FoodMachine Growbed Construction and Plumbing Part I

Published: 23 December 2012

This is the first of two posts about building and plumbing growbeds. We just got back from LaHaina Family farms where we finished constructing and plumbing in their growbeds. There are many different ways that growbeds can be built. At LaHaina family farms they decided to build each of the growbeds with a slightly different construction method.

Below are pictures of growbeds constructed two different ways. The first is simply built out of concrete. You can see that the walls of the bed are made from poured concrete. We then line this bed with plastic liner so it will hold water. Concrete can hold water too, but we have found that with grow-beds fifty feet or one hundred feet long, cracking can be an issue. The second is simply built with concrete blocks stacked on one another. These blocks form the “wall” and the liner is then laid between them to hold the water. This method is a bit cheaper than pouring concrete walls.

As was already mentioned, a white plastic liner is used to hold the water. The first picture below shows the liner laid out in the growbed. In the second picture, you can see that about an inch of water is put into the bottom of the growbed to seat the liner flush against the bottom and sides. This provides enough weight to help remove wrinkles but it is not so heavy as to prevent small adjustments from being made to the liner before securing it.

The other method being used at LaHaina Family farms is a welded structure that was then lined with plywood. The plastic liner will then be used to hold the water. This can be a good option if the expertise and materials needed to weld are readily available.

The fourth growbed is being built in the same manner used at the Kona, HI FoodMachine. This is to build the entire thing out of wood. This version is just being started. It can be seen on the left hand side of the image below.