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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorviki83viki
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2022
    Hi. I'm about to build a raised planter for vegetables, and if it goes well will build some more. I was planning on using Gronodec composite decking boards, but their technical info is hard to find. Are composite decking boards safe to grow food in? Do they leach nasties into the soil? Failing that, what else would you recommend I use that is environmentally friendly and doesn't introduce unwanted chemicals to our food and the soil in general? Thanks.
    I use 2nd hand scaffold planks , they last about 10 years then you can just over clad them again.
    Free or very cheap from scaffold companies that have to upgrade them regularly
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2022
    Get some scaffold poles as well to form supports rammed into the ground to hold the boards in place. cut appropriate length with an angle grinder. If you are concerned about contact of soil with the board line them with DPM use the black variety the blue one seems to disintegrate over time.
    Those composite boards are made of a mixture of half plastic and half wood fibres with some glues. I'm not sure they would be easy to recycle at end of life of the planter? It's obviously good to use recycled plastic, but maybe in a form that can be recycled again, once we are done with it.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2022
    We use reclaimed 2'x2' or 3'x2' paving flags stood on edge. Regularly available on freecycle or ebay.
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2022
    Posted By: philedgeWe use reclaimed 2'x2' or 3'x2' paving flags stood on edge. Regularly available on freecycle or ebay.
    Interesting. How do you support them?
    Commercially I recycle IBC containers chopped in half horizontally. The plastic cut with jugsaw and metal with angle grinder. Fill bottom half for your deep bed but use top half for protective cover or cut top half where the lid is round the edge of the flat area to leave 4 sides and an open top which then can be covered with mesh net to allow rain in but keep butterflies and pests out. Also provides excellent wind protection and stops animals digging up the deep beds.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2022
    Set 1' into a narrow trench with 1' sticking up above ground level. Back fill either side of the slab to hold it steady. Over years they will splay out so we put a wrap of fencing wire around the top. If you want a bed deeper than 1' use 3'x2' on end or only set 6" into the ground
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2022
    Thanks. Same way the slabs around our foundation are supported :) But there's no pressure on ours to force them outwards so no need of fence wire. I can see that will restrain the corners but do they still bulge a bit along the middle of the beds?
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2022 edited
    Gd idea, tho not pretty. They could be wired across the width of the bed, say 6" below soil level, as well as around the perimeter. Heavily galv wire.

    s/h scaffold boards also - gd to know they're cheap.

    For bed height 6" (a different notion of 'raised bed') we use sawmill 'slabbing' or 'scantlings' - the outer bit with bark, resiny doug fir at our local mill, 7" to 9" wide, lasts 3-4yrs, looks good, easily renewed. Treated 38x38x450 pegs @ 600c/cs. On cross-sloping ground, can make terrace-retaining walls 500h even, 3 boards high, with 50x50x750 pegs @ 400c/cs - surprisingly durable. I made a miniature post-thumper - 6" of 2" pipe with plate welded across end, slips over top of a peg, can be bashed with lump or sledge hammer without splitting.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2022
    Posted By: djhI can see that will restrain the corners but do they still bulge a bit along the middle of the beds?

    Primarily to keep the corners tight so soil doesnt drop out. Longest run we have is 6 x 2'6"×2' and theres no significant bulge in the middle with them set a foot in the ground longer side down.
    • CommentAuthorJamster
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2022
    How high do you want them to be - if 'proper' raised beds to improve access, LAs and FSA will I think recommend untreated timber, either new or reclaimed. You can line them with a UV stablilised sheet I suppose too but you'd have to be careful not to waterlog or make slug habitat!

    The recycled plastic boards are I suppose ticking a box but they're expensive!

    If you're just doing v shallow raised beds, do you need them - look at Charles Dowding's website / you tube. He recommends not using them if you go down the no-dig route. Be warned though, its quite a rabbit hole!
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