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I need ideas

 
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Ok, with all of the hoolla boo about how things are in short supply due to the pandemic, and prices of lumber going up, I need ideas on what to use  for raised garden beds.

First of all, I do not have a truck at this time, or I would have hubby going and getting pallets; so that option is out.

We CAN, however, pick up things that are like crates, etc.

I would need it to be at least 12 inches tall; 2 or 3 feet wide, and 3 to 6 feet long, or longer up to 10 feet. I am also looking for something, or somethings, that would normally be discarded that I can re-use. If I have to put, like say 3 together to get the width and 4, 5, 6, etc. to get the length, that would be fine. Free, of course, scores extra points, or very little cash paid out scores a very close second.  

What have you used to create garden beds that  would match the criteria above?

Besides Craigslist, and Freecycle, and Marketplace, anyone have suggestions for other lists, etc. that  would help?

Remember, I do not have a truck at this time, or I would have hubby going and getting pallets; so that option is out.

We live in Dallas, so  if anyone here in the DFW area has resources they can share, let me know!
 
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Some folks don't like concrete but here is an idea for you.  
 
pollinator
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I'm having trouble thinking of things to pull from the waste stream. Maybe some old sheets of corrugated metal or roofing could be strapped to the top of a car. Here is a good thread for that hauling long awkward stuff
The metal could be cut into strips of desired height. I'm thinking posts along the outside and just using the pressure from the soil to hold them up.

Do you have any rocks? Or bricks?

Maybe milk crates could be used by putting enough rocks to weigh them down and hold back the soil.

Do you have anything to build hugelkultur beds? There would be no need to build walls. If your neighbors would not like the aesthetic, they could built small and added to over a couple seasons.

I'll try to think of more ideas
 
Robert Ray
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Gabion beds?  
 
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Yard cart and shovels and loppers.

You can build raised beds with the dirt in your own yard ALWAYS.

You need a way to move that around.(YARD CART)

Loppers allow you to prune for various reasons and you can move those branches around by hand easily.

Yard Cart

Shovels

Loppers

You never have to leave home except to poach legume tree seeds and shrub seeds from parks and around the fishing lakes.....


I would focus on getting a yard cart so you can move soils.

or make one but it's worth the money to buy one.

Save making one until you have a bigass pole barn and fab equipment.





 
pollinator
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If you have small/medium trees that need thinning, hugel-style raised beds are simple to build.
logbed.jpg
[Thumbnail for logbed.jpg]
 
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Hi, You might be able to have dump truck companies drop fill dirt on your land for free. Then just top it off with good soil. or maybe see if you can prevail on the good will of a neighbor, or church member, with a truck to help pick up wood palettes or whatever. I usually invite the neighbors family over for dinner, even if he can't help it makes for better neighbors.
 
Kim Huse
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Ok, I need to clarify a few things:

I live IN the city of Dallas, on the corner of Tacoma street and Cummings street. Across from the  Cummings Community  Center. Look it up on Google.

Lets say I am going for as much of a homesteading vibe as I can  right now, where I am.

I also use a powerchair to get around in; not that it makes any real difference, except that  it keeps on RAINING here and  we need things to dry out right now.

I don't have room for hugelkuluter ( wish I did)

I only have the trees in my yard; 3 of which need to come down due to disease.  I do have some smaller trees along the back, but would like to keep those for a bit longer until I can get at least  6 foot fences up in back, the fences are only 4 foot now; the trees in back are higher than that.

I have a yard kart and loppers and shovels; but limited resources, I can't  dig up too much of the back yard, because of the huge old pecan tree that will have massive roots to  get involved with.  Its one of the trees that needs to come down, and its roots are invading our foundation. So when I say I need above ground beds,  I need above ground beds. I am looking for material suggestions from the recycling stream instead of wood.

The metal siding/strips is a good idea. I also like the wire and rock idea, there again, need a truck for wire and rock hauling. I wish I knew where I could get free bricks; that  would work out quite nicely. And  here, you have to watch what you pick up off the side of the street; there are pickers who go round regularly , picking up old appliances, and a LOT of lawn services go around and pick up  bags of leaves and anything  plant related to take to the cities sites for recycling plant matter into compost and mulch because they get paid so much per pound to bring it in.  

