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First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

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First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 2/23/2012, 6:44 pm

I'd love to get your feedback on the plans I have for my sfg. After
comparing costs of various materials and sizes of boxes, and really
needing to keep the costs down I think I've decided how I want to do
things, but I want to run it by those of you who have more experience.

First,
I've decided to use the 6' cedar pickets that I saw mentioned in
another post. I checked them out at Lowe's and they are very rough, not
nearly as nice as the cedar boards, but a lot cheaper. I calculated
costs on 3x6 boxes vs 4x4 or 4x8 and feel like the 3x6 will be most
economical for us. We need bottoms on our boxes, so I've decided to use
chicken wire to keep out the moles and weed cloth. Both of those items
are cheaper in 3' widths than 4', so the costs really start to be quite
different. Also, I expect to have trellises along one length of each
box since I like growing tomatoes and squash (I'd grow more if I had
more room), so I'm thinking that will make it easier for the children
and me to reach into the box from the other side, if it's only a couple
feet back.

Here are the plans I have come up with. Let me know if you see any problems with them.



Tomato

Tomato

Tomato

Tomato

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

Bell Pepper

Hot Pepper

Lettuce

Lettuce

Spinach

Spinach

Bell Pepper

Bell Pepper

Lettuce

Lettuce

Spinach

Spinach






Peas

Peas

Spaghetti
Squash

Spaghetti
Squash

Beans


Summer
Savory

Broccoli/Beans

Broccoli/Beans

Carrots

Nasturtiums



Beans



Broccoli/Beans

Broccoli/Beans

Broccoli/Beans

Carrots


Nasturtiums



Thanks for the help!
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  plantoid on 2/23/2012, 6:52 pm

Kate,

Is north side going to be at the top of each box ?.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  CindiLou on 2/23/2012, 6:58 pm

One idea, I usually grew nasturtiums in my beds also, but found out that if they get covered with the aphids or such it is a pain to work with. It is much easier I think to just have them in a pot you can move around. They get very large in MM! Just what I am going to try this year.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  quiltbea on 2/23/2012, 7:07 pm

If the top is north, then the layout is fine for what you want to grow.

Good luck to you and I commend you for cutting corners.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 2/23/2012, 7:23 pm

Yes, north is the top.

I'll think about moving the nasturtiums. I wouldn't mind getting a couple more squares, I'm just trying to keep the squash bugs off my spaghetti squash. Plus my girls will enjoy the flowers a lot.

Even with cutting corners, my calculations are that I'll spend $150 on the boxes, trellises and MM. + more for seeds/starts, hoses and other miscellaneous stuff.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  camprn on 2/23/2012, 7:25 pm

The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 2/23/2012, 9:10 pm

@camprn wrote:The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

haha, well, we'll see about that. I'm already thinking what I'd grow if I had twice as much space.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  camprn on 2/23/2012, 9:34 pm

@Kate888 wrote:
@camprn wrote:The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

haha, well, we'll see about that. I'm already thinking what I'd grow if I had twice as much space.
LOL, don't I know it. My first year I had four 4x4 beds. the next year I added three 4x6 and then found a place that had wooden shipping crates. Now I have boxes everywhere.

____________________________

41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 2/26/2012, 8:09 am

@CindiLou wrote:One idea, I usually grew nasturtiums in my beds also, but found out that if they get covered with the aphids or such it is a pain to work with. It is much easier I think to just have them in a pot you can move around. They get very large in MM! Just what I am going to try this year.

