How to Build a Small Ecobed.

Latest Update 3rd May 2016.


This page shows you how to build a Small Ecobed.  Construction details for the water tank and the water filling/distribution system are similar to those shown on the page Garden Ecobed 
 so I have not repeated them here.
The bed is 900 x 900 x 600mm, and consists of 4 panels of 9mm ply with a perimeter frame of 42 x 19mm and 63 x 19mm plantation pine.  The ply is screwed to the frame members from the inside using 25mm galvanised CSK woodscrews, and the corners are offset as shown above.
Two opposing panels have 63 x 19mm frame uprights, and the other two have 42 x 19mm uprights.  This is done to give the impression that the adjacent corner frames are of uniform width after they are joined together (as shown above).  The horizontal frame members are all 42 x 19mm pine.
A piece of 63 x 19mm pine is inserted into one of the panels and drilled as shown.  The insert is set so that the bottom of the hole is 200mm above ground level.  This is where the overflow pipe exits from the Ecobed.
The Ecobed wall panels are pre-drilled and the whole bed is assembled to ensure a good fit before painting.  The bed is then disassembled and 2 heavy coats of weatherproof acrylic paint are used to protect the timber (which is not treated).  5 galvanised 45mm woodscrews are used to join each corner.
Once assembled, the bed is lined with 2 layers of 200um builder's plastic to create a water tank.  The standard "Garden Ecobed" tank filling, distribution and overflow system is fitted and 20mm drainage Scoria added.  The tank is filled to overflowing with rainwater from my storage tank, and the Scoria level adjusted until it is just covered by the water.

I am trialing an alternative water tank cover.  It stops soil getting into the tank and helps wick water up into the soil.  I usually use 75% shadecloth but this time I am using a thick layer of sugar cane mulch.  Rob Bob from  bitsouttheback uses this technique with good results, so here goes.
The bed is next filled with good quality soil (filled to a depth of 300mm leaving 100mm for top dressing and mulch).  The soil was taken from one of my drip irrigated beds and improved with compost (about 25%), aged sheep manure, a handful of Rockdust and a little blood and bone fertiliser.  

Worm and microbe activity has been maintained by adding kitchen scraps from time to time as a dressing on top of the soil, protected by a thick layer of straw mulch and covered with shadecloth. 


The slug and snail tape was bonded to the top rail before the capping was fitted.
These are the capping timbers shown in the top picture.  They were cut to size, drilled and installed before being removed for painting.  The letters were left unpainted to make sure the timbers were re-assembled in the right order, and then painted over after assembly.