 10:21pm
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Mike says...
Thats right Dave and the count is even higher now.The exotics include pond apple,guava and mangoes.Flying foxes can carry large fruits to the size of mangoes for a short distance but not in any numbers.They are really omnivores patrolling beaches for crabs and fish,roads for dead stuff and picking spiders out of webs.They even grab yabbies out of creeks,eat skinks,bugs,fungi and rats are prized.They are arguably the largest native australian land animal.
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Cairns
8th May 2012 10:30pm
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MaryT says...
Mike we should all hang our heads in shame if we let this magnificent creature become extinct on our watch. Those of you with grandchildren better show them a cassowary now; it may disappear before they grow up.
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MaryT
Sydney
9th May 2012 9:59am
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amanda says...
Hang our heads in shame? The Koala has just been listed as a "Vulnerable" population. The gorgeous Hairy Nosed Wombat is already listed as Endangered..??

Wake up Australia...even India has not culled species like we have.

(no offence Mary)
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
9th May 2012 10:43pm
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Original Post was last edited: 9th May 2012 10:44pm
Mike says...
Amanda it is happening all over and cassowary is a good example because it is so poorly known by the public.No emu alive is anywhere near as large as that big girl in picture but people still think emus are the second biggest birds.
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Cairns
9th May 2012 10:52pm
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amanda says...
Have met a C'wary Mike..(bloody scary too!?) but people might not support their cause as much as a cuddly Koala?

That's one thing I don't like about public support of endangered animals - they tend to support what is aesthetically pleasing (as in cute and acceptable) ..?
They are even less likely to support the cause of an ugly lizard..??

In NZ there were even bigger emus (the Moa) until the Moaris ate them all..

Can't understand why we don't all juust admit that humans are so out of control.
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
10th May 2012 12:04am
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Mike says...
The genyornis (500kg) and loads of megafauna got killed out of australia by people also.A few types of emus were killed out more recently and it is a long list.People think kiwis can't fly but they must because queensland is full of them.
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Cairns
10th May 2012 12:16am
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MaryT says...
We are lucky to have what we have but we are losing them. All I can say to each of them is " this world's not made for one as beautiful as you".
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MaryT
Sydney
10th May 2012 5:58am
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Dave says...
Tim Flannery's 'Future Eaters' is still a relevant book that describes Australia's timeline of species and the rate of decline, worth a read if you haven't. I remember he talked about the Moas in NZ too, as well as the giant wombats, 3 metre kangeroos and a spate of now extinct animals that were around in recent history when humans were living in OZ. You know there was an actual rainbow serpent, yeah remains of 20metre long snake with irredescent type scales, I was thrilled to read that.
Coming back to the veggie garden though, I think growing your own food is a good way to 'start' to not only reduce food miles,etc but to understand food, environment, how things grow, how we can live together...anyway I could go on and I sometimes do think the majority won't stop stomping the earth until it is dead. I do get that change is inevitable but I think the real heroes today are those who try to preserve the last bastions of wilderness, collectors of rare things/species/etc and the innovators of less destructive processes.
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Dave
Dandenongs
10th May 2012 10:32am
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snottiegobble says...
its very depressing that we are the cause of so many extinctions, & even worse we are still adding to them. You folks up there in FNQ must rally & urge your new Premier to ban all feral animals from the areas where these birds have habitat! Cattle/pig dogs must definately be banned before its too late or your diversity of food plants will decline & disappear along with their seed spreaders!
Mike. you are referring to human kiwis, arent you?
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
10th May 2012 11:46am
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MaryT says...
I wrote a letter to the minister about it; it's just one voice but if it's one amongst many it might be heard.
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MaryT
Sydney
10th May 2012 11:51am
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Xiem says...
I guess its not easy to keep feral animals out of cassowary habitat. Feral pigs for instance are in their millions; I have heard estimates of 40 million nationwide and they are hardy and cunning animals. But people aren't doing anywhere near enough to protect what's valuable for the future, particularly our tropical rainforest. The area of tropical rainforest in Australia is TINY. This is not Brazil or the Amazon. We have to protect every inch of what little we have.
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Diego
 
