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No watering EarthBeds ------- Can this be called Permaculture?

Coralee Palmer
Posts: 73
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We have a concept to make Gardens for Sustainable Living based on permaculture principles. Our design and plan used the least amount of effort to maintain the garden, however it does require some DIY work to build. This is one of first designs. Opinions?

The concept behind an EarthBed is to make a raised bed, outline the bed and dig the width and length of the bed between 5 to 11 inches deep. We dug ours 11 inches deep.

Line the bed with 6 mil plastic liner to make your water pan.
Fill the water pan with gravel.

Cover with a cloche. A cloche is a mini Greenhouse that allows planting early and harvesting late. An OSU study showed that water usage is a lot less with a cloche. With a cloche, gardeners can save upwards of 60% on their total water application. They can water once in 7-14 day cycles rather than every 4 days and still get comparable yields.

Now add, rainwater harvesting into a black barrel placed higher than the EarthBeds

Attach the hose bid to a PVC piping with a float valve in the gravel part of the bed. When the EarthBed needs water, the float valve will open causing the rainwater that is stored in the black barrel to fill the EarthBed to the required limit. The reason for the black barrel is the earth is usually 50 - 58 degrees and the rainwater in the black barrel should be warmer and heats the feet of the plants.

We have built eight EarthBeds and collected the rainwater off from the building next door and are setting up our rainwater harvesting barrels

If you like our idea and have a Facebook account we need your support. We are trying to promote this type of permaculture.

Our plan is to build and demonstrate our Gardens for Sustainable Living concept. It is an easy care garden andwe want to encourage others to copy our design. Our gardens use Heirloom Seeds, EarthBarrels, EarthBeds and Aquaponics greenhouses that do not use fossil fuels.

Our first Garden for Sustainable Living is a three year arrangement with the city of Toledo, Oregon. It is located in a 7,500-square-foot abandoned community garden site.

It requires twenty 28 self watering EarthBarrels, 8 self watering EarthBeds, and a 20 X 20 greenhouse with subterranean heating and a compost hot water system for Aquaponics.

Seeds of Change, a company selling heirloom seeds, is having a contest and we have submitted our garden.

Only Facebook accounts are allowed to vote on the gardens. If we receive enough votes to be in the top 50, our plan goes to the judges voting round. There will 16 winners out of the 50. The winners will receive a grant for at least $10,000.

We will use the grant money do a second demonstration garden. We will build a web site with free plans and free videos of how to build a sustainable garden for all and we will acquire a mobile pizza oven. Our mobile pizza oven will be serving fresh pizza with vegetables picked directly from our garden to the community to promote permaculture. If we lose, our process will take a lot longer.

Everybody that supports us, and we win this contest, will get a private pizza party for their friends and themselves.

The pizza will be baked in a wood fired oven at our Toledo Garden for Sustainable Living. The pizza will be made with heirloom vegetables that you and your friends pick.

To the people who vote EVERY DAY until May 17 and we win. (It will be the honor system)

We will send free DVDs of how to build:

1. EarthBarrels
2. EarthBeds
3. Compost hot water System
4. Underground Heat Storage System
5. Aquaponics

And if you are in the neighborhood, a free private pizza party for just you and your invited friends at the garden.

If you think our plan has merit, please vote for our plan.

Our plan was placed on Seed of Change Facebook page April 22, 2013 at 12 pm EDT.

Each Facebook account can vote once a day until May 17, 2013. We need people who will vote EVERY DAY. We are competing with over 700+ school gardens!!

Go to: http://www.facebook.com/seedsofchange

Click on the picture of - hands holding the dirt with the little plant- and the words of -,Share the Good - under the picture.

Select the -Liken- button

Enter the zip code of the Garden for Sustainable Living in Toledo Oregon = 97391 and then vote EVERY DAY.

Thanks for your consideration.

Ryan Barrett
Posts: 143
bike solar tiny house transportation woodworking
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It's moving in that direction, but I'd say it needs the elimination of a lot of things.

Seems like a lot of potential failure points to call it permanent. Looks like a lot of work if a bed springs a leak.

I think it would be a good upgrade to a traditional Raised bed/greenhouse for sure though. So please don't take my comments the wrong way, I do like the design.

Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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We use wicking beds, which are basically the same thing, though a bit simpler:


I use old billboards as the liner, the 6 mil plastic is too thin and will leak.
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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A lot depends on climate, too. Here in high altitude colorado, I have to open up my tunnel covered beds every day by about 10 am or they turn into a sauna--the sun is just too intense here to have closed beds. So the covers don't keep the beds from drying out, at least not in my experience. When I lived in Maine, I could leave the beds covered, but they still needed ventilation on sunny days, so they still tend to dry out, just not as much as here.

I do have a few "earth boxes" I use for tomatoes, but they still have to be filled several times a week. We don't get much rain here --I think we might have gotten 1/4 inch or so in April--and it is illegal to harvest rain into barrels here. I do hope to set up a rain garden to soak rain directly into garden beds, when I get the time to do it.
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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