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  1. #1
    Expert indytechnerd's Avatar

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    Square Foot Garden - now with stuff in it...

    Couldn't decide on whether to put this here or in TGO.

    Anyway, last night I finished up the 4'x4' SFG off our patio. I'm gonna have to put a trellis up on the North (grill) side for some beans, and I'll put up a pic this weekend after I get it done.

    We'll be planting this weekend...
    Romaine Lettuce
    Butterhead Lettuce
    Iceberg Lettuce
    White Onion
    Sweet Corn
    Snow Pea (Oregon Sugar)
    Pole Bean



    The sides are 1"x6" 8' Cedar fence boards, with the dividers made out of 4' lathing strips.
    The soil is a variation on Mel's Mix using a vermiculite & peat combination mixed with cow manure compost in a mostly even ratio. All the dirt goodies were purchased at Glenns Valley Feed 'n Seed.
    After cleaning out the old flower bed that was mostly decomposed mulch, we covered the whole thing with weed fabric and set down red lava rock. I've got a few more weeds to remove, but the trees are staying.
    I'll have pics later of the trellis and after we get some green stuff showing in the dirt.

    5/27 update:
    Stuff is growing...

    Front to back, left to right...

    1. lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, sugar snap peas.
    2. chives, green onion, corn, pole beans.
    3. herb(can't remember which), basil, herb, tomato.
    4. herb, herb, herb, tomato.
    Last edited by indytechnerd; 05-27-2010 at 17:38. Reason: growth
    "The World's Not Safe Anymore" - Found etched into a door in NE KY,USA, 2010.

  2. #2
    Plinker czyhorse's Avatar

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    Not sure that the weed fabric under the raised bed is a good idea. My thought is that it would retard further root growth and limit the size of your vegetables.

    We are experimenting with raised beds this year and used 8x16 concrete blocks for the walls, broke up the original soil a bit, and added layers of chicken manure/straw/clay/peat/topsoil/potting soil. Topped it off with wood mulch after planting. We'll see how it goes.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Expert XtremeVel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by czyhorse View Post
    Not sure that the weed fabric under the raised bed is a good idea. My thought is that it would retard further root growth and limit the size of your vegetables.

    We are experimenting with raised beds this year and used 8x16 concrete blocks for the walls, broke up the original soil a bit, and added layers of chicken manure/straw/clay/peat/topsoil/potting soil. Topped it off with wood mulch after planting. We'll see how it goes.

    Good luck.

    +1 I would be afraid not only by retarding root growth, thus limiting the size of the crop, but also limiting the nutrients and water that the roots can reach. Other than that, looks great ! I can see you will have a much more organized way and easier time to " rotate " your crops each year than I currently do.
    Last edited by XtremeVel; 04-22-2010 at 15:08.
    Semper Fi USMC 1983-87

  4. #4
    Expert nighthawk80's Avatar

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    Looks good. I'm going to build mine next week. Were did you get your cedar at? I've been looking for a place to get either cedar or redwood. I'm not 100% sure if I want to use pressure treated wood.

  5. #5
    Expert indytechnerd's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by nighthawk80 View Post
    Looks good. I'm going to build mine next week. Were did you get your cedar at? I've been looking for a place to get either cedar or redwood. I'm not 100% sure if I want to use pressure treated wood.
    Got the cedar at Menards. According to our SFG book, All New Square Foot Gardening: Mel Bartholomew, you shouldn't plant in pressure treated because of leeching chemicals into the soil.

    In regards to the depth, this is pretty much straight from the book, also. In the book, and on the website, there are examples of 6" beds placed on concrete patios. Aside from deep root plants, like carrots and potatos, 6" is plenty deep.
    "The World's Not Safe Anymore" - Found etched into a door in NE KY,USA, 2010.

  6. #6
    Expert XtremeVel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by indytechnerd View Post
    Got the cedar at Menards. According to our SFG book, All New Square Foot Gardening: Mel Bartholomew, you shouldn't plant in pressure treated because of leeching chemicals into the soil.

    In regards to the depth, this is pretty much straight from the book, also. In the book, and on the website, there are examples of 6" beds placed on concrete patios. Aside from deep root plants, like carrots and potatos, 6" is plenty deep.

    Treated lumber will leech chemicals into your soil. Also, I would bet Cedar will hold up better over the years. Around my landscape, I just don't find my treated landscape timbers last many years.

