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Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

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Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  tungngruv on 2/22/2011, 12:38 pm

Hello all!

We are new to SFG and SUPER excited this season to start.

Question; Can we use Hardibacker or other cement backer board for the bottoms of the boxes?

I have extras lying around and would like to get rid of them. Cheaper than plywood/longer lasting. We have a "wet" yard and need to raise the beds off the ground. Could there be some leeching coming from these boards? I am concerned about leeching from chemicals in the plywood too by the way.

I plan on using 2x6's or 2x8's from Home Depot or Menards and attaching the hardibacker with screws, and then drilling a bunch of holes in the bottoms.

Thanks for the help. And thanks for a great website/forum.

Take care,
Jeff
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Re: Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  boffer on 2/22/2011, 1:01 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Hardibacker really doesn't have much structural strength. If you use it, be sure to provide plenty of support. Hard to say about the leeching; my first thought was it wouldn't be different than a masonry box, but there's to telling what additives were used as binders, etc. You could put plastic between the board and soil.

Plywood doesn't last long outdoors in my climate. I use 1/2" hardware cloth for my box bottoms, covered with weedblock cloth. Some folks will use plastic rather than weedblock because they think it slows down evaporation and makes watering easier.
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Re: Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  tungngruv on 2/22/2011, 1:53 pm

Thanks Boffer,

The hardware mesh sounds like a great idea.

If we elevate, won't there be sagging in the middle?

If we use plastic over the wire mesh, won't that trap moisture inside?

Thanks for taking the time.
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Re: Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  boffer on 2/22/2011, 2:11 pm

Furbalsmom had a good picture here
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5120-february-1-2011-in-the-pnw#42064

Here's some ideas that I put together
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t297-building-a-table-top-sfgsome-ideas

You can poke some holes in the plastic for drainage if you want to. The trick to using weedcloth on a tabletop is to keep the MM damp. When it dries out, your water will run right through, and it feels like it takes forever to get the MM saturated again.
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Re: Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  tungngruv on 2/22/2011, 2:32 pm

Holy cats! That's a ton of great info! I tried to find this on the forum but couldn't...I'm such a noob. :scratch:

I'm happy as a clam right now because I know what i'm-a-gonna-do.

Thanks tons. This place rocks.
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Welcome TungnGruv

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/22/2011, 3:47 pm

TungnGruv

How nice to have you join us here.

Are you actually planning Table Tops that will be 24 - 30 inches off the ground, or do you just want to raise the bottom of the beds above the wet ground once you get the bottom secured?
Boffer's trick with the 2X2 supports and the hardware cloth worked really well as a bottom for my TT.

If you just need to get the bottoms above the wet ground, a brick or two at each corner or a cinderblock at each corner will get you going, once the bottoms are installed.

Please feel free to ask questions, there are so many helpful people on this forum.

By the way, we I love you pictures, so please show us how you are doing.

We are also having a "Carrot Week" and hope you choose to participate with the other members of this forum.
Check out the following link and join in the fun.

Carrot Week
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Re: Using Hardibacker for bottoms?

Post  Megan on 2/22/2011, 5:21 pm

Welcome to the forum, tungngruv! glad you\'re here

I am thinking about trying a TT garden, too.

I think I'd like a hardware cloth bottom, too, but the moisture loss worries me and though we're not in the deep south, it can get hot here.

Has anyone tried putting semi-porous bags of sand in the bottoms of their TT? What I am envisioning a number of bags, flattened out to be 1-2" high, at the bottom of the box just over the weedblock cloth, to help retain moisture in the box. Not really a reservoir so much as keeping the bottom of the box a little damp. Just not sure if it's a good idea and even if it is, what material for the bags. More weedblock? Whatever it is I would want it to be sturdy enough not to rot for a couple of years.
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