I have seen the videos on the concrete planters; ty for the link, but its one I have already watched;  I have been busy scouring  YT and the internet sources for ideas, too. I would use concrete blocks, but a few months ago, someone came in, over our locked fence gate, and took off with 4 we had in the back yard. They were part of a step we had set up.  I need something no one is going to take a wild hair to cart off just because they freaking can.

I have asked for free planters on various lists, and no one responded.

I peruse Craigslist, looking for anything I can turn into a planter that will be fairly permanent. I do have felt growing bags, several Rubbermaid type totes, and am reusing  the woven dog food bags, plus  the bags the soil I do buy comes in, and construction trash bags. These do, however, break down over time. I am also taking  chance that the bag and plant and all will disappear from the back yard.

SO I am looking for out of the box thinking that supersedes what I am doing here that I have not considered, and still looks  fine and won't get me cited by the city as being unsightly or code violating.

 
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Ask freecycle for cat litter buckets?
Drive pegs/posts a few feet apart and weave a bed? With unwanted hoses or pex pipe or rope? Or grapevines, pruned limbs, bamboo etc?
 
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Go to doughnut shops and bakeries. They have 5 gallon, food grade buckets they throw away by the dozen.
You can move those around by yourself. You can decide to rearrange them say, for companion planting proximity. If you decide one day to stop planting they are easily repurposed. They make great worm bins, too.
They may not be optimum for your situation, but it will work well!
 
Michael Dotson
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Kim Huse wrote:there are pickers who go round regularly , picking up old appliances


I used to drive around Navy housing the night before trash pickup and grab old TV's. 9 times out of ten it was a simple fix. I'd get them up and running, give it a 6 month guarentee and sell it to young, military families for $20. If it was the tenth time I'd strip the parts out of it for the next repair. I had quite the little business going.

As for your theft problem, get a sign that says 'Smile! You're on video camera'. You can even get a fake camera from office depot.
 
pollinator
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Not free, but fairly cheap and easy and fits in the trunk. 1/4 hardware cloth, tied into a circle. You can do 12 or 18 inch tall as is, but you probably need a few posts to support 2 or 3 foot tall. A 25 foot roll make two approx 4 foot circles.
 
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R Scott wrote:Not free, but fairly cheap and easy and fits in the trunk. 1/4 hardware cloth, tied into a circle. You can do 12 or 18 inch tall as is, but you probably need a few posts to support 2 or 3 foot tall. A 25 foot roll make two approx 4 foot circles.

The OP mentioned it's really wet right now, but if it's normally dry during the growing season, I'd want to line that circle with something that would help decrease evaporation.

I've use many recycled plastic barrels, cut in half, with drainage holes drilled about 2" up from the bottom so there's a water reservoir there. You only get about 3 square feet of planting room for each half, but the half on my front porch currently has 3 lettuce plants, two Hong Vit, 2 Kale, ~4 walking onion, and a yellow cherry tomato and it looks lovely. I will need to successionally plant it - the Hong vit is starting to flower and once I use the seed pods in a stir fry, I'll cut it off and stick something else in that spot unless the kale is so big at that point that I let it be big.

If you can borrow a ladder to strap to the roof of your car, you should be able to carry 2-3 barrels up there if you can find a source of food grade ones - I'm told micro-breweries are a good option.
 
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I live in a city and grow in barrels, raised pallet beds and buckets.
The buckets can be filled with soil and then used too outline a bed, which is in turn filled with soil.

I'm trying potatoes in carboard boxes this year and then there is something I'm currently calling a "growth ring"
Growth-ring.jpg
Wire fencing ziptied to a bike rim.The spokes cut out,
Wire fencing ziptied to a bike rim. I cut out the spokes. Also works with the much cheaper chickenwire, doesn't look as nice. To use, laydown some cardboard, place the ring on top, add compost, plant. ,
 
Jay Angler
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William Bronson wrote:I'm trying potatoes in carboard boxes this year and then there is something I'm currently calling a "growth ring"

Very nice, William. Your comfrey flowers are pink, but mine are purple - are yours bee magnets too?