CindiLou,
Do you know how close the nasturtiums (or any other companion planting) needs to be to work?
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  laufenberga on 3/19/2012, 8:23 pm

This is a cool idea. I'm working on starting SFG and I found a good deal on some weed barrier that came in a 3' x 100' roll. I think I will follow your plan of 3x6 boxes and I won't have to cut extra for each box. I've been hoping to do this as cheap as possible because I'd rather spend more money on seeds than anything else. Also, I've been working on a 9'x12' green house that will end up only costing me around $50 to build. Thanks for the idea
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 3/19/2012, 10:08 pm

@laufenberga wrote:This is a cool idea. I'm working on starting SFG and I found a good deal on some weed barrier that came in a 3' x 100' roll. I think I will follow your plan of 3x6 boxes and I won't have to cut extra for each box. I've been hoping to do this as cheap as possible because I'd rather spend more money on seeds than anything else. Also, I've been working on a 9'x12' green house that will end up only costing me around $50 to build. Thanks for the idea

Thanks, but I want to point out that if the weed barrier is exactly 3' there's no overlap to staple to the wood, so you might want to make the box a little narrower. Otherwise you'll need 4' wide. We were frustrated that the 3' wide chicken wire was really only 34 1/2 - 35". In the end we had made it so the box was really about 3' 1" so it wouldn't have worked anyway.

There's always something like that I forget to calculate in when designing something.

Good luck!
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  laufenberga on 3/19/2012, 10:18 pm

Thanks for pointing that out, I'll have to modify the box to be a couple inches narrower...SSSHHH the plants won't have to know
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3x5 boxes

Post  DevinGoulding on 3/19/2012, 10:25 pm

I made my first boxes last year, 3x5. My reasons were similar, to cut costs with the weed cloth, and also found that for proper coverage we had to overlap a bit still. If it is done carefully, it works. At least with the stuff I bought.

As you'll see all over this site, don't skimp on the MM. It is SUPER expensive, but worth it. Vermiculite isn't cheap at all, at least in Chicago. However, worth every penny. I saved money by using cheap pine boards and went with cheap seeds last year. This year we sprung for the organic/heirloom varieties and spent much more.
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Buying cheap (inexpensive, that is...)

Post  tomperrin on 3/19/2012, 11:08 pm

Twice now I've purchased weed barrier at auctions, one of a nursery going out of business, and the other a market gardener who went to the great garden in the sky. Prices were really reasonable, although some lots were bid higher than retail. So it pays to know what the market price is. Also bear in mind that not all weed barriers are equal. Some will last four years, some will last only one.

In another thread, someone suggested using cardboard. I've done that on my potato bed and will do it for corn and asparagus since both are deep rooted.

I prefer 1" cedar for my boxes, but 2" wide pine is cheaper and more available. My first boxes were made of scrap lumber as was my pine box.

I bought most of my vermiculite last November, and got it cheap. I went back for more today, and found the price to be 50% greater. I guess it pays to buy in the off season.

Same thing with Peat Moss. Price at Home Depot last winter was $8.97 for 3.2 cu ft bale, now it's $9.97 but Lowe's currently matches HD's old price.

I'm real aggressive about buying my tools and supplies at auctions and yard sales. Fortunately, we don't need much more than a good trowel for the actual planting, but my spades and garden rakes used for making Mel's Mix were purchased very well used. While a spade or rake might go for $1.00 (or less sometimes) at auction, I had to pay $6.00 for a good manure fork. There is usually plenty of competition for pots and saucers, but every once in awhile I luck out and get a decent bargain.

Bird netting is cheaper by the yard than any other kind of netting I think.

Some seed purchased at the supermarket will probably work just as well as anything you are going to get at a seed store. For example, I bought organic potatoes last year, stored them over the winter, and planted them in the spring. A couple of bulbs of generic garlic were planted the Monday after Thanksgiving and are thriving today. Just planted some pearl onions from the supermarket. I have no idea if they will sprout, but it's worth the experiment.

And of course, home made compost is free.

The point is, SFG is as much about scrounging as it is about making MM. Don't cut corners on MM or its ingredients, but try not to pay full price retail + tax for anything else.

Tom
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/19/2012, 11:29 pm

@Kate888 wrote:
@camprn wrote:The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

haha, well, we'll see about that. I'm already thinking what I'd grow if I had twice as much space.

Exactly!

I had my boxes WAY overplanned. As I got closer to planting, I realized how I needed to completely rework the quantities. But you look like you've got that in spades already!

