After a back operation, Michael built these raised garden beds so he could grow vegies without having to worry about digging or bending.
Using 200 x 50mm H4 Microshades Sleepers in the build that he admits was probably "overkill for the job", he lined the walls with black plastic to "reduce long term water damage and to stop any chemicals coming back into the soil". He decided against sanding and staining it because he likes the colour and texture of the timber set against his backyard.
Michael found it hard to get enough material to fill the beds, and ended up building a fake bottom with drainage grids. He covered the grids and walls with weed matting so the holes didn't let too much else through, and the legs of the garden beds were placed on pavers so they wouldn't sit directly on wet ground.
"It seems to work. The garden drains at a good rate and the soil, with plenty of compost, seems to hold the moisture."
He later added garden covers to protect the more delicate plants.
Just over a year after sharing his vegie gardens, Michael updated the Workshop community with his bountiful harvest. Thirteen kilograms of sweet potatoes in his first season, three punnets of strawberries a week, and plenty of pak choy, zucchini and corn. Like other community members have found with their carrots , "the soil didn't have enough organic material, so the carrots would bend."
Michael also grew tall gardens in shorter garden beds, trying out different methods of irrigation. Buying a couple of 15m seeping hoses, he cut them in two and covered them with sugarcane mulch to keep the moisture in. He found that with a 12mm dripper line, the holes were too far apart and it left many dry sections – "but it's great for my citrus trees, so it didn't go to waste."
"If you use spray or mist irrigation, it can attract bugs and cause fungus, so I carefully choose where I use it. Nowhere near plants that are susceptible to powdery mildew."