[permaculture] Material for raised bed

John Schinnerer eco_living at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 7 02:25:16 EDT 2002


On gentle slopes, try simply shaping your beds to follow contour lines
and don't bother with building walls.  I reshaped most of my front yard
beds this way this spring and it is working well so far (for both
natural rainfall and summertime watering).  It's a gentle slope, but
steep enough that my original 'rectangular' layout led to excess water
running off along downhill paths.  

Now, the path space in between my contour beds is slanted slightly down
towards the next lower bed (i.e. the path is a bit of a sidehill);
where lower edge of path meets upper edge of bed becomes the bottom of
a mini-swale, where excess water from the upper bed collects and soaks
into the upper edge of the lower bed (instead of running down to the
bottom of the garden like it used to).

If you also want to spread/move water in particular directions in the
garden, lay out paths just off contour to move the water along the path
areas in the desired direction (beds in between paths, obviously). 
Micro-keyline design, essentially.

Ecology Action's own research garden is all on sloping ground, much of
it quite steep.  They use old boards and rebar and wood stakes and
whatnot to retain the lower edges of their steeper beds, nothing fancy.
 Rocks too in a few places if I remember correctly.  The less steep
areas, they just shape the beds and leave it at that, no edging/walls
to speak of.

Uncovered cob/earthen ovens are mostly found in arid climates; those I
know of in the soggy Northwest all have some kind of roof over them, or
are tucked in under the eaves of a building/dwelling.

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Food - Water - Shelter - Community - Technology
john at eco-living.net

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