10th May 2012 3:51pm
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Mike says...
Xiem there isn't much rainforest clearing any more after a spate in the 80's and early 90's.Much of it enjoys world heritage listing and there are efforts to slow the speed of cassowary decline these days.There does need to be more large enough representative examples of each regional ecosystem protected in a natural state all over the country.Threatening processes need to be addressed( like fire management and pests) and declining plants and animals need special attention.It takes resources and a change of the way things are done so we won't keep everything.
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Cairns
10th May 2012 5:21pm
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snottiegobble says...
It still reeks of redneck "do what you f--g well like in your 4w drive" attitude & the fact that the area is so small makes it even more vunerable, doesnt it?
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
10th May 2012 7:49pm
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Xiem says...
The fact that there isn't much rainforest clearing any more doesn't give me much comfort. A lot of damage has been done during and since the Bjelke Petersen ravages. And still there is no serious attempt to conserve. SG is right about the destructive capacity of 4Wd's. They even have access now to the Cow Bay foreshore. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia and a tourist gem but the foreshore there is being seriously degraded. Dirt bikes also have their effect such as along the "protected" beach between Wonga and the Daintree where the uncaring amongst us roar up and down with impunity. Pity the beach curlews and the myriad of sandpipers and turnstones some of which fly all the way from the Arctic Circle for a bit of peace. Sure conservation takes resources but a change in attitude of many locals would help too.
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Diego
 
11th May 2012 7:32am
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snottiegobble says...
Xiem, are there any RAMSAR wetland areas for them to rest? You might have to start a conservation/ observation group in your area! There are bound to be other like minded folks who are worried about these migrant birds!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
11th May 2012 6:36pm
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Mike says...
Xiem I have been fighting battles on those kinda issues for a long time.My journey has taken me from idealistic to disillusioned and now I am hopeful.I guess I am getting sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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Cairns
11th May 2012 6:49pm
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MaryT says...
Don't give up, Mike. You are not alone. Good to hear from you Xiem. I do my best but if I'm not actually sick and often tired I would do more. Now I can only green my own concrete patch :(
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MaryT
Sydney
11th May 2012 7:35pm
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amanda says...
What's this MaryT...? You are amazing!? (and not just for growing plants either) Ok - so u may not able to do some things anymore. U still have much to offer.

C'mon guys...don't let the Doom n Gloom of the world overwhelm you and make u weary or jaded. That is what makes u feel tired and sad.

It is what it is...for better or for worse. But really - once we are dead and gone...it will all be irrelevant..(depending on your beliefs tho)

U have probably done more than u either realise - or give yourselves credit for - already.
Let the next generations pick up the baton.
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
12th May 2012 12:24am
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MaryT says...
Thanks Amanda. You're right. There are lots of good people coming up. Anyway the health of the planet (and their own future) is in their hands.
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MaryT
Sydney
12th May 2012 6:51pm
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amanda says...
I am glad u are all here - I have learnt volumes that I wouldn't be able to find in a book :)

(and your knowledge is preserved for many years to come, in cyberspace..!)
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amanda19
Geraldton. 400km north of Perth.
13th May 2012 11:40am
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MaryT says...
I agree Amanda; and the generosity of the people on this forum keeps growing. Everyday I see evidence of this; took some photos this morning of Mike's shallots that I almost forgotten to plant (I'd put them away so carefully but they took off within a couple of days), his pawpaw that I did plant from fresh seeds and Phil's Huangpi. They're a tiny fraction of what I have growing from 'donations'.
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MaryT
Sydney
15th May 2012 9:45am
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snottiegobble says...
Hey folks! I hope this is the start of something big for these birds! Maybe its something for Mike & Xiem to get your teeth in to??

