Fig 1: A raised bed garden made out of wood-logs

The use of a permanent raised beds is a great way to reduce work when you start your season. It reduces erosion and allows better drainage, and enables people to participate in gardening who are not physically able to work a ground-level bed. It's usually used in combination with mulch. The raised bed can have a framework or not, depending on the needs.

  • Without a frame, it's more likely to erode unless plants are installed on the side of the bed with mulch. This allows more cultivation space and more productivity.
  • Framed beds are more stable but will entail substantial amount of labour and much expense, depending on the type of material chosen for construction. The frames often harbour perennial weeds and plant pests which are hard to remove
    • Keyhole gardens are a circular version of a framed raised bed. The charity 'Send a Cow' is promoting the creation of these in Africa.

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This is work in progress. I intend to document the building of squarefootgardening raised beds with bricks and the red brick-like things that are something in between bricks and tiles. Documentation will include price, time to build, cover ideas, and so on.

In time, this project might merge with Marcin and allies CEB machine, if the machine can be adapted to make brick-tile pieces quickly and inexpensively.

The final idea would be How many square meters of permanent raised beds can be built by a team of 2-3 people in a day? How permanent is it? What's the cost, effectiveness, sustainability, and of course usefulness of all that?

So far the cost, buying bricks in small quantities so probably more expensive, seems to be around 30 euros per square meter. Including cover, which means we should probably compare with greenhouses, not with raised beds, because this is a way to make mini-greenhouses.

Also, using this kind of structure means we could do other things:

  • experiment with ways to water the plants, such as a multimouth hose thingie.
  • grow mushrooms in the room below the raised bed.
  • add ways to make things more automatic if that's efficient, with wheels and things.
  • maybe even use the raised beds to grow fish in some of them, if wanted.
  • permanent raised beds mean you use your own soil, so this means we can use "bad" land.
  • if permanent raised beds are portable, with heavy machinery and with lots of care, or using lighter materials, then we could have an entire set of innovations.
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