(Raised) garden bed edging materials?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by DJ-Studd, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Hi guys,
    I'm insistent on getting the materials for my vegetable garden edging this weekend. I've delayed for too long and messed around with too many ideas that don't work!

    I was going to use corrugated tin sheeting cut in three (~1' high), pegged down with riobar. I then changed my mind to using PVC steaks from Bunnings, which ended up being PVC coated steel. There goes that idea...

    How about sleepers or rocks or something? What's the best material to use. Economics also play a factor. I really need something that's going to hold in my sheet mulching - I don't want to be walking all over horse poop!

    Cheers.
     
  2. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    wooden sleepers are great. Purists will say treated pine is no good, maybe hardwood is an option?

    I have a single layer of sleeper which I found dumped, and short star posts which I bought for ~3 each. It works well.
     
  3. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Thanks ppp. I was reading in an old thread about chemicals, etc used on train sleepers. Regular redgum sleepers shouldn't have issues with chemical treatments though, correct?

    Cheers.
     
  4. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    Hardwood sleepers are fine for use on garden beds but don't use treated pine, as the arsenic has the potential to leach out and be absorbed by your vegetables.
     
  5. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    Regarding soil for inside your garden beds.. avoid buying commercial soil if you can.

    I bought a bit to fill mine, which was very nice and all to have them filled, but the "commercial topsoil" was basically a mixture of ash and rotted pine bark (not very good). If you must, get some, but if you have a source of REAL soil, or you can suplement with mushroom compost / manure / rotten vegetables from the local supermarket, then do that as much as possible I think.

    That said, I have added manure, compost, crusher dust etc to my soil and it is growing fantastic herbs, vegies and spices. (I have also turned the soil deep, to bring some natural soil up into the "growing zone" which I think has done wonders)
     
  6. Andrew Clarke

    Andrew Clarke Junior Member

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    Hi DJ

    If using rocks, which are a strong weatherproof option, I'd recommend that you don't use dry stone walls to edge your beds as in my experience you will be constantly weeding and dealing with the slugs and snails that take up residence.

    You could build mortared walls so there's no room for these unwanted guests to reside - maybe using lime mortar or some other eco material?

    Wooden boards last several years, and some species are naturally rot-resistant, if not go for a safe preservative.

    If you are going to the effort of making permanent beds think carefully about the materials used in the paths between them as well. Grass looks and feels nice underfoot but can be a chore to cut so think semi-/permanent paths as well using materials such as gravel, woodchip etc.

    Best wishes

    Andrew
     
  7. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day dj,

    currenlty i don't use any edging at all well not of that permanent nature leastwise.

    and our sheet mulch is contained where we want it, we have money issues as well so any sort of money for any sort of edging is out of the question and at the end of the day none is realy needed.

    have you checked your local demolition/recycle yards? with latteral thinking there could be many things there that could be used may not be pretty but will be practical.

    often they sell old cliplok roofing comes in sheets about 5 or 6 meters long and 10"s or 20"s wide or thereabouts. we used this on gardens in the past, 2 x sheets agve us a bed 5m long and 1m wide held together with 4 s/s screws and no support pegs needed. just a little use with an angle grinder so bending could occur.

    got pic's of both ways on our site.

    len
     
  8. K9

    K9 New Member

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    Garden Bed Edging Materials

    Well, for what it's worth I've used a heap of old roofing tiles. All I did was dig a shallow trench in the shape of the border to provide a guide and then used cut down tomato stakes (about 60cm long) to hold them in place on the outside and soil on the inside. Placing the tiles on their end allows them to be locked in to each other which provides additional stability. While roofing tiles are designed to be used in straight lines, they can also be manipulated into curved shapes for a bit of interest. I sourced most of my tiles from next door neighbours who were doing a clean up and some additional ones from the recycling centre attached to the local tip. Email me if you want some additional info or a picture.
     
  9. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    These untreated chestnut poles are seven years old and are still in good condition :

    [​IMG]

    The whole of my veg plot is on a slope terraced with wood cut when we reclaimed the land to make a garden.

    Here are some more photos of the raised beds.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkin ... 064739567/

    Irene
     
  10. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Very nice photos hardworkinghippy, they were my inspiration for putting in some definitive edging in the first place :D I have found someone with a small quantity of used redgum sleepers which I'll use for now.

    Will post some photos when I'm done. Cheers.
     
  11. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    DJ Stud,

    I'm honoured to hear that. :)

    If the sleepers have been treated, I'd drop or drag stones, branches and any other solid material you have to lie next to them to stop the earth making direct contact with them for a few years until the stuff they've been treated with leaches out over time. Every time you prepare the bed drag more material towards the sleepers and they'll last for a lot longer.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the photos !

