Whew.. after three weeks of work I finished the last bit of cobbing on another cob cold frame just in time for winter. This time it is for a local community garden. I outlined the steps I took and added some fun pictures.
Step 1: Worked with the garden director to find a good site for the structure and oriented the site for south facing solar gain; marked the boundaries and dug down to firm terra with the help of the students (ages 3-6). A ton of fun – minus some dirt throwing episodes.
Part 2: Begged my husband to build the frame – with me as his helper of course! I am not good with precise measuring, cutting, etc.. this is why cob is such an attractive building medium to me. Fortunately my husband is quite handy and capable. He even drew out diagrams for me explaining to entire process 🙂
Part 3: Back at the site we (hubbie and baby helped) filled the ditch with sand and gravel. Tamped it down to create a firm base and laid the foundation.
Love this beautiful picture that my husband took of the wood frame sitting on the foundation all ready for cobbing to begin!
Part 4: I spent time making cob loaves to determine the best ratio of sand to clay soil. (Roughly 2:3). Since every clay soil is different this is a really important step. I also wanted needed to reacquaint myself with cob before the big workshop that was… not so well attended. Ah well. The weather was perfect and we did place the first layer of cob. And I am reminded about why I like building with cob so much. One week of cobbing later.. (I find that it is better to build slow to avoid slumping) and the structure is complete and ready for the spring.