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Marty Mitchell

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since Dec 08, 2013
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Virginia Beach, VA
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Recent posts by Marty Mitchell

Here is a link to "Birdies" U.S. products website. A small amount of options compaired to what they offer in AUS but hey... it is a start.
The three color coating options are Merino (White), Mist Green, and Slate Grey.

Here is a link to their website in Australia....

I currently have some old homemade 2' tall wicking beds that I made and the soil in those things is rocking now after only a few years. What is cool about having a super tall bed that's lip sits about 3' high off of the ground is that you can let shorter vining plants just fall naturally over the sides without having to do the extra work of adding a trellis and such. If you have the beds on a hard paver patio, concrete slab, or well mulched pathway... you can let longer vining plants grow to the ground and keep going. Freeing up some taller plants in the middle of the bed (If wished).

The beds themselves get insanely heavy though as the soil inside breaks down and starts holding tons of water like a forest floor. I am planting them out with perennials now and likely will never have to water them again. I get 45 inches of rain here every year though.  

I can bet that the same thing would happen with these "Birdies Raised Beds"!!!

1 month ago
I was wrong about the name!!!

I just realized that the mfr. that makes the raised beds from the "Epic Gardening" website is actually "Birdies".

Birdies is the #1 mfr. of raised garden beds in Australia and is using the Epic Gardening website to test the waters and see if there is a market for them here.

In the video below you can get a better look at the quality of the beds and how they have been standing up to the test of time with the gardener in the video. I see that he also has problems with what looks like Bermuda Grass like I did @ my last home.

The complete lack of cracks in the design of these particular beds leaves no open spaces for Rhizomes to slip up through and climb their way up through the bed. I kept having a major issue with that on my old raised beds. Which required me to dig down into the beds to pull/harvest out the rhizomes. Then dig up the old pathway to get those out/away from the beds. Then pull up the landscaping timbers and re-dig them deeper into the ground. Which, ended up not helping. lol

2 months ago

Orin Raichart wrote:Mr Mitchell,

sorry you failed in your first attempt at hugelkultur.

at permies, we are a group that sort of  focuses on asking what caused us to fail.

Why did you allow bermuda grass to overgrow your hugelkultur bed?
How did you allow bermuda grass to overgrow your hugelkultur bed?

How did this overgrowth actually cause it to fall?

Please post pictures of your fallen hugelkultur bed so we can diagnose your failed building technique.

Are those corrugated galvanized pipes???  Please google how handlers of galvanized pipe must wear gloves or they get galvanized poisoning....please also see the precautions welders of galvanized pipe must take. Look up the MSDS on galvanized you really want to grow your food in this???

I tore down my hugelkultur bed a long while ago. Sold that home almost 2yrs ago actually. Had to clean up the yard for the sale.

I am currently on the hunt for a new home once my wife and I are finished stashing away enoug cash in savings. We want a home with a much larger lot next time. On a plus note the home sold in just 3 days with 3 offers all over asking price!!! I edible landscaped that home and others seemed to love it.

I live in suburbia. My yard was a mixed cool/warm season grasses with a heavy dose of bermuda. That is a species of grass that spreads via risomes that can cover large distances under ground befor popping back up somewhere new. Even my raised beds out in the garden had bermuda travel under landscape timbers that were 4" buried... under a 1ft walking path... and then up the 1ft of soil to the top of the beds to begin the envasion. I was able to keep that at bay (with a LOT of work). However, after just 1.5 years the beds were eaten alive with termites. Which are also prevalent in my area. Bermuda grass is weak against cold, and shade... neither of which the hugle bed offered. It had extra sun esposure due to shape and was extra warm due to orientation maximisation (For garden plants).

For answers to your questions about the metal used to mfr these beds... please watch the video I attached to the first post (On purpose for this very reason).

He answers some of the questions you asked @ about the 5min mark. I just went back and skimmed around in the video for you since you don't have the time.

You can also check out the link I attached in the first post. If you click on any of the variations of bed that they offer you will see that they are steel.... with a aluminum/zinc protective corrosion coating... that is then powder coated.

I have seen college studies that state things like heavy amounts of lead in soil does not accumulate in plants. It accumulates ON plants via splashing of the soil onto the plant during rain events. I have no concern of contaminants at this point.

Let me know if you have any more questions! I can find links for you if you wish.


2 months ago
I dipped my toe into the Hugelkultur realm about 5 years ago.

Although my planting was a great success for the first year or two my bed quickly became overwhelmed here on the Mid Atlantic with things like Bermuda Grass and such. Rendering it useless and causing it to fail.

