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Tim Burrows
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Hey Permies! I am trying to invent the best possible PORTABLE raised garden bed system. Here is what I have so far.....

I want to combine the concepts of the garden barrel project (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1C9zP5uJrE) but without the worm tube.

I want to use IBC totes (intermediate bulk shipping containers) which are food grade plastic.

I also want to include a clay chimney pipe to act as an olla. I will have to modify it to hold water but I believe it will work well. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkNxACJ9vPI)

The clay can be filled and slowly saturate all of the plants. In the case of heavy rain, you can recollect the water that flows through so you don't lose nutrients. They are stackable and you can plant a dwarf fruit tree in the top. I got these containers used for around 25 dollars each delivered. New they are 250, used they are usually 50-100.
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wayne fajkus
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If you are looking for Input I have some ideas.

One is use the clay pipe as the planter rather than water storage. I see advantages such as easier to swap out dirt, or to remove and replace as needed. You would only l disturb that one planting bed instead of 2-4 that may fit in there.

This would allow minnows into the tote to eat mosquito larva.

Minnows would also add nutrients.

Clever idea whichever direction you go!
 
wayne fajkus
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Just yesterday I was thinking about straw bales in my minnow tank and planting on the bales. The clay pipe seems more controllable.
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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What is the reason for a portable garden bed? Are you renting?
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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I find the prices of terra cotta to be prohibitive. I have had good luck with inverted buckets and screened in sections of 3" pvc the bottom third of a 55gal drum.
I slit the sides of the pipe sections and buckets to allow water to flow into the wicking soil I pack in on top,while keeping said soil out of the resoivars.
Slotting with a sawzall Is also easier than drilling holes.
One pipe is left long as a supply tube.
I have been considering scaling up to IBCs by using slitted 55gal drums as the
resoivar...
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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If you are looking for a very easy and cheap raised bed, people here make them out of old roofing sheets (corrugated iron), you get them
for free. Simply screw them on a piece of timber in each corner. This looks better than the plastic imo and costs next to nothing. You can easily take it apart if you
want to harvest difficult to get roots like burdock.
 
Tim Burrows
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Okay, so the reason I want to make it portable is for their resale value. Usually you cannot plant a fruit tree in a raised garden bed and if you did you wouldn't be taking it with you when you moved.
Now I know that the containers are ugly but they are also very strong and will last a long time. My goal is to plant perennials around the outside edge pockets and do annuals and a fruit tree on top, in this way you will hopefully not even see the ugly plastic container. Also after say 5 years of perennial growth your container should be able to be sold for much more then you paid for it, plus it fed you for 5 years! This is not Aquaponics so there is no fish. The clay tubes are like 13 dollars each unless you go with bigger sizes and you can probably find them used from some place. They will slowly wick water into the soil.

Also when 2 are stacked onto one another they make a 7 or 8 foot tower which you then could attach a fence too and make it like a corner post. The same idea could be applied to an overhead trellis. Imagine planting on the walls and ceiling instead of the ground like a normal raised bed. This way you can still have a hot tub, bbq, picnic table or whatever you like.
 
wayne fajkus
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I get it. Looks like You have holes in the side which will be a wall garden.

I think the whole idea has merit. For me, using your idea for my setup, would be the reverse. Put the pipe in my stock tank with minnows and plant in the pot. Just because of what I have to start with.

Heck, your way could have lots of uses. Integrated into a chicken run and one side could provide feed for them and the other three sides for you. Same for sheep.
 
John Saltveit
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One problem with the idea that you're going to get fruit for five years and then sell it, is that you're not going to get much fruit for the first five years. Dwarf trees will bear sooner, but probably not for 2 years. Full fruiting won't happen for the first five years, then you'd sell it. For a semi-dwarf, you'd just start to taste a few fruit and then you'd sell it. I love the innovation and recycling aspects of your project. I think there's a lot of potential there. I just wanted to warn about one aspect that might not be as "fruitful" as it might look.
John S
PDX OR
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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You have a lot of height to deal with for the olla--the bottom may get too wet and the top too dry. Following an herb spiral planting guide may help, but it may need some other tweaking as well.

If you can get the clay flue liners that cheap, great. Otherwise you can do a wicking bed in the same container, using the lid cutout as the bottom divider.

Tree roots will stress your container (part of the reason pots have sloped sides). I have see trees split concrete planters (not ice, the root ball growth itself). You can deal with that if you use the right soil mix that won't compact.

Something like a mel's mix with a lot of vermiculite will help with the compaction and water holding problems, plus weight because you will be pushing the capacity of an IBC.
 
Jeremiah Robinson
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Location: Madison, WI
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I really like your thinking. I sometimes wish I'd made my aquaponics "portable" or at least somewhat, rather than burying it in the ground
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I see some potential in the idea. I wonder about the idea of selling such a large "planter". Any research to suggest that there is a market for the product?

In terms of keeping it around for my use, it would depend very much on circumstances. Right now I am getting very much into the idea of using pallets to make planting beds out of compost piles. Part of this is because where I live, our soil is nothing but sand. The single most successful element of my gardens right now is the squash plants that volunteered in my compost pile, which pile is contained in a few pallets.

I could see, were I in a more urban, or just a smaller, setting, some real benefit in using IBC tote planters on dollies to let me move them around if needed.
 
Tim Burrows
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I guess my biggest concern is keeping all the perennials alive through winter and the fruit tree. I was thinking just wrap it in burlap....
 
Jeremiah Robinson
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Location: Madison, WI
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Hey Tim,

If that's your concern you should check out my stuff online. Link in my signature. There are a lot of ways. To do it right though you need to understand the theories behind heat transfer. Lots of that on my blog.
 
Tim Burrows
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I set the first cube up as a demonstration garden in my local community garden. It contains garlic chives, chives, spearmint, peppermint, strawberries, blueberries and some annuals. Compost tea can be collected from the ball valve on the bottom and reintroduce it into the garden.
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William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Wow, that looks great! What did you do to make the chimney pipe hold water?
 
Tim Burrows
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So I just used silicone on porcine tile. I delicately placed them into the container and so far they are holding. I will stop filling them when winter rolls in to prevent them breaking from ice. They are 2 feet in length so the pipe doesn't reach the bottom but I assume the bottom will be more wet anyways.....
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Tim Burrows
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Hey Permies, I made a video for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZegy_ugViw
 
Tim Burrows
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapQwhyQVqQ

Hey Permies, I made an update video!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Looks like nice progress and learning experience...thanks for sharing
I've embedded your videos here.......


 
Tim Burrows
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Matthew Mitchell
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I recently had this same idea. Good execution! I love the idea of putting Olla's into it, nicely done with using the flue pieces.
Any update on how it looks now?
 
Tim Burrows
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Here is a current video for you! Just posted it to youtube.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDlOURBEtUk&feature=youtu.be

So this is just good top soil and wood chips, no fertiliser or added compost. All organic. I planted it very late in the season and I was impressed with the results. Next year I hope to go into production of these growing a semi dwarf fruit tree and it's "plant family". In this way I can have a transportable food forest for sale.
I also thought stacking them double high and attaching an 8 foot tall trellis/fence. Then the cubes become the fenceposts and their weight secures the trellis/fence for vines to crawl across, expanding the square footage of the cubes even further.
 
Forget this weirdo. You guys wanna see something really neat? I just have to take off my shoe .... (hint: it's a tiny ad)
2017 Homesteaders PDC (permaculture design course) & ATC (appropriate technology course) in Montana
https://permies.com/wiki/61764/Homesteaders-PDC-permaculture-design-ATC
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