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building raised beds with rocks  RSS feed

 
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I want to use the abundance of rocks on our property to build some raised beds. In the past I have had trouble with heavy rains washing the soil out before I could get anything established. I know I could line them with weed barrier or something but I was wondering what solutions you all may have come up with for this problem? particularly any solutions that don't involve purchasing anything
 
                    
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Maybe -- build your beds with the outline of rocks, and before dirt goes in, line the inside of the rock wall with some carbony stuff - handfuls of straw or dead weeds or the like, could even stuff it into the larger gaps between rocks.  It could probably work well enough until the roots of what you planted in there could better hold the dirt. 
 
gardener
Posts: 1352
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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When making my raised bed herb garden I used old hay and planted succulents in large cracks the succulents have taken over the rock sides and the herbs live happily in the beds.
No problem with washouts.
 
Posts: 196
Location: McIntosh, NM
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In my erosion prone areas, the plentiful rock here has been used to build terraces. Have trees, bushes and many plants on each terrace.
The terraces have stacked flat rock of varying sizes and the trees spaced for future growth. I set the trees down about six inches creating a catch basin (width varies for each tree) for each then filled each basin with leaves, hay left from the goats. Then mulched the rest of the terrace, working on building up the soil where it had just been rock before. Planted  edible annuals and perennials that the rabbits and quail don't care for.
    After 4 years the trees are doing well and the earthworms have moved in.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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i was wondering about using some poplar trees to frame in my raised beds..kinda hugel..sorta..eventually the aspens will rot..i can also use the bits of branches under the compost and manure in the beds..as they should rot pretty fast too..

i used to use all treated lumber for raised beds..but i know that isn't such a good idea with the chemicals in them..esp for food crops.

well it is a thought i'll be mulling over until Spring when action begins
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 196
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi Brenda,
    Popular is a light wood, but knowing that, there's no reason not use it. That's the nice thing about raised beds-you can frame them from so very many salvaged items or what is at hand-and they work!

You may even want to consider using edible fungi in your raised beds to help break down the bits of branches at its bottom level. That will speed the break down of the popular on the framing, but if you set things up right, it will be easy to replace them in time. That and you'll have something yummy to eat! )
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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In my backyard the beds are framed with whatever is available.  Floor tile, wall tile, bricks, scrap lumber, a telephone pole, some hardiboard, even a section done with wine bottles.  If there was a rock in this sand, I'd use it for sure.

Rocks act as a barrier keeping moisture in and weeds out. 
 
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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cob mortar between the rocks?

an idea from the land of adobe
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 196
Location: McIntosh, NM
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NM Grower,
    You can do that, but it's not needed. My beds framed in rock have been planted with various fruit trees and annually with a squash crop, and there is no cob or mortar inbetween the rocks. On the other hand, I stack fairly tight also.
    After soil has been built up in them and in the spot my first one is a sheeting area proves this to some degree, the rain water will either begin going around the beds or through and into it. Mine acts as a catch basin and catches most, but some is lost around the periphery. Am in the process of adding another row.
    Annually, I will layer leaves with hay on top of them over the growing area. Every couple/three years the top layer is a barn cleaning layer over the leaves. This not only cuts down on weeds(all to familiar with the saying 1000 weed seeds per sq. inch here in NM), but helps to act as a big sponge whether the moisture is dew or snow.
 
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