[permaculture] Material for raised bed

John Irwin jwirwin at permaculture.net
Tue Jul 30 10:16:01 EDT 2002

Pc Pals:

Re: cob walls

I like this idea.  We have Jeavons-style raised beds in our
garden which rests on a mild slope & I always wish the walls
didn't crumble & the bed would keep its original shape.

A big advantage of raised beds is that it allows more air &
more water in the soil but does not get too wet or too dry.
We have a drought going here, but our veggies are doing

Has anyone tried this cob-type method & does it allow the soil
breath adequately?

Would something cruder, more like mud work pretty

For Pc & Peace,


Robert Waldrop wrote:

> What about the cob technique for making walls (i.e. a mixture of
> earth, sand, straw, water, formed into a wall and allowed to dry)?  It
> can be molded like modelling clay, I've seen some pictures of very
> imaginative outdoor ovens (one was shaped like a snail) made from
> this, and I was thinking that if they were suitable for framing garden
> beds, you could do some really artistic things with them.  We're
> thinking of beds laid out in a spiral, or maybe a labyrinth pattern,
> and thus we  need something that can be easily curved.  One person
> here locally suggested recycling corrugated roofs, and that is an
> option for us, but I'd like something that looks better and not so,
> well, metallic.
> I've been doing some searching in the archives of a Cob discussion
> listserv at deatech, and have found some discussion but nothing really
> definitive.  Free standing cob walls (that is, those that aren't part
> of houses) are generally topped with tiles or something, and put on a
> foundation of some sort.  One though I had was 2' cob walls topped
> with some used yellow and red bricks.
> The cob ovens I've seen pictures off are not covered in tiles, so
> there must be some other way to water proof them (I've ordered a book
> on them so presumably it has the answer to that). Perhaps the use of
> them as ovens bakes the cob and makes it more like brick?
> Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma City
> http://www.oklahomafood.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Pittman <pci at permaculture-inst.org>
> >I'm not familiar with AC2 but I've not heard of a treated board that
> I
> >would trust.  The recycled plastic boards are fine.  I also use
> cobble
> >stones which I gather from the river.
> >
> >Good luck,
> >Scott Pittman
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