GH bench construction

livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)December 27, 2013

Interested in various experiences with bench construction, not for supporting containers, but for filling with soil. I can use cedar lumber, but it will still rot in time, and will also hold lots of moisture that may grow molds, fungus etc. Has anyone used cement board with silicone sealed joints and holes drilled for drainage? I know a lot about building, but nought about GH's.

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When I was growing up in Indiana ('30s-'40s), my dad's commercial greenhouses (and all the greenhouses we ever visited) had pecky cypress benches. Porous, nothing infested it, cheap, and it lasted forever. Probably not available any more. Or expensive.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 10:11AM
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What's your thoughts on using a cut down 50 gal plastic barrel placed on a stand so it is at a easy access height? You could have it at about any depth you wish. Wouldn't rot, wouldn't be porous to harbor any molds, virus' or anything else. Maybe if you are a handyman can install some sort of plug and it could double as a big wash tub for washing flower pots.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 3:45PM
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sand_mueller(z 7a, oklahoma)

I use free shipping pallets for all my benches.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 12:31PM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

Pallets would be great for supporting containers, but I want to essentially make rIsed beds. What do others use for this purpose? I recently thought of using Hemlock. Very rot resistant, but will still harbor molds etc.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 2:10PM
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I used redwood - which appears to be holding up great ! Although I have a neighbor that recently used corrugated steel for his outside raised beds - wonder how that would work? I may have to line my redwood with fiberglass or steel on the soil side in 10-15 years or when it starts showing signs of rot? It would have been a lot easier if I had lined it before filling the beds with soil?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Hudson - Yeah, I used redwood for everything when I lived in the San Fernando Valley in the early '70s. It was the cheapest wood around, and downright beautiful. Then I moved back east and couldn't afford it any more. Besides, what little redwood we see east of the Mississippi is sapwood.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:11AM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

Hi Hudson... looks way too neat ;-)

What depth of soil did you create?

I also think I have to use more of a potting mix than an open garden mix to prevent compaction. So far, Eliot Coleman's regular Soil Block mix seems to work pretty well as a potting mix. Only a small percentage of garden soil. Rest is compost, peat moss and perlite (or sand or vermiculite - something to keep the structure open)

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:19AM
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sand_mueller(z 7a, oklahoma)

I also cut down pallets for raised bed supports anchored with a stake...they can be cut to a useful height easily enough...sure they rot eventually. I line mine with plastic to hold off the day. I have some in year four with no problems. I also dug out the walkway to start the bed raise. After three years of mulching the walkway subsoil I found myself making soil there.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Hi LivelyDirt,
Our raised beds are about 26"s high - sitting on about 12"s of top soil - the center bed is 14"s. I made filling the beds a little easier by using my tractor before installing the polycarbonate. I filled the beds with top soil that I dug from the GH footings (about 12"s) then finished filling the raised beds with my own mix - similar to Eliot Coleman's - Vermiculite, peat moss, compost and top soil. With a small amount of Azomite, phosphate, Coir, greensand and cotton seed meal.

Our top soil drains very well and when I water the plants in the raised bed - water does not run out of the raised bed any where. We live near a creek - when we dug for the footings and basement of our home, there was about 12-15"s of top soil - then the soil was very rocky with a low water table and excellent drainage.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:16PM
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