[permaculture] Material for raised bed

Simon Kartar skartar at cfbt.com
Tue Jul 30 10:37:10 EDT 2002


Hi John,

I'm building a small house with cob at the moment and it's addictive stuff.
It's wonderfully easy to make and shape and grows really quickly. I'd never
thought of using it for retaining walls but I'm sure you could. The big
problem (if any) would be drainage. You'd have to allow the water to drain
away or the wall would soak it all up. Maybe you could look into lining it
with a waterproofing agent (pitch? - not sure if that's non toxic)

We're not covering the walls as we build them and they shed rain very
effectively - they are dry within minutes of a downpour ending, but I don't
know if they would do this with continued contact with wet soil.

Becky Bee's book is good for information on drainage (for houses) - maybe
you could adapt that for raised bed use? Maybe Becky is on this list (or
someone could forward this to her) she has probably tried doing this
already.

While we're on the subject - does anyone have experience with thatch? Is it
hard to do?

It would be good to hear how you get on.

Cheers,
Simon.




                                                                                                                               
                    John Irwin                                                                                                 
                    <jwirwin at permaculture.net>       To:     permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org                                    
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                    permaculture-admin at lists.i       Subject:     Re: [permaculture] Material for raised bed                   
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                    30/07/02 03:16 PM                                                                                          
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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
OK.

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

Would something cruder, more like mud work pretty
well?

For Pc & Peace,

John

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
>
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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