Here's a picture of my front porch barrel. It is pushing at least 35 years old, as my father gave it to me about 33 years ago. I often use bike rims to support the top edge of modern barrels as they're more prone to deforming into ellipses.

Even on a very small scale, planting a variety of plants with different needs and lifespans can add a lot of nutritian to our diets, although small raised beds benefit from additions of compost.
Front-porch-mini-garden.JPG
[Thumbnail for Front-porch-mini-garden.JPG]
 
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Last year, someone mentioned that they grow potatoes in a cardboard box.  At the end of the season when they are ready to harvest the potatoes they pick up the box, the potatoes fall out the bottom of the box and the potatoes can easily be picked up.
 
Justin Gerardot
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William Bronson wrote:
I'm trying potatoes in carboard boxes this year and then there is something I'm currently calling a "growth ring"



William, the growth ring looks great. Is the cage to keep critters out or keep that nice comfrey contained? 😃 also, it looks like that may be fine enough mesh to be used as a compost container, perhaps as a part of a keyhole bed
 
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Jay Angler wrote:If you can borrow a ladder to strap to the roof of your car, you should be able to carry 2-3 barrels up there if you can find a source of food grade ones - I'm told micro-breweries are a good option.


+1. This deserves extra emphasis. ANY vehicle can be turned into a mini-truck. You would not believe the stuff I hauled on top of my old Mazda sedans with the aid of a few decent ratchet straps.
 
pollinator
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We regularly move 2x4s in a Subaru wagon. Eight foot lengths fit easily either sitting on top of the back seats or with them folded down. Then in between the front seats, poking towards the dash.

My first vehicle was an '83 corolla. I scavenged lots of rock and bricks in that thing for raised beds. A roll of wire would fit fine across the back seat.

My point is, you can move a lot of stuff in a car, not even using the roof.

I would check dumpsters around construction sites. There's always good lumber being thrown away.

Any vacant lots where broken up concrete has been dumped?

I like the idea of wattle sides like T Melville suggested. Even just using a few layers of cardboard held up with posts would probably work okay. You could weave something with strips of plastic bottles
https://www.instructables.com/Plastic-Bottle-Rope/

I also like William Bronson's idea to make the walls of the bed out of buckets filled with soil. I've seen fences made that way with plastic barrels and rocks. Bulk food stores and ubrews are another place that often throw away a lot of buckets.

 
Jan White
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I can't find a link right now, but you can snip a tin can up one side so you can unroll it and flatten it. Then you crimp the edges of multiple cans together to make metal sheets. Time intensive, but potentially useful for you.

Ah! Found a video

 
pollinator
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If there is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore near you I hear lumber prices are not as inflated in those upcycling stores. Maybe they deliver.
 
William Bronson
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Justin Gerardot wrote:
William, the growth ring looks great. Is the cage to keep critters out or keep that nice comfrey contained? 😃 also, it looks like that may be fine enough mesh to be used as a compost container, perhaps as a part of a keyhole bed



In the beginning it was the circle of metal fencing with a bike rim at each end and was destined to be a compost trommel.
Moms yard has squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, and deer,most unprotected plantings are doomed.
When I needed more protected planting space at my moms house, I ended up upcycling(side cycling?) my unfinished trommel.

They only need one rim for stability, but I use another rim to make a lid.

The bees do love the comfrey, and I love the bees!
The growth ring was just perched there to take photos.
I'm into the idea of growing gardeners , so a bed I can just plop down and fill is really appealing.
I hope to expand on this idea, build them with wood and use them to hide blue barrels, build them with wood on the outside and wire on the inside for a nice looking air pruning container, make domes,etc.
Next fall I will be trying these covered in plastic for  season extension, winter sowing, and winter sowing in place.
 
Kim Huse
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Jay Angler wrote:

R Scott wrote:Not free, but fairly cheap and easy and fits in the trunk. 1/4 hardware cloth, tied into a circle.

