Raised beds with anti-snail lips

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Raewyn’s Appletree cottage food gardens now have two raised beds with a new turned-down lip which I’m hoping will turn back snails – or trick the into hibernating when they reach the dry overhang. Then Raewyn can catch them there before they get into her gardens…slugs too with any luck!

The lips are made by bending over the square mesh ends then tying 6mm rod to the ends. A single length of chickenwire folded lengthwise over the framework and tucked into the underside of the turned over part was just wide enough. Plastering was a bit longer but first coat took 2 hours per bed, second coat about the same counting sponge finishing and cleanup. See photos…

Dandelion cappuccino break during filling with 1.7 cubic metres of compost each bed (3.8 metres long by 1.25, 36cm deep). The thrushes and blackbirds loved the worms from the homemade compost Raewyn added to the bought stuff…

 

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A ferrocement pergola with raised beds, benches and firewood storage

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A Home project… part of Appletree Haven’s intensive garden makeover. Finally it’s done! Many sidetracks and weather delays, and a few health delays too! This pergola is quite big – 8 metres by about 3.2 all up.

I continue to refine techniques, especially the making of ferro round section beams… also made a new bender, and got a bigger (125mm) angle grinder with ultrathin cutoff disks for quick cutting of rebar especially all the square mesh I’m using now for all but the fully rounded shapes. I used a spray pack with handpump for applying the iron sulphate solution for the rusty finish stain… way faster than brushing on! Here are some more photos of the final product, followed by some of the building thereof.20171007_123229

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Spiral herb garden progress

Well I’m finally back to ferrocement, in Gisborne now based at Dreamspace gallery and workshops, 61 Carnarvon St. Main focus in the ferro: ‘dreamhavens – cabins you only dreamed of’… see www.dreamhaven.nz  . (formerly hobbithaven – this was lost in cyberspace when my old email peter at eutopia disappeared with eutopia.co.nz – sigh!)

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The Tairawhiti Environment Centre here asked me to make a herb spiral for them, and a garden path edging. Here are some photos. The spiral was a challenge as it is a complex shape to bend steel to – a spiral of steel rebar becomes a giant spring which needs strong framework to hold it. I put it over a ‘christmas tree’ frame specially made for forming circles and sprirals. But next time I will try welded joins – tied ones slip and the spiral twists… So, welding learning curve next… Also note the colour – hybrid of some ‘marigold’ oxide in the final coat and a wash of iron sulphate (used in lawn care for moss control) within a day of last coat and carving of it. Also note the black non-woven weedmatting for protection while the plaster cures – we got a 4 metre-wide roll of the thick felty stuff from Permathene which works well as it is wettable, doesn’t flap about, and won’t tear or fray like woven does. Raewyn will help fill the spiral and plant it. We are donating it to the cause – good advert I hope!

The garden edging took a lot of bending over and joining up 6 metre lengths, but it is very strong. They plan to fill it with smooth pebbles.

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Raised beds at the barn

We’ve been gradually building these two beds, about 5 metres long by 1.3, by 300mm high. I invented a good way to install hoops removably – pillars made from a rolled up section of chicken wire, wrapped around a plastic disposable drink cup filled with a weak mix of plaster of paris and sand just to give the cup rigidity. The cup is dug out later when the ferro plaster has hardened. Then 32mm black polythene (‘Alkathene’) pipe is cut and placed in the holes. I have set some hoops in plaster of paris to try – but could just sit them in i guess… tests will go on. Plastic covers in winter will make beds into large cloches.

Puppies loved playing in in the bare soil as it gets wheelbarrowed in…

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raised beds at barn

From the mezzanine  window… Some soil up to final level, already planted out by Raewyn! Note how the far bed isn’t as darkly stained – the first was brushed over a bit more and maybe the solution of iron sulphate was a bit stronger?We were rushing away and i may have been inconsistent… Haste makes waste. However my sister prefers to paint the beds red to match her barn, so I’ve left it until a month or so when it will take acrylic paint. We painted some of our raised beds in Kaiwaka years ago and the paint is as good as new still…

Overall, the work of making these permanent beds was not too much at all. Only one coat on these beds, and one strip of chicken wire, folded once lengthwise and rolled over at the top by about 120 mm.

You just have to plod and do it… Then it’s there for good, as a garden bed should be – long after we are gone!