We recently completed the construction of two garden beds on a bush block surrounded by beautiful forest here in northern Tasmania. We have already shown you some photos from the initial stages of this project. However, as you will see below, much has happened since that time!
In this part of the world, if you want to eat what you grow then you need to protect your garden from other forest inhabitants. Possums, quolls, wallabies, pademelons and even feral deer live locally. That is why we built an enclosure to secure the garden beds.
The earlier photos we shared with you showed the excavation required to level this site to make sure we could build the garden beds properly. The photos below show what we did after that work was completed. For a start, all the posts were concreted into the ground. Yes, these beds are not going anywhere soon!
All the sleepers are treated with ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary). ACQ is a water-borne form of timber treatment that was developed as a safer alternative to the widely used CCA (Copper Chrome Arsenate) preservative. ACQ is also designed to be used as an insecticide and fungicide, protecting timber against fungi, borers and termites. This is an arsenic free treatment and can therefore be used safely in playgrounds and food-growing gardens.
The junction of the sleepers: H steel beam (left) and two C sections welded together (right)
A layer of gravel was added to the bottom of the beds for drainage, then a transition layer of geofabric textile put in to keep the the timber in better condition longer and to avoid weeds to come through. This fabric also helps to stop the soil from moving down into the gravel layer. Finally the beds were filled with a 50:50 mix of top soil and compost.
We used agricultural polypipes (agipipe) to link the steel posts of the garden enclosure. The small curve of these pipes helped to soften the project in the landscape. 20mm bird netting was fixed to the enclosure to complete the protection, with a layer of mesh along the bottom to stop smaller pests getting in. Two people are required to complete this task. Don't try to do it alone!
A smaller bed was added at one end of the enclosure. This bed was not as deep as the others (only one 200mm sleeper high) and will be used for growing beans, radish and similar smaller crops.
That's it! The first phase of the master plan is done. However, this site has loads more potential. See the original drawing below that we presented to the client to help them see what else they can achieve on their block.
BJ enjoying her new garden beds.