Urban Gardening: Where to find scrap wood and soil

20 posts in this topic

I want to build my own raised-bed garden on a budget in the Bonn area.

 

Does anybody know where you can get scrap lumber (still usable, but I don't really need uniform pieces for what I'm envisioning) and large quantities of decent soil (again, I'll happily get some soil supplements, but buying bags of soil at Obi is crazy expensive) for cheap or free?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Sorry, I should have specified: Untreated wood preferred. I'll probably line it with plastic, but rather safe than sorry.

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Pixelforest, Have you listened to the Chancellor?  This is not the time to be gathering dirt, or lumber, or old pallets.  Planning is okay though.

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4 minutes ago, DoubleDTown said:

This is not the time to be gathering dirt, or lumber, or old pallets.

 

Guess I missed that.

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18 minutes ago, DoubleDTown said:

Pixelforest, Have you listened to the Chancellor?  This is not the time to be gathering dirt, or lumber, or old pallets.  Planning is okay though.

 

Life does not come to an end in a crisis. And I'm not asking to hug people or spit in their mouths. I just want to gather up some old timber and some soil for cheap.

 

And, as you say, this is more planning for later in the year/next year.

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If you look on ebay kleinanzeigen people give that sort of stuff away, you will likely need a car, and plenty of time to wait for the stuff to come up. 

 

I absolutely agree it need not be coronadangerous - often the stuff hasn't been touched for years in the case of old wood, and if you wear gloves to do everything, line the car with a tarp and then leave everything outside for 10 days before using it, there would be little risk.

 

If you have to hire/borrow/share a car, I wouldn't personally be doing that at the minute.

 

I am about to do raised beds - we have a lot of sticks, so we'll do a woven thing.

 

Soil - often comes up, people digging a hole for whatever purpose and not wanting the resulting hill as a permanent feature.

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I don't think that one is free, apart from the two hour trailer use. 

 

The other thing is that you have to watch the product from kompostieranlage - it's not soil, it is the humus bit - and needs mixed with the other components to make a good growing substrate. I use muttererde, or actual garden soil, mixed with 'black stuff' which is free from our local kompostanlage. although of course it's shut at the moment. This time around, we will empty our own compost bin which I'm guessing is quite far on since it caught fire around Christmas time...:huh:

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With our place you pay 10 Euros for a tonne (a trailerload) for compost and 20 Euros for a tonne of "oberlanderde" which is better deeper quality. When I built my main raised bed a while back I drove round town looking for housebuilding projects and asked the digger for earth also. I've put down about 20 tonnes on my garden over the years, for different things.

 

I had a project to build a "hotbed" this year but this crisis has knocked it for six.

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Not sure what it`s like in other regions, but even our Wertstoffhof is closed, so a Kompostanlage would more than likely be so too...

Give them a bell and ask!

- and if they are closed, maybe they can deliver anyway....

 

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1 hour ago, kiplette said:

I don't think that one is free, apart from the two hour trailer use. 

 

The other thing is that you have to watch the product from kompostieranlage - it's not soil, it is the humus bit - and needs mixed with the other components to make a good growing substrate. I use muttererde, or actual garden soil, mixed with 'black stuff' which is free from our local kompostanlage. although of course it's shut at the moment. This time around, we will empty our own compost bin which I'm guessing is quite far on since it caught fire around Christmas time...:huh:

Thank you for this advice. The Kompostieranlage in Watchberg has 'Planzenerde' which seems to be a balanced plant soil. I'm a novice at this, so your warning is very helpful. You are right that it's probably closed, but that won't be the case forever, and I'll be ready by then.

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I think that would be great, but it will cost you 10€ for 100 litres. It depends how big your beds are, I guess. Or they sell it by the cm. 

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As mentioned, you want soil not just pure compost. We have our own composter, but I had to buy garden soil. It wasn't enough, and it's expensive as mentioned... so what do. The property we live on (rented) has a gardener for the front area. We've spoken a bunch, so I asked him if he had ideas, and he said yea no worries, he'll bring some. Next weekend he brought a trailer overflowing with soil. So, do you know any professional gardeners? :)

 

Be very careful with scrap wood. I know it's often touted as cheap and green, upcycling, etc. but it's not always a good idea. Pallets are often treated with all kinds of pesticides if not wood impregnation. That wood will decompose pretty quick, too... Other stuff like old fences or whatever or often also impregnated, and God knows what other sealant/pain/varnishes/anti-pest shit has been soaked into the wood over the years. You REALLY do not you want that crap leaching into your vegetables.

 

When I built my raised beds (two large ones), I went to a lumber specialist and ordered completely untreated doug fir, with delivery. Can't recall the costs, because it was surprisingly affordable. Maybe around 100€ for four 3m long boards. I built it without any power tools (OK, just a cheap electric screwdriver that I already had). If doug fir is too dear for you, you can certainly use spruce, pine, alder or whatever the mill/Baumarkt has on hand, but note that some woods will rot much faster in the wet soil they'll be sitting in. Even untreated doug fir will last for a decade or more. I personally would only buy untreated wood. You can coat it yourself with stuff intended for use on beds (or kids play areas) so it's only on one side and much less toxic. Pine tar or tung oil are safe, though you'd need to read up on the application methods.

 

Maybe you can visit a mill and ask about their already-milled end pieces or scraps. They may let you take it away free, or for a 10er or a coffee or something. 

 

The dirt is way more expensive, funny enough. 

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I was thinking about doing a raised bed and also mulling over the possible alternatives for the sides. I read that wooden sides are also a favoured place for slugs to hang out. 

Anyway, somehow research led me to the No Dig gardening method, which sounded like a very good idea indeed! This would also cut out having to get topsoil as the method should bring the existing soil into use, even if it's weedy or grass covered. Which mine is - typical hard-packed, grassed over sandy Brandenburg soil.

Thought I'd give it a go, and have prepared the bed which is about 3×2m. It really didn't take long (me, petite woman heading for the 3-score and ten years.) Am intrigued to see what develops!

Here's a link:

https://www.growveg.co.uk/guides/no-dig-gardening-create-new-beds-the-easy-way/

 

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If you need rather short boards, you could use pallets. 

Euro Paletten are the reusable ones that cost money/a deposit and lots of people use for furniture etc. Also sometimes treated, i think. Still sometimes advertised on Ebay Kleinanzeigen for free.  

We figured out that tile /pavement shops get a lot of their stones delivered on single use pallets or in boxes and asked there.  We picked up a trailer full and gave them 2o € for the Kaffeekasse. They were all different sizes and widths and you definitely need a good tool for nail pulling,  but the wood was great

 

 

 

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