Digging up tiles to lay a bed - HOW???

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hedgewitch
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Digging up tiles to lay a bed - HOW???

Post: # 54449Post hedgewitch
Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:57 am

I need some advice fellow ishers. I want to dig up a load of patio tiles to lay a vegetable patch but I really don't have a clue where to begin. What tools do I need and how will I go about it. All help greatly appreciated.
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Post: # 54455Post Wombat
Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:20 pm

I suspect that a crow bar, sledge hammer, club hammer and brick bolster would be uesfull or even better a kanga hammer! Depends what is under the tiles......

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Post: # 54461Post Thomzo
Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:49 pm

I wouldn't bother, mate. Just build a raised bed on top. No problems with weeds. Just have to make it deep enough for your championship parsnips though. :lol:

Seriously, try levering one slab out gently with a crow bar (don't force it if it won't come easily - that way if it's too much like hard work you can put it back no damage done). It depends how old the patio is and how well it was laid. If you're lucky it'll come away easily, if you have my sort of luck it will be stuck down with superglue and you'll need that kanga.

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Post: # 54462Post Thomzo
Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:52 pm

What I forgot to say is that you might find that you've layers of concrete underneath or, at best, builders sand, full of lime. Either way, you'll need to dig the lot out otherwise your veg won't grow too well.

Perhaps the raised bed is the best idea after all.

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Post: # 54472Post wulf
Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:34 pm

If the patio was laid properly, there should be quite a lot of stuff under providing the foundation - you would need to dig it out and dispose of or reuse it; a raised bed might be easier.

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Post: # 54489Post mew
Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:45 pm

Hi

Its my first year at growing the old veggies so I decided that I wanted to convert part of my patio into a veg bed. I decided for the raised bed option. Quite lucky as i was given 4 railway sleepers. Admittedly I cant really put any roots in this year as its not deep enough but I can always use pots if need be, but we have just converted a strip of land at my parents which was used a builders landfill pretty much.....

We dug out 4 beds (breaking a fork, spade and pick axe along the way not to mention our backs.....) shifted all the contents (bricks, rubble, metal, tyres, patio slabs, tarmac, plastic etc etc etc) down to the bottom of the strip, created 4 barriers out of any spare bits of wood we could find and raised them up above ground level by about 15 inches or so then back filled them with lots of muck, 2 tonnes of organic compost and 2 tonnes of topsoil.

If you're up for a challenge is worth doing but my tip would be to do a test area first to see just how hard its going to be and then choose your tools carefully - ie industrial strength not potting garden strength - we found that one out the hard way.

Good luck - and post a before and after pic if you get chance

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Post: # 54588Post Cheezy
Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:09 pm

It depends how they've been laid: straight onto compacted gravel/sand or dot and dab cement method.

I find crowbars don't always provide enough leverage, and can push them selves into the soil/sand below rather than the slab up.

I like to use a spade, if you can get the blade under the flag. You can put a peice of wood under the blade to counterlever.

once you've broken the bond/suction the best thing about the spade is you can stand on the blade to keep the flag raised while getting your fingers under to lift.
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So you know how great Salsify is as a veg, what about Cavero Nero,great leaves all through the winter , then in Spring sprouting broccolli like flowers! Takes up half as much room as broccolli

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Post: # 54594Post Thomzo
Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:25 pm

Hi Cheezy

I must admit I was going to say the same thing but thought I might get shot down on health and safety. But, yes, a spade is very useful as you can get it between tight slabs as well.

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Post: # 54596Post the.fee.fairy
Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:45 pm

i used a spade to take up a horrible path, but i wasn't sure if it would work on a patio/multi-slab situation.

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Post: # 54597Post Thomzo
Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:58 pm

There is a possibility that you will bend the blade if it's a heavy slab and a cheap spade. Also watch that the handle doesn't brake if you are using it to lever a heavy slab. You might just get fingers trapped underneath.

Good gloves are a must!
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Post: # 54630Post baldowrie
Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:56 am

if you don't want the slabs why not just break them up and lift the smaller pieces

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Post: # 54631Post cir3ngirl
Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:20 am

My slab down on course sand. They are 3x2ft and being picked up by a nice lady from freecycle later today.

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Post: # 55057Post digiveg
Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:28 am

If you can get the blade under one of the tiles they're easy to lift with a pickaxe. Great leverage!
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Post: # 55683Post AdamW
Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:42 am

This may have already been done by now but as said above if you dont need the slabs lever them up and place a small block of wood under one corner, smash the middle with a sledgehammer and hey presto your slab is now many slabs :) dont hit it too many times as raking up little bits in my opinion is nearly as bad as lifting the lot!

You now have some good material to raise up a path or fill in any annoying holes you have kicking about and if all else fails i guess its skip time... even though that isnt the best of methods for disposal!

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