[Homestead] Garden walls
genegerue at ruralize.com
Sun Feb 22 11:54:19 EST 2009
Lynn, clean the stones of all dirt and organic material with water
from garden hose. This will make the wall stronger with less concrete--
cement does not much act as an adhesive but the infinite
irregularities in field stone do provide grip. If your aggregate is
small enough you can mix it and the sand and cement in a five-gallon
bucket with a half-inch drill and a paint mixer with long handle.
If you mix in a wheelbarrow, use a hoe rather than a shovel. It's
easier on the body. You don't need a masonry hoe with the big hole in
the middle, any strong garden hoe will work.
Slip-form walls need minimal concrete in the interior where voids are
no big deal but every eighteen inches or so lay some old wire or fence
pieces across and bed them in concrete. Smoosh outside stones down
into full concrete beds. In your climate you should round cap and
smooth finish outside surfaces with mortar to avoid freeze cracking.
Or you can make such a wall as I described below and just fill it with
dirt. The hardest work in ferrocement walls is tying the poultry mesh
together. I will this summer be trying a new system of making
ferrocement planks by casting them on the ground to eliminate the need
to tie the mesh together. I developed the technique on the large
raised ferro bed I made last summer--lay down the four layers of mesh
and then lay clean rocks on them where they bow up to flatten them.
Apply mortar to all remaining surfaces. Next day, remove the stones
and finish the mortar application.
If you learn to do ferro then you can forget mixing concrete except
for footings; ferro uses mortar, which mixes far more easily, just
sand, cement and water.
On Feb 22, 2009, at 8:58 AM, Lynn Wigglesworth wrote:
> Gene; Have you developed any easier ways to work with cement? Between
> lugging the 80 pound bags, all the water, finding something large
> enough to
> mix it in, the mess, making the forms, etc., I can't get up the
> gumption to
> start my slipform wall project. It's going to be a short wall
> (2'-3') on the
> north side of the herb bed to retain heat for the herbs (and look
> divides the garden from the orchard). Any hints?
> Lynn Wigglesworth
> Tioga Co. PA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Gene GeRue" <genegerue at ruralize.com>
> To: <homestead at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 10:38 AM
> Subject: [Homestead] Garden walls
>> On Feb 21, 2009, at 9:34 AM, Clansgian at wmconnect.com wrote:
>>>>> The Nearings constructed slipform stone/concrete walls that are
>>>>> faster and
>>>> stronger. It takes fewer stones, but you need concrete.
>>> And yet, to fence in a 100' x 100' garden took them 14 years. Also,
>>> if you
>>> read the account by the Nearings themselves, it sounds like they did
>>> it all
>>> themselves, just the two of them. But in reality all during that
>>> time they had
>>> as many as 30 people staying at their place for a few days or a few
>>> months and
>>> these sojourners did most of the work.
>> The modern way is the easy way, which is to say buy materials that go
>> up fast. The new world economy will change that.
>> In a post long ago I gave my design for a permanent, solid garden
>> wall: two ferro fences a foot apart with the space between filled
>> stones, detritus, bottles, cans, anything solid and non-polluting,
>> although once the wall is capped with masonry it becomes a sealed
>> vault and the contents inert. I haven't made mine yet but the new web
>> site will report on such projects as they come to fruition.
>> Gene GeRue
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