With what should we fill our one metre high, no dig, vegie beds?

We are going to make no dig vegie gardens in our soon to be delivered one metre high galvanised garden beds. We've been researching for ages materials with which to fill them before the no dig layers get put on top and we still have no definite leads.

We need an affordable, non toxic, chemical free material that won't crush or sink over time and that allows drainage to occur. Gravel, light soil, river sand and rocks have been suggested. Prices for these new materials are from $50 to $100 per cubic metre and we'll probably need about four cubic metres. This is quite an expensive exercise when the price of the tanks are included ($811).

Polystyrene boxes have been suggested but we're concerned about the fact they are made from nasty petrochemicals and won't break down and pollute the environment. On the other hand, this could be the perfect way to recycle them. Thoughts please ..........

Asked by Gregory Olsen

3 answers

  • Go Greg!!! Some landscape/building supply companies sell mixed fill which is the sand/ soil/ compost etc that they scrape up from the ground in their yards, and this is cheaper than other materials. Ring around. Keep your eyes out for piles of rubble/fill at building sites, often builders are more than happy to drop a load off as it saves them money - of course have a good look at the material before accepting it. You could ring local builders and landscapers & tell them what you need, I reckon you'll get it no problem. Don't worry too much if it has organic matter and sinks over time as this allows you to add more organic matter - compost & mulch - to the top. The main thing is that it drains well. Fill to 200mm from the top and then do no-dig from there.

    Answered by Steve Batley
    Green Beret
    Rating: 0
  • Thanx Steve. Are the polystyrene boxes OK. I've found a supplier for free!

    Answered by Gregory Olsen Rating: 0
  • Hey Greg,
    Am sure that you have probably worked this out by now. A couple of quick tips that might help:
    - consider digging the beds into the ground as this will decrease soil requirements and improve stability of he bed
    - check Gumtree or similar for free materials - sand / fill / soil etc.
    - consider using geotextile to separate your top layer of soil especially if there is a coarse layer below
    - avoid materials like polystyrene as they are in fact recyclable. Once mixed with soil they become difficult to deal with. Being more than 95% air they will tend to slump over time.
    Happy gardening!

    Answered by David Winterton
    Green Beret
    Rating: 0

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