Deep grow beds

Originally posted by TCLynx on AGC, June 14, 2010

The common recommended minimum depth for flood and drain gravel beds is 1 foot deep. Some people do attempt beds less than that but the effective bio-filter in a shallow bed is more limited and managing flood and drain by siphons becomes farm more difficult with a shallow bed.

I’m now a very big proponent of Deep grow beds. Many of my grow beds are now 24 inches deep rather than just 12. I’ve discovered that the 100 gallon rubbermaid stock tanks are only a couple dollars more than a 50 gallon tank. And with a 100 gallon tank simply setting it on some concrete blocks makes it a nice height and it can still drain into a sump tank that is sticking up out of the ground about 8 inches.

So what if the bottom few inches don’t drain completely, the bed is 24 inches deep. Even if the bottom 6 inches don’t drain and the top 2 inches stay dry, I still have far more effective bio-filter depth than a 12 inch deep grow bed of the same total volume. I’ve found that the deep grow beds are very good at filtering solids. And with deep beds aquaponic trees are an option.

If you find that with deep grow beds you have plenty of filtration but not enough plant space for nutrient removal, it is fairly easy to add some supplemental plant space using the clean water from a clean water sump to feed say a seasonal NFT pipe set up or raft bed if you see the need.

4 comments to Deep grow beds

  • Sminfiddle

    I rescued an orange tree from a container situation by installing it in a 24-inch deep growbed. I think each of my GBs will have a tree in the middle. Makes good sense permie stacking-wise.

    • TCLynx

      just beware root clogging with some things (like banana)

      • Sminfiddle

        Hmmm clogging yes. Woody “tree” trees won’t clog/monopolize a medium as fast as a banana. But… eventually they would reach a drain hole and be hard to extract, yeah.
        (we are legitimately comparing oranges and bananas, hee hee)
        Still, that rescued orange would not have made it in that container in this heat, even watered daily or oftener.

  • TCLynx

    and I’ve met some plants that actually seem to prefer being root bound. Don’t know about the orange but my pomegranates seem to produce far more when in containers than when in the ground. Though they are in dirt containers and not AP. Aloe likes being confined too.

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