I'm thinking about building earth bag raised beds with a bentonite liner inside for a wicking bed. I know they will very slowly leak, but I'm not worried about that. Will they hold up well enough? Or do you think they will just turn into a muddy mess? The earth bags would be on a gravel foundation and be lime plastered outside every year. I'm in a dry climate.
I'd just rather not put a sheet of plastic in the ground that will eventually get a hole in it.
Also, what about adding hardware cloth to the above to keep critters from tunneling in?
I haven't tried this but I use bentonite in my work frequently.
Bentonite swells with hydration to a crazy degree. I think it could easily swell into the sand/gravel of the wicking bed over time. I would put sheet plastic over the bentonite. It doesn't have to be water tight, just continuous enough to prevent wholesale swelling of the bentonite. Somewhat similar to a geosynthetic clay liner (bentonite perforated plastic quilt)
I use chicken wire under the barrier to keep out gophers as you suggest. It has worked so far. Though I don't know if any have tried to burrow through.
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