That is a good idea, too; and its normally not this wet here in Texas ; we have had a lot more than usual rain; some areas are starting to flood that  don't; like  5 acres of land thats flat, and not near any rivers, creeks or streams; its so waterlogged that he water has no where to go

 
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If you have a store nearby that provides refills for washing up liquid and laundry liquid etc. These come in large thick walled polythene bottles that don't seem to be refilled at the moment, so are a bit of a waste stream.  I've got a few that I haven't thrown away because they are too good, but haven't found a use for yet.  Pity I'm the other side of the Atlantic!  As long as the contents were eco friendly they should be as good as any other plastic for growing in, and will last a few years outside.
The other suggestion that may be easier to get hold of is office water bottle containers.  These are usually pretty big, and make excellent cloches in less windy areas, used the other way up they could be planters.
 
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If you want to make raised beds & dont mind taking a step down to reach them & don't mind doing some digging, then huggeling can bring your garden produce within easy reach.  I also like the one pic'ed using fencing & rocks, or straw for potatoes. Good luck with it all, neighbours too. Nick
 
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Douglas Alpenstock
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Tires are a question mark. Some think they're brilliant and others worry about offgassing and leaching. Maybe it depends on the age and weathering. I'm not familiar with the hard science on this, or indeed if any has been done. I'm a big fan of recycling, but personally I would tend to look at other options for food production.
 
Kim Huse
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You can try tire gardening:

Thats a good suggestion, just like all the others, however, my parents tried this one year, and we had copperheads and black snakes that were hunting the copperheads all over the garden that year, the tires were acting as heat sinks during the day.  So, thats a past experience I am not wishing to replicate.

Now, where there is not an issue like this, I would definitely consider it.
 
Nick Dimitri
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Hear here!  After all, isn't this Permies site about Permanent Agriculture, which implies sustainable?  Plus....

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Tires are a question mark. Some think they're brilliant and others worry about offgassing and leaching. Maybe it depends on the age and weathering. I'm not familiar with the hard science on this, or indeed if any has been done. I'm a big fan of recycling, but personally I would tend to look at other options for food production.

  ....I'm positive that tires are no longer natural rubber, but likely a molecular analog of rubber made from, likely, petroleum itself, which is endocrine disrupting and burdens the liver, including the one who lives.
 
Robert Ray
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Something you might look at is "Gardening with Leon" on youtube. Self watering tubs/containers. I am a fan of self watering beds and though on a smaller scale the few tubs I tried worked well for me last year.
 
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Kim Huse wrote:First of all, I do not have a truck at this time, or I would have hubby going and getting pallets; so that option is out.



Not so fast, Kim! I bought a very reasonably priced pallet buster and now break up pallets wherever I find them and transport them in my Hyundai Elantra! It's super easy. If you want to see how it works, here's a video I made of me taking apart a pallet and building a worm box with it:
Building a Worm Bin with Pallets


This product is sold under many names, and the names seem to change all the time. But the product works and, I believe, is made by the same manufacturer under different names. Lord knows, they probably ripped it off from some poor guy who invented it: Here is that listing.

Cheers!
 
Karl Treen
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Another suggestion is to simply build lasagna beds instead of traditional "raised beds". That's what I've done numerous times. You can add a border later, as you accumulate rocks and things.



I also use landscape blocks as borders. I transport them, 20 or so at a time, in my Hyundai Elantra.



Have fun!
 
Kim Huse
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Karl Treen wrote:

Kim Huse wrote:First of all, I do not have a truck at this time, or I would have hubby going and getting pallets; so that option is out.



Not so fast, Kim! I bought a very reasonably priced pallet buster and now break up pallets wherever I find them and transport them in my Hyundai Elantra!

WOW! Ok, this is on my list now to get soon! Thank you!

 
James MacKenzie
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fair -  the tires may/may not be dangerous - i  use them anyway - no foul so far.. the insides seem to be the exact same as when i bought them.. but they are indeed synthetic only for spuds now - made raised beds with wood from local sawmill - safe and cheap

it's funny because i wouldn't use pallet wood because of possible treatment.. but am using tires... i suppose we DO "pick our poison" ;-)

i have used 5 gal food grade before - hard to get where i live... truthfully that would the safest re-use option

also trolling your neighbourhood during spring cleaning can yield older pots that don't "look good" anymore - best of luck!
 
