Intro: Cheap and Easy Silt Fencing Raised Garden Beds
Last year I decided to put a Raised Bed Garden in my back yard, and got most of it built, but was snuck up on by a chronic illness which basically has sapped me of my stamina and endurance, but not my determination. I wanted to find a non-strenuous, less demanding method of finishing my garden beds which also wouldn't put the squeeze on my wallet. I started to do a search on the internet, and I found what i was looking for in an online article by Lucas Crouch at "Backwoods Home Magazine". Hope what I found and put together will be helpful to some at least....
Step 1: Supplies & Tools Needed...
1 roll of 3' x 50" Construction/Erosion grade Propylene Silt Fencing (about $20 a roll at your local Big Box Hardware Store)
1 Twenty-Five pack of 24" long Wooden Landscaping Stakes (About $8 per pack at the same store)
Your choice of Soil and Soil Amendments from your supplier (Topsoil,Humus, Compost, Sand, Sawdust, etc etc...)
Old cardboard or Newspaper
a plot of land to build your bed(s) on and to grow from.
1 heavy hammer or mallet
1 regular hammer
staples and staple gun
razor knife or sharp kitchen knife
Tined Fork Rake, Pitch fork, or Garden Hoe
Take the 3' roll of Silt fencing and cut it into 2 18" length rolls.
take the 24" stakes, mark out the basic 4 corner outline of the raised bed perimeter and sink them 12" deep using the heavy hammer..
Step 3: Layout Bed
From a corner stake , begin to unroll the Silt fencing, stapling it on the inside of the stake, with 5 or 6 staples from the top of the stake to the bottom. Line the top edge of the Silt fencing up with the top of the stake. Remember the 24" stake is buried 12' into the ground, with 12 " above ground, and the Silt fencing material is 18" tall. You should have 6 inches of silt fencing material overlapping or "leftover"at the bottom, folding over into the inside of the box area. Staple the material on the inside facing area of each stake after positioning the material at each stake. I use the small hammer to finish the staples which may not penetrate the hardwood stakes.
After placing stakes on the corners, I placed stakes in the middle areas and followed the same stapling procedure with each point of contact.
Step 4: Add Final Support Stakes and Cardboard
After completing the initial "Stake-out" put additional stakes on the inside of each initial stake. You should then have a sandwich effect with the Silt fencing material between two driven stakes at each point.
When done, place cut to size cardboard and.or newspaper to line the bottom of the ground area, covering the folded remaining silt fencing on the inside. Use the Tined Rake, Pitch fork or edge of a garden hoe to punch drainage holes in the bottom. This served two purposes: (a) to allow the soil you'll fill it with to retain the moisture for a longer period, and prevent weeds and grass from growing up through your completed bed.
After covering the bottom with Cardboard and newspapers, I used the garden hose and moistened the layer just to hold it down if the wind started to get a bit breezy while the soil was being filled in.
Step 5: Fill With Soil & Plant Your Crops!
Once the bed has been assembled and setup, mix your soil and prepare to plant!
I use Organic Compost with Manure, Topsoil , and Vermiculite.
The 1st and 2nd Picture are a bed I constructed 15' long x 2.5' wide for my vine climbing plants(the three 8 ft T-poles will have trellis netting attached to them.
the last Picture is my 1st silt fencing bed I constructed two weeks ago and planted asparagus plants in. The Main lesson I learned from this one was to use more wooden stakes for support.
The Silt Fence Material is pretty durable jut using one layer. If you want an even more stronger layer, instead of cutting the 3' silt fencing roll in half as I did, simply unroll what you need, cut to length and fold the 3' in half, and you'll have double the strength.
In the Backwoods Home Magazine article, it says if a rip develops, simply use the silt fencing material to make a patch and fix accordingly.
Hope this is of use to someone!