Building the beds is quite the process. First we staple a bunch of sand bags in half, so that the beds are not too wide.
We then use a special contraption to fill the sand bags which then are stacked into the shape we want. As we build the bed, we also add chicken wire to help hold it place as well as providing foundation for the stucco. We have learned not to build the bed completely up before adding the chicken wire as we have knocked over beds before! The next stage we use garden staples to hold the chicken wire close to the sand bags, so that we use less stucco mix. Now we are ready for the first stucco layer, we are just waiting for a warm enough day to make up the mix. We will apply two layers and after it drys we will be ready to fill it with some soil. We like this system because the beds hold high amounts of thermal mass, they are fairly cheap and easy to fix. However, they are time consuming to construct but we usually can find some volunteers to help out.
We plan to plant melons (which are pictured here on the left), two satsuma mandarin, a lemon tree, a lime tree and a honey fig in April. We will train the melons to grow up the trellising and the trees will provide shade in the summer and yummy fruit. More medicinal plants will be added too, like the Chinese wolf berry, chaparral and sushni which all will be fantastic additions to our gotu kola, monstrous aloe plant, skullcap and numerous herb plants. The dome will soon be our own walk in medicine cabinet!