Cassowaries Home Expanded
www.thegreenpages.com.au
Funding provided by Rainforest Rescue has seen the first 600 trees planted on Friday 27th April as part of an important revegetation project to restore a critical...
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
15th May 2012 2:42pm
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VF says...
Good article SG - shows people do care! Hopefully it's not too little too late for these magnificent birds. Sad note for Koalas - read current May edition of National Geographic p.126. Good news though, the much maligned Gold Coast City Council has been purchasing decent sized land tracts as conservation areas in hinterland regions to be similarly managed as National Parks. Great for native plants and animals.
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VF
Wongawallan
15th May 2012 4:53pm
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snottiegobble says...
Thats good news VF, I was beginning to think the whole state was open slather for rednecks!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
15th May 2012 8:26pm
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VF says...
We still have a longggg way to go SG. With natural resouce boom, anywhere that has possible coal/gas/ores seems to be open to all exploration/exploitation. Also new playing field again with new State Governmant and Councillors being elected - see what happens.
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VF
Wongawallan
16th May 2012 6:19pm
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Rev says...
Don't forget a major food source of the cassowary is now the pond apple (annona sp)
A "weed"
So weed nazis take note;
Stop interfering in what you dont understand
Weedy habitat is critical for endangered species across the world
Don't assume you know how systems work before you look with fresh eyes

The cassowary is in papua and parts of indonesia too
"kasuari"
It's threatened all over it's habitat

It wouldn't Hurt to reintroduce them to tbecatherton, to Paluma, eungella, even the border ranges
Clearly they were once there, as their foodplants presence shows.
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Rev
Indonesia
23rd June 2012 8:46am
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Mike says...
Rev you are correct about cassowaries and pond apples.I did a report for QPWS in 1991 and found cassowaries in the lower russell/mulgrave were eatingf loads of pond apples.They also were getting crabs and spiders in the mangroves and eating wild guavas.F'ing foxes spread them too.
There are still a few cassowaries at Paluma, but none now north of the bloomfield or on the windsor.I think they have been gone too long from eungella,SEQ and NEQ to reintroduce them now let alone many places since white colonisation.On many of the islands around NG and Indo double wattles were introduced by people.
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Cairns
23rd June 2012 8:58am
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Roofing South Australia says...
You are posted best here!! i am impressed by writing.
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Roofing South Australia
Adelaide
21st August 2012 6:23pm
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snottiegobble says...
I detect a not so subtle advertisement here!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso
27th August 2012 11:16am
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MaryT says...
So why give them more attention, sg? I'm sure we all ignore it for that reason.
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MaryT
Sydney
27th August 2012 11:35am
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Ang13 says...
If you use treated sleepers just line the inside with black plastic making sure you plastic covers the ground as well. & use a garden fork to stab some holes in the plastic that is on the ground so water can drain away. No nasty poisons will get taken in by your veggies.
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Ang13
Gaven
22nd March 2015 8:05pm
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Broomedy says...
Tyres can be quite dangerous in which to grow. Particularly plants like potatoes as the spuds absorb heavy metals which are present in tyres.
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Broomedy
Ballan
15th September 2015 2:37pm
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djk001 says...
Great site, exactly what I have been looking for.

I have an existing vegetable garden made of old railway sleepers, 2060 x 2720, 1 sleeper high. As age creeps up I am finding it more and more difficult to get down and up as I used to be able to and am now looking to raise it higher. I have been considering all the options mentioned above but have wondered about using plastic wood. I have found a company in Adelaide that make it to a maximum of 300mm x 40mm which would be and ideal height and to sit over the existing base secured to posts in each of the 4 corners with a side lining of black plastic.

Has anyone used such a product (plastic wood)?
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djk001
Brighton Vic
9th October 2015 2:09pm
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simon holloway says...
HI mate, have you seen our vegepods? self watering contained raised garden bed kits, includes protection canopy and misters through the top. could suit you to a tee. all food safe and ensure pest free organic growth.
cheers simon
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simon holloway
avalon beach
29th April 2016 2:02pm
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ningnong says...
we just replaced our old railway sleepers with precast concrete curbing, that'll stop the munching termite blighters. We got seconds from the local concrete products factory 1700x200x200, jolly heavy but well worth the gut busting. we put them 2 high and they have perfect spike holes so just wacked in reo spikes to hold them in place. $10 each
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ningnong
MIDGE POINT,4799,QLD
19th June 2016 9:00am
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Julie says...
People I visited some time ago made their whole veggie garden of slabs on edge. I can't remember how they were held together - maybe with wire? They were dug part way into the ground and were a good depth.
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Julie
Roleystone WA
20th June 2016 2:22pm
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