Robert Ray
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The re-use of pallets for all kinds of shipments shouldn't be discounted. We had an employee who picked up a pallet and the skin on the inside of her forearm broke out in blisters. We have no idea what was on the pallet previously and it makes me cautious on the re-use of some pallets.
 
Jay Angler
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Robert Ray wrote:The re-use of pallets for all kinds of shipments shouldn't be discounted. We had an employee who picked up a pallet and the skin on the inside of her forearm broke out in blisters. We have no idea what was on the pallet previously and it makes me cautious on the re-use of some pallets.

Here in Canada, the pallets have certain labels stamped on them. HT stands for "heat treated" and are the only ones I would reuse. The possibility of something toxic having been spilled on them unintentionally hadn't occurred to me, although I admit if I'm looking for raw material, I would automatically avoid any that looked suspicious. There are so many things to balance - new material means that a living tree got cut down - used material makes one worry what it might have been used for. Healthy soil with plenty of helpful microbes is one line of defense, as is adding home-made biochar to provide homes for all those helpful microbes to live in and sequester anything nasty in the neighborhood. There could easily be contaminants in your soil depending on its history, so no matter what, we need to build healthy soil and watch for bad signs and be prepared to be flexible.
 
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hi, sorry to hear that you've been experiencing difficulty with finding material for a raised bed
i grow tulip poplar bark at my wooded homestead farm, it is a type of tree bark that peels easily from the tree and is useful for all sorts of things
it'd make great mulch for the raised bed
you could use that to make a type of rasied bed that is known in permaculture as a hugelkulture mound
rather than having a wooden frame of prepared (shaped) lumber, you just gather what natural material you have. here are ideas of material for the hugelkulture mound: straw, leaves and soil. that mixed with tulip poplar bark from me would be very good.
i live in virginia but i could ship about 1lb of tulip poplar bark to you
the mulch would be ready in about one day and it would get to you by shipping in about a week
today, please communicate with me by email to let me know if you can afford $25 for the tulip poplar bark and where i should ship it to
thank you,
kristen
 
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Calhoun County, West Virginia
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Weave your Raised Bed Frames.

I dont know what the tree trimming situation is in Dallas but if you could get on a campaign to take all available tree trimmings from people who curbside them, you could weave nice organic looking raised beds with say 4 inch diameter pieces axe trimmed (and charred) and malleted vertically into the ground, then 3 inch diameter lengths very long pieces for the sides, then finish with a weave of 1 to 1/2 inch diameter vertical short pieces to bring it all together.  I think it would look very organic and be fairly healthy and use up tree trim parts. Perhaps your county has a free spot for compost and other things that result from county maintenance, and you could try them. Or craigslist a win-win situation "I will haul away your bails of twigs and cut wood, etc".

An alternative somewhat sketchy solution would be to go to your local Walmart produce departments--they throw away about 1/2 to a ton of carboard every day, it gets mashed, bailed and hauled away, but you might ask for some empty cardboard apple boxes which are pretty tough if you are not afraid of incidental pesticide residue. You could even double them up lid and top which fit into each other, for double strength.

Id go with the first idea, but the 2nd one would be a "survival mode" solution and sometimes we're in that mode aren't we?

Best, M
 
Simon Torsten
Posts: 99
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I got a notification via email, not sure why, but my input was requested.

(I'm replying to ll the permies stuff lost track)

Dallas probably does have a crunch in materiaks.

You may not have a lot of foliage you can use to make raised beds.

In the old wealth parts of town they do have a lot of log-like stuff they have to have removed.

Get in touch with tree services and let them dump branches on your property.

Then you can cut the smaller branches off and foliage and use them for fill. Use the trunk limbs as the "railroad ties" in your Home Deopot style. raised beds.

Or make a swale and top the whole structure with THAT soil....

 
Always look on the bright side of life. At least this ad is really tiny:
Work Trade for the 2023 Garden Master Course
https://permies.com/wiki/190487/permaculture-projects/Work-Trade-Garden-Master
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