    From what I see you said you are going to plant, your depth will be ok. But, if that weed barrier breaks down, I wouldn't replace it. A very common misconception many have is if a beet is 4 in in diameter, 6 inchs will be enough. Well, that might be true to a certain extent. I personally have raised beds that I double dug, and have grown beets with 18 inch roots. I have also seen my onions with 4-6 inch roots. Now, it might seem silly to strive for this since we clip these slender roots off and throw them away, but when they grow that deep in search of nutrients and water, it makes less work watering when its dry, and also I have to add fewer admendments to the soil. But more importantly, deeper rooting also promotes less interuptions in the growth cycle, thus making healthier plants. Everytime the plant gets stressed, it gets set- back and also makes it more vulnerable to diseases and pests. I still envy your organization and ease of how you're going to rotate your crops.
    Semper Fi USMC 1983-87

  7. #7
    Expert

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    Quote Originally Posted by czyhorse View Post
    Not sure that the weed fabric under the raised bed is a good idea. My thought is that it would retard further root growth and limit the size of your vegetables.

    We are experimenting with raised beds this year and used 8x16 concrete blocks for the walls, broke up the original soil a bit, and added layers of chicken manure/straw/clay/peat/topsoil/potting soil. Topped it off with wood mulch after planting. We'll see how it goes.

    Good luck.
    Weed fabric under raised beds is fine and a fine idea. I have the same three raised beds that I have used for 4 seasons and they all have weed fabric in them. The plants grow just fine. The roots will grow right through the fabric. That is what is good about the fabric, it lets roots through, but when it comes to vegetation, it will stop anything.
    Why? Why? Why?

  8. #8
    Plinker

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    We are on our third year with the raised bed concept. Overall we have been very happy with the results. We continue to learn and adapt. We have twelve beds total, each bed is 4'x12', with the sides being 12" tall. I think you will find that the permanent grid boards will end up becoming a nuisance, we did. After the first year you will need to add compost to even things up, and the boards get in the way for that. Instead what we did was to drive upholstery tacks into the boards every 12", and run carpenters string from nail to nail to mark off the grids. In the fall, remove the string. In addition to ease, it does not look so busy. You will be surprised at how much dirt you will have to add later, so either start a replacement compost heap soon or be prepared to purchase additional compost later. These things have a drinking problem too. Being above ground, be prepared to water daily during the summer months. I second the concern of the weed barrier cloth underneath your bed. You may find that you want to either add height, or remove the cloth. The reason for the additional height is this; when you work the dirt, and it is level with the top of your 6" boards, some will spill over, making a mess outside your box. Going taller, you do not have to fill the box level with the top of the box to get the needed depth for root growth, and not being full, there is no spilled over dirt. Your six inches is certainly adequate for the shorter plants mentioned. The sweet corn is another issue. I have solved this problem as well, if you are interested, ask and I will post that as well. Your new bed looks great! I think your entire family will enjoy having it. Although it sounds easy, do not get discouraged if the first year is mostly spent learning, you are amoung the few that is actually getting their hands dirty. Stick with it and you will be amazed at what that little box will produce.

  9. #9
    Expert XtremeVel's Avatar

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    I used to container garden too before I built my raised beds. I also thought I was having great results. It wasn't until a few years after building the raised beds, I realized the difference between great results and unbelievable results.

    Now, if the roots of the crop actually do penetrate the barrier, then no worries on what I mentioned earlier. But, its only the weed seeds in the top couple of inchs I worry about anyhow. One of the several benefits of container / raised bed gardening is to prevent compaction, thus eliminating the need for tilling which brings the seeds upward where they can germinate. If the majority of weed seeds are in the top few inchs, I am curious as to why the author thinks he is better served placing a barrier 6 inchs deep rather than " top dressing " with some knd of organic matter, such as grass clippings, shredded leaves, shredded newspaper, ect...

    A great book I have found explaining the many benefits of a deeply dug garden is " The Vegetable Gardener's Bible ". In this , he uses the acronym " WORD " and explains all benefits. WORD = wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, Deeply dug soil.
    Semper Fi USMC 1983-87

  10. #10
    Marksman seamusalaska's Avatar

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    This is Indiana. You have to have tomatoes. I use 5 gallon buckets and mulch with plastic rods for them to be tied to. It's amazing how many tomatoes a person can get in a season. Each bucket can have a different type of tomato. I just have three and still have plenty to give to the neighbors.

    So it goes. -Vonnegut

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