    Irene
     
  12. Gangrene Thumb

    Gangrene Thumb Junior Member

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    Hello,

    If my enquiry has been answered on another thread, please point me in the right direction! (A quick search didn't specifically answer my question.) :)

    I have noticed Josh Byrne (ABC Gardening Australia) using 'cut down' corrugated iron water tanks as raised garden beds. I know these are rather costly (around $400 depending on size), but they strike me as a good option in that they would be durable and able to be emptied and moved around if needed.

    I've kept an eye out for sheets of corrugated iron at the local tip shop, but surprisingly, haven't noticed any suitable material to use.

    Has anyone used these tanks as raised garden beds? Is there any risk in zincalume as a material in terms of leaching and degradation?
     
  13. barely run

    barely run Junior Member

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    Where are you?? plenty of iron at my local tip
    Cathy
     
  14. Gangrene Thumb

    Gangrene Thumb Junior Member

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    I'm based at the southern end of NSW, I'm afraid, but thanks!

    I'm also considering dry stone walls or strawbale retaining walls, which unfortunately makes them more 'permanent'. Prefer to not use second hand bricks, because I've seen them 'splinter' too easily in cold climates. Also avoiding wood if possible. I'm unsure whether constant contact with soil and water will affect strawbale render, but it's something I'm still looking into.
     
  15. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    Being severely short of cash (ie none available for my garden). I scavenged my edgings. Someone was chucking out a dozen metal things, like little mini-ladders about 3 ft x 1.5ft. I had some left over plastic gutter guard - the stuff that costs about $2 a roll, and wove that through the 'rungs'. I set them in the ground, and tied them to each other with string.

    These edgings work well, but many years ago I made edgings from old 2ltr plastic bottles. You need a lot though. Cut off the top and bottom so you have just a tube left, and cut the top in a zigzag pattern to make a spiked top - like ^^^^^^. Then fill them with earth and place them round the garden. You can even plant herbs in them if you fill them with compost instead. They look quite nice, especially if you have coloured ones.

    My other edging method is scavenged stones and bricks, but I agree, this can cause a snail problem.

    I'd love to be able to afford railway sleepers, but for now the above methods do the job.
     
  16. ColinJEly

    ColinJEly Junior Member

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    Raised garden bed edging materials

    Hello DJ
    I used some sleepers, the traditional hardwood kind. How close to Melbourne are you, Just next door to the South Eastern Purification Plant at Carrum Downs a few years ago I bought a load of 'blended soil'. Read recycled poo and compost and (probably) shitty subsoil mixed together. If you drove in a timber garden stake it sprouted

    Cheers Col
     
  17. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Well, I've finally managed to get something setup.

    After messing around with cutting tin and getting frustrated trying to stake it in the ground, I opted for red gum sleepers.

    There were several criterion that influenced this decision.
    - The material had to have a long lifespan. Being hardwood, the red gum sleepers should last plenty long enough. Certainly longer than tin (no galvanising along cuts) which would rust out in a short time frame;
    - More environmentally sound in the vegetable garden; and
    - A higher aesthetic appearance when compared to the alternatives. This was quite important for a few reasons that won't be mentioned here.

    From what I've read, the majority of red gum timber is "sustainably" (I'll use that term loosely) farmed, which is much gentler on the environment than monocultures of pine. Secondly, from what I've read, the timber is harvested when it reaches 40 years of age. I now have to ensure that, by growing my own vegetables, I can offset both the loss of the tree used to make the sleepers and my own carbon emissions from food production. I don't feel that this will be difficult, given that I'll be using less water and no petro-chemical fertilisers. I'll also be growing a surplus of food on land that, before I started, had no food production. 30 years ago it grew potatoes unsustainably, but that doesn't count! My excess food will both be sold (enough to repay the financial outlay from the food production infrastructure) and given away to friends, work colleagues and neighbours. It will not only be my own carbon emissions that are reduced, but the carbon emissions of those that receive my food. A win all-round in my opinion!

    The sleepers were $17ea ($1 off the price each due to the quantity that I purchased) and are 3M long by 1" thick. We've been gradually improving the soil in our vegetable garden area through the addition of animal and green manures, so I will be trialing that as a growing medium. Inside the beds I have placed spoiled hay, which was free from the side of the road, covered with newspaper; a small hole in which is placed a handful of soil and a seed or seedling.

    I have approximately 168sqM of manageable growing area in addition to herb spirals and a sizeable orchard (although this requires some restructuring).

    Will post some photographs when the beds are completed in a few weeks time.

    The sleepers are a very quick method of establishing vegetable beds that are both manageable and economical.
     
  18. dewbee

    dewbee Junior Member

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    garden borders

    what about sandbags?? good and solid where you want them to stay, and can also be moved around...
     

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