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Square Foot Gardening Forum
[table bgcolor=#000000 height=275][tr][td]
Humanitarian work in South Africa Toplef10Humanitarian work in South Africa 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Humanitarian work in South Africa I22gcj10Humanitarian work in South Africa 14dhcg10

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Humanitarian work in South Africa

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Post  Laura4sfg 5/29/2019, 12:26 pm

Hello all,

The Square Foot Gardening Foundation is seeking your advice. We are working with an organization in South Africa who is considering creating cement (self-watering) raised Square Foot beds as the sun is so hot, the traditional wood doesn't last long enough. Are there any potential problems associated with using cement beds that you can forsee?

Thank you all in advance,
Laura & Steve Bartholomew
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Post  countrynaturals 5/29/2019, 2:56 pm

Years ago, I was told that new cement leaches harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil. I don't know if that's still the case, but it's probably worth checking.
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Post  sanderson 5/29/2019, 6:27 pm

I think there would be lime leaching at first which may affect the plants' optimal growths.  But, I also think that if the concrete forms were cured thoroughly dry and washed, maybe repeat, it would reduce the leaching and in the long run be permanent durable containers.  It's hard to find scientific information (like dot edu sites).  The use of fly ash in some concretes seems to be the most significant contamination, in that fly ash may contain heavy metals.  Cement is the powder material that when mixed with water and dried will be hard.  Concrete uses cement as the "glue" and contains sand and rock aggregates. So, does the area of concern in African have rocky and sandy stream beds? Shipping the bags of powdered "glue, the cement, would be a reduced cost if it can be mixed with local material. Please keep me updated as I am interested in humanitarian gardening and want to learn what ever I can.

https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/materials-building-raised-beds

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