I think I have finally found an alternative!

1. These beds are raised high enough to keep pests like possum, racoons, pet dogs, etc out of the beds.
2. They are also tall enough to both keep Bermuda Grass out AND also stack some seriouse wood scraps in there before adding a healthy layer of top soil.
3. They will last for decades.
4. They will save your back due to being so tall @ 30"
5. They will be easier to keep the fast growing grasses cut clean/neat around them... making them much more acceptable to your neighbors if you live in a suburban area like me.
6. You get all of the fertalizing/water holding capacities that come with Hugelkulture. As well as a no-till/no-dig garden bed. The soil will warm quicker and cool slower during the changing seasons.
7. Heck, you don't even have a need for composting anymore. Just bury your scraps directly into the garden soil like Ruth did!

I also already have large concrete paddio that would hold several of these beds. Which would require No weeding/cutting grass and would make great use of a wasted space. I would never be able to do hugel normally on just bare concrete.

What do you guys think??? Anyone have any experiences with them already???

2 months ago
The big ones in my area (Virginia 7b/8a)... the ones I see in 1 out of say 8 homes here in the suburbs... that are completely neglected and still produce are...


Just let them grow in their natural form in full Sun and they will be either a medium to large bush depending on type. They make 2 crops a year too!

The other big one would be mulberries. The black varieties have the most flavor. Just be sure to keep them away from where cars will be. Well actually, birds love them too. So a little further away than that. Dwarf everbearing seems like a good one to plant under a field of say pecan trees or some other large nut bearing tree. The berries will bring in the poop/fertilizer. Mulberries are immune to the juglone that black walnuts and their ilk produce.
3 months ago
I figured I should put my face up and took a selfie before taking the next harvest off of the plants.

Just topped her off with rainwater and fish feed to the automatic feeders.

Since the water has gotten so much cooler the fish have slowed way down on their feed rates. I now only have to add water and fish feed about once a month. Harvesting a little every two weeks or so.

I keep wondering how many plants you could clone in a system like this each year. If you were to give say 6" plant spacing... it would be a LOT of fig, lemon, mulberry, and goji berry plants (things that I have easily cloned so far).

Talk about a system that would easily pay for it'self!

6 months ago

Brian Rodgers wrote:DId you move from Alabama then? What was it like moving the cart? I'm getting my head around the idea of rolling it up on a truck. Well, then you have really tested the portability of your system. Good work, thanks for posting the updates.
Our system is the exact opposite then, being build of masonry, I hope it'll be here for generations.
Now all I have to do is get my adult children interested in keeping on with some of my "projects." Smiles

Yes. I am now living in Virginia Beach, VA. My system held up well.

The only trouble I had was getting it through the muddy yard after several days of hard rain. I ended up having to remove the gravel beds and set them to the side. When I first rolled off of the concrete slab I thought the wheels fell off. Nope, the system just sank into the ground that fast. All the way up to the frame(water removed). Just took the gravel beds off and she rolled just fine though.

I transported it in my 6x12 cargo trailer though. So there was a nice long ramp to roller her up onto.

I plan to go big/permanent one day as well! That is a dream of mine. I will hopefully be getting a home in a few years to where I can build a large greenhouse.

I plan to build something that will last long term also. Just build it once while I am young..ish and then be able to pass it on.

6 months ago

Brian Rodgers wrote:Lookin' great8
I am glad you have shared this here as well as BYAP. This is a very nice system setup And it is portable!

Thanks Brian! I am enjoying it a lot.

In the end... I am SOOOOOOO glad I made it portable! Since I had to move across country about 11mos after building it and all. lol

I learned that lesson on my first system. It was a major pain to tear down and move... mostly falling apart during the move. This one is tough.

There are literally only two things I would change

1. Is making it about 4" wider so I could keep the beds strait when turning it into a greenhouse. However, if I had done that... it would not have fit through the fence gate to get it into the back yard where it currently sits. No big gates for this yard.

2. Is using solid cast metal wheels. I am keeping it on bricks(with wood wedges to level it). However, the solid concrete deck I had it on originally was pretty darn level. The rubber membrane on the wheels settled out into flat spots after some time. Making it hard to move around. On another side note... the wheels I used work just fine. I just only use them during transport now.

6 months ago
Chemical makeup of scoria...

Most AP growers report less mineral deficiencies when using it long term.

6 months ago
I think I found the big thread I had in mind!

It is titled "Is red scoria safe as a growbed media?" In Australia they usually refer to red lava rock as scoria.

I don't have time to read through the article at this time.
6 months ago