I don't see nasturtiums on your grid. And on your bottom box, the right side is cut off.

I got my original info on companion plants from Wikipedia. I am putting my nasturtiums with my brassica (cruciferous/cabbage) box.

I bought a different gardening book and it had a much larger info on companion plants.

When putting together your boxes remember the inside dimension and the outside dimension will be different, because of the thickness of the wood, and how you design it. Cloth materials may not be exactly 3', either. I've not bought any yet, but I've yet to have a tarp that is as large as it says it is. It's always and inch or so smaller that "cut" size.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  FamilyGardening on 3/19/2012, 11:45 pm

the nasturtiums love the MM....ours got so big we had to put up a tomato cage around it for it to climb up on....it was very very pretty....until....the aphids got to it....once they take over its over for your plant and they will move on to the next square......it was my tomato plant they decided to go for next.....its really gross too when you have to pull it out full of those nasty critters......the plant became very sticky....

so this year we are going to plant in pots on the side skirts of the garden area....that way we wont be inviting them into the garden box's....then we can move them to the garbage can when they get over ran with aphids....i have to say....they sure do their job well Very Happy

hugs

rose
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  landarch on 3/19/2012, 11:48 pm

@Kate888 wrote:
@camprn wrote:The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

haha, well, we'll see about that. I'm already thinking what I'd grow if I had twice as much space.

It will be worth it when you are not having to spend $7 per pound for tasteless grocery store tomatoes this summer.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/27/2012, 4:09 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:the nasturtiums love the MM....ours got so big we had to put up a tomato cage around it for it to climb up on....it was very very pretty....until....the aphids got to it....once they take over its over for your plant and they will move on to the next square......it was my tomato plant they decided to go for next.....its really gross too when you have to pull it out full of those nasty critters......the plant became very sticky....

so this year we are going to plant in pots on the side skirts of the garden area....that way we wont be inviting them into the garden box's....then we can move them to the garbage can when they get over ran with aphids....i have to say....they sure do their job well Very Happy

hugs

rose

How about using garden soap on the aphids? Or lady bugs?

Insecticidal soap is just a few drops of dish liquid in a spayer filled with water. Bugs don't like the enzymes in the dish soap.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  Kate888 on 3/27/2012, 5:11 pm

hmmm, I never got e-mail notices about these follow-up posts, so I just realized there was more. Sorry.

I have decided not to put the nasturtiums in the bed. I'll put them in a planter nearby (still looking for a cheap planter.) So 2 more squares for broccoli and carrots when they're done. Yay!
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/9/2012, 9:53 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:the nasturtiums love the MM....ours got so big we had to put up a tomato cage around it for it to climb up on....it was very very pretty....until....the aphids got to it....once they take over its over for your plant and they will move on to the next square......it was my tomato plant they decided to go for next.....its really gross too when you have to pull it out full of those nasty critters......the plant became very sticky....

so this year we are going to plant in pots on the side skirts of the garden area....that way we wont be inviting them into the garden box's....then we can move them to the garbage can when they get over ran with aphids....i have to say....they sure do their job well Very Happy

hugs

rose

rose...did you see this post from Plantoid? http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10435p15-friday-rookie-topic-carrots. His post is on pg 2, about 1/3rd down.
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Re: First Year - Building boxes, garden plan

Post  TN_GARDENER on 4/10/2012, 6:18 am

@landarch wrote:
@Kate888 wrote:
@camprn wrote:The upside is you wont spend as much next year! cheers But seriously, I understand. Keep squirreling away the pennies. They add up. Wink

haha, well, we'll see about that. I'm already thinking what I'd grow if I had twice as much space.

It will be worth it when you are not having to spend $7 per pound for tasteless grocery store tomatoes this summer.

I don't think I'd pay $7 at the grocery for a tomato. Especially since there farmers' markets nearby? And some of our grocery stores do buy from local farms.

Our county has no less than 3 a week & each of the surrounding counties have one every week. There are even a few folks that sell stuff out of their truck on the side of the highway.

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