Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today was a push on our latest, non-house, non-garden homestead project, our ferro-cement retaining walls and raised beds that frame in an outdoor patio. We somehow thought it was a good idea to begin this project a month before we started the foundation. For all the poor timing, we are really excited about it, and know that it will improve our quality of life dramatically once it's done ( which is looking closer and closer by the minute!)

Ferro-cement is a method of building any old shape by using rebar with expanded metal lathe over it, and then plastering it with cement mixed with sand. When coated twice, it is remarkably strong. We were excited about it because the materials aren't that much money compared with using something like pressure treated wood, which is toxic anyway. We wanted to use the beds to grow edible plants, so pressure treated was out.

The floor of the patio will be square concrete pavers laid down over weed blocking fabric. The bottom of the beds has gopher proof wire connected around the edges, so the beds will be gopher-proof space for growing things that they like, such as carrots, beets, garlic and onions. After losing our whole winter garden to gophers last year, this is no small luxury!

Here's a picture of us excavating the site back in late April...note the green grass. Times have changed!

Here's a photo of the first wall being plastered.

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