lightweight materials for square foot gardening

melcamino(8)February 6, 2009

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum. About 2 years ago I moved to Portland OR, from Salt Lake City Utah where I had built and mainted a couple of great square foot gardens.

We just moved into a new house as as much as I love the house, the backyard is small and largely shady. The other day, my partner had a great idea - GREEN ROOF. We have a mostly flat unattached garage at our house and with a few adjustments, and my building a good sturdy ladder, I'll be able to build a small green roof.

However, with that, I dont' want to actually plant onto my roof, I want to build the raised bed version of 4X4 garden and put them up on low stilts. Buildwise, it's not major - however, the weight is a concern. Does anyone know where I can source lightweight materials or kits to build the 4x4 bedframes? I would use the same kind as i would on the ground, I just don't want them to be made of wood as I think that's heavier.

Any info you guys can share would be great. I will post pictures as I get things going.

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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I'd recommend 1x6s for the sides but don't skimp on the plywood bottom. Either way, expect it to rot fast in our PNW weather, which could be a problem if it dumps your garden on top of your garage. Of course, creative use of rubberizes paint on the inside and drainage holes could help tremendously. Not particularly "green" I know, but it was my first thought.

Good luck and let us know how it goes neighbor!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:31PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Assuming good drainage, the soil if watered properly will weigh a good bit. I would take a known volume of soil. water it as if it were in your garden and weigh it. Then you can determine what your bed would weigh without any structure. Your next problem will be determining what weight your garage roof was designed to take.


Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:58PM
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There was a thread on the SC&M forum not too long ago with much debate about the weight of soil for a similar project. There could be some info that is useful to you there.

Here is a link that might be useful: SCM soil weight thread

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 11:47PM
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