Hi there guys,
Recently we have engaged a landscape designer to draw up our gardens and planter boxes. We have mentioned to him about our septic tanks and soakage area.
He drew a couple of planter boxes and one of them will be directly on top of soakage area. I didn't think much about it as well he is the designer (perhaps I have put too much trust on him).
Anyway, he disappeared once we paid him and we got some new guys in to actually do the work - now I am wondering if it is safe to use it as vegetable planter boxes???? The landscaper guys going to put in 400mm high planter boxes. The work already started (so too late to move it). What do you guys think?? Is it safe? Exteremely worried as we have paid so much so far and soo gutted the designer just left us after we paid... called him a few times and he just kept saying he will get back to us but never etc.
The work is already started... so no we will have to just keep going (moving it is not an option) otherwise whole lots of money going down the drain... :'( Just wondering if you guys have any advice and/or experience or things that I can do .....
Always makes me sad when people asked to help grab the money and run.
When you talk about "Planter Boxes" do you mean raised garden beds? Garden beds where the soil is contained in a frame that is open at the bottom?
If that is what you mean, then I, and that is my personal opinion, would not grow annual vegetables in this area. I would, however, grow fruit and nut trees there, or even fruit bushes, like blueberries, raspberries, currants etc. .I am aware that some people use grey water to irrigate their vegetable garden, however i would not feel comfortable doing that. But again, that is my personal opinion.
If there’s no turning back with the raised garden beds you could just line them with black polythene so that the roots of whatever you plant don’t make their way to the septic grey water soakage below.
Our 20 yr old septic tank grey water discharge pipe/soakage is fenced off from cattle and personally, I wouldn’t be planting veges there either as we’ve been advised not to.
As far as drainage goes, because you don’t want plants getting water-logged, you could just poke some holes in the plastic so that the soil remains free draining. These holes would be say 100mm or so up from the bottom, right round the whole circumference of the box (through the slats) so you can see surplus water making its way out. Also, you could put stones at the bottom for water to drain into.
You would,ideally, only plant shallow rooted plants in the raised bed situated over the soakage area, I’m not sure how many there were.
As for the scoundrel who took off with your money, I would track him down, and take him to the small tribunal claims court, find out where he lives if you can, electoral roll, Facebook produces results where other things fail in finding information.
Yes Blueberry. It is raised garden beds... approximately 40cm off the ground.... I am hoping I can grow some vegetables but vegetablets that grow on top of soil... but yes the roots will still be problematic I guess
I guess it is a bit positive to hear that some people do use grey water to irrigate their vegetable garden. I personally wouldn't be comfortable doing that either. But I am hoping since it is raised the roots shouldn't grow that deep in? It is about 2m by 4m,.
It is very heartbreaking as this is going to be our first garden area. This is totally new to me But good to hear people use grey water to irrigate! (very gross actually).
Thank you iSor. Will talk to the landscaper guys and see what they think. Do you know if people usually put some sort of liner at the base of raised planter boxes?
We actually know where the guy is.... he is still at his company and it is still running. He is extremely friendly everytime we talk to him. But as another friend mentioned (used his services before), we have to keep pestering him for him to finish the work. We just gave up I guess it is partly our fault... Wrote about three or four emails to him and talked to him a few times over the phone. And we just gave up.... The thing is... he did finish his work... he drew up the plan and we paid. But he just extremely unhelpful in helping us after that.
We have a secondary treatment septic system. The dispersal pipes are 150mm below the ground and water and fertilise our fruit trees and berry plants. We grow strawberries there, but would not grow root vegetables. Anything to eat that is not in-ground should be fine unless the system is a very basic primary treatment only, like one with just settling tank and big gravel filled trenches, or, if secondary (like most current systems), but is a surface dispersal system where the treated waste is shed above or at soil surface.
I lined all but one of my half wine barrels with black polythene because the one that I didn’t line is decaying from the inside out.
I would only do it to save the water, soil and nutrients from escaping sideways through gaps or joins in the boxes, if there are any.
You could try a wicking bed system. Line your planter bed boxes with a heavy pond lining material and put drainage gravel or similar in the bottom. Then use weedmat or similar to create a barrier between the gravel and where you put the soil, it will need a tube in one corner to fill with a hose in dry weather if the water level gets too low and an outlet where the water can drain, about 1/4-1/3 of the height from bottom, but not above the drainage metal. This is to prevent overfilling. Water will wick up into the soil and feed the plants. there's a lot of ideas on youtube. Here's just one of them Wicking
It would depend on what kind of septic system you have, but most septic fields are now planted out to absorb the moisture
My drain layer has planted his orchard over his soakage field and says it works really well
Do you have a dual system that separates out grey water How deep down is the septic field.
In order to know what you are doing and if it is right or wrong, I would find out how your system works and then decide on
your next step
We have decided to shrunk the size of the planter boxes and effectively it is off the soakage area now by at least a couple of metres.
We have decided to leave the dug out area and continue with aggregates and making it into a little sitting area next to the planter boxes. Now... after deciding on that.... I'm thinking will this affect the soakage area? Muri mentioned that most septic fields are now planted out to absorb the moisture.... The area going to have sand then aggregates on top. The landscapers didn't seems to think its a problem but I don't think they know much about septic tanks to start of with. And it never occured to me till now... Man I just wish I know what we should do or not do.
We don't know what kind of septic system we have.... we moved to rural about two years ago and still learning everyday.....
The space which has been dug out,where Song later thought to put a seated area instead of the planter boxes, seems to lend it self to having a lemon tree planted in it, that would be safe. The planter boxes would go around seated area or lemon tree.
Song, would you be able to take a photo of what’s been done already then we’d be able to give you more constructive ideas if we could see what it looks like?
You can spend a lot of money on planter boxes/raised gardens if you wish but I used three 6" x 2" high tanalised boards didnt worry about any leaching (there is no arsenic in preserved timber anymore) filled them with dirt, compost, grass clippings and topped with a few bags of commercial compost and had many years of quality vegetables. I wouldn't plant a lemon tree in there as it would be a waste of a rasied garden.