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Yes we have VERY strong winds which is why I wanted to build this wall in the first place. I have found if they are not properly compacted that they will hold water poorly, however if all the gaps are filled then I have been very impressed with how long the walls have stayed moist even with high winds and/or strong sun. I water from the top level only and it seems to saturate completely. Eventually a water tower will be constructed and it will be fed by gravity.
If the wooden surfaces dry out too quickly, you could try adding a non-toxic paint to slow evaporation - oiling with any sort of vegetable oil should work, but drying oils like linseed or poppyseed oils will eventually harden into a paint-like skin. You could extend them with a non-toxic mineral pigment such as chalk or iron ochre (red or yellow ochre): white (chalk) if you want to reflect more visible light to the plants, and red if you want to absorb it and convert it to heat. Black soot could also work, but is likely to make the paint remain tacky (as it would anyway, if you use a cooking oil that doesn't polymerize as easily).
But if you're watering the whole wall, I imagine the evaporation from each planter-tray is just keeping the soil relatively cool.
Is this fence also providing a windbreak for a conventional garden?
Great suggestions about keeping the moisture in the wall. So far the wall doesn't seem to have much trouble with drying out it holds a good amount of water for several days even in hot weather. I will definitely consider your suggestions if we find it is drying out too quickly. So the wall does function as a large wind break but it is a concrete barnyard on one side and a road on the other. The main reason I choose that location was because of the enormous barn right next to it. I want to rig it so that gravity will water the wall so maintenance is very low. Thanks for the comments!
interesting that you used cedar, i gather for the longevity? i guess i wouldnt think to use cedar specifically in gardens at all, because its so intense, so i am wondering why that was your choice.
is cedar an ok wood for using in gardens generally, or more because of the context you have going?
i suppose most other woods would get funky and break down much quicker, but i would think that was part of the long term effect, eventually it would rot down into a heap of good soil. planned obsolescence ?
Tim Burrows wrote:I decided to use very rotten cedar posts because they were abundantly available and I figured they would keep their sponge like properties for years to come. They are also very strait which allows me to fit many in beside each other. I am hoping since they are so rotten that they have lost any ability to affect the plant's growth. Fingers crossed!
ah that makes sense, youre probably right if they are already partly rotted they will be good for this purpose, instead of fresh cedar. even half rotten it will probably hold up longer than any other kind of wood.
My idea to contribute is that I bet it would work better as a retaining wall like on a tall terrace, or against a cliff, so it could be backfilled up to the wall on the back side and use the earth for temperature and moisture moderation. Perhaps a new way to plant out a cliff side or rock bluff? Does anybody here know of a better way to plant out the side of a cliff? Or would you consider this the ideal solution?
I'll be eager to see more updates on how this thing performs! The gravity feed water tower sounds interesting! How are you planning on harvesting the water and placing it up high in the tower?
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