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Second try on grids.

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Second try on grids.

Post  MidTNJasonF on 4/4/2010, 7:38 pm

Ok I understand that the grids really are a definitive part of the Square Foot method. I am however a bit of a heretic in that I went most of last year sans grids. I started with good intentions with my grids made from twine stretched across my boxes. When they deteriorated and broke within a few months I just removed what was left of them and had no issues. My boxes were marked along the edges in one foot increments so it was still easy to space things out just fine.

I am really trying to be a good boy this year though and try the grids again. I took some left over bamboo stakes I had in the garage and cut them to length. They are cheap an in this case free since I was no longer using them. I laid them out in my grid pattern and used masons string to tie the joints together. I then used heavy staples to attach a length of the masons string to the boxes and tied down the ends of the grid to the boxes. This way they are removable if I need to do that but also built out of something a bit more sturdy than good old twine. I like the end result so on with the pictures.



This bed has Rosemary and butter crunch lettuce already and was just seeded with radish, little gem lettuce, giant caesar lettuce, mesculin greens, paris island romaine lettuce, and salad bowl lettuce. It will also have tomatoes across the back under the trellis frame once they seedlings are a little further along.



This is one of my yet to have a grid boxes. I threw some merigolds in the corner and it has onion, shallot, and garlic currently planted but not yet up.



Just a little overview of the boxes so far this Spring.


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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  boffer on 4/4/2010, 7:57 pm

Hey, it's looking good. Those are going to be some sturdy trellises. Is that straw you're using for mulch?

You're right, if you're not using grids, it's not SFG. But sometimes........

I planted two boxes with spuds; I used string for the grids while I planted. After I was done planting, I took the string off. I figure I won't be planting anything else in those boxes till next year, and they would only get in the way as the plants grew. I think it's a fair compromise!

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  MidTNJasonF on 4/4/2010, 8:05 pm

Yes straw for mulch. It seems to be working fine at keeping things moist and somewhat protected. I just brush back the hay and do my planting then sprinkle the hay back over the square.

Those trellis frames held up well last year. They are just screwed into my boxes with decking screws. There is also a cross beam at the top as well. I had some free 2x4's that were left over from some shipping crates at work. They held 144" steel bar stock so I was able to get two 6 foot side beams per board. I had to rip them in half at work though since I could not get a 12 foot board home in the car.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  jerzyjen on 4/4/2010, 8:29 pm

I did the bamboo tied together method last year and they held up pretty well throughout the whole season. Over the winter (in the shed) a few of them broke and they are starting to look ratty so I'm not using them this year, going to the string method.

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I used venetian blind slats..

Post  quiltbea on 4/9/2010, 12:31 am

I picked up a venetian blind from Salvation Army store for a buck and used those to make my grids. I just laid rocks on them in a couple of places. Worked out well all last year.

I cut smaller sections and used them as plant markers. I got a lot of use from that buck and still have slats I haven't even used yet.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  MidTNJasonF on 4/9/2010, 9:39 am

I should also mention that I decided on solid grids of bamboo or
similar to help keep my two small dogs out of the beds. They are big
enough to jump up into the beds to sniff around in the good smelling
compost but do not know what to do with the grid. When I tried the
twine method they just jumped up anyway and got tangled up in the
twine. They just broke it and ran back out. The bamboo stakes are much
more of a deterrent since they can not walk on them and they are just
to big to fit in one square.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  cliftyman on 4/9/2010, 9:54 am

I grabbed furring strips at Home Depot.... They sell them for nothing in packs of 8 and they are really sturdy...

I took my air nailer and shot a long staple into them where they intersected... took about 5 minutes to build the grids this way.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  silverbug on 4/17/2010, 8:26 am

I bought a bundle of wood lathe at Home Depot and made mine with screws and nuts. Easy, and they collapse for storing over winter, however, the moisture, and just being out there and held up by the box itself, they're sagging a bit in the middle, but honestly, that's anal perfectionism talking because they look great. I haven't secured them to the box, as we've had some WICKED wind going in the past couple weeks and I don't see them blowing off any time soon. The only issue is I keep kinda shoving them about as I work in the garden, but who cares, right? I keep debating whether I want to secure them or not, but I hesitate, because I like being able to lift/move it to work the soil with my hands.

Your bamboo looks perty. Wink

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Rocks!! Thank you!

Post  organicgardeningzen.com on 4/17/2010, 8:42 pm

Rocks! Thank you! I had a heck of a time with my venetian grids blowing around last year! My boxes are made of Trex deck planks and so don't hold screws very well, so string isn't an option for me. I looked at buying wooden lathe (sp?) but hated to spend $14 when I can pick up old vinyl blinds for free...Rocks are free too and should solve the problem nicely!

@quiltbea wrote:I picked up a venetian blind from Salvation Army store for a buck and used those to make my grids. I just laid rocks on them in a couple of places. Worked out well all last year.

I cut smaller sections and used them as plant markers. I got a lot of use from that buck and still have slats I haven't even used yet.

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silverbug, i have a question...

Post  peoriagrammy on 1/28/2012, 8:48 pm

I just read your post about using wood lathe for your grids. I just built my grids out of lathe but, alas, the newbie in me did not consider that when I finished, my blocks were no longer square feet but more like 10 1/2 " squares. In case you don't follow...I drilled my wood every 12 inches, not accounting for the width of the lathe. I'm considering redrilling mine so they are indeed square feet...however I'm also considering just leaving them for this year and adjusting my planting plan. Are your's square feet? Do you have any advice for a newbie??? Sad

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/28/2012, 9:02 pm

peoriagrammy,

Yes, the lathe does take up some room and your squares are not 12 inches inside the grid,

but in the root zone the squares are still their full 12 inches.

I made adjustments to the plant layout, just putting the seeds closer to the lathe. (does that make sense? I know what I mean, but can't figure how to say it Embarassed )

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  shannon1 on 1/29/2012, 1:41 am

I still use string:twisted:

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  llama momma on 1/29/2012, 2:38 am

In the past I used plastic coated clothes line and it unraveled from the screws and washers.

Now I use inexpensive low tech carpenter shims. Simply push shims down on the skinny side. Place and remove shims easily and no tools needed. My squares retain nearly a full square foot size too.
I'll never use anything else again. Smile

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/29/2012, 3:34 am

@llama momma wrote:Now I use inexpensive low tech carpenter shims. Smile

In my own humble opinion, regardless of the type of wood used, the grids always look best when made from it, to match the box (like the one pictured) Wink Unfortunately, possessing a severe case of OCD, I want to have exactly 12”x12” for each square, but using wood for the grids really cuts into the usable space on the surface and then of course, I’d have to make the boxes larger than 48” x 48” which seems like a terrible waste of resources and additional cost.

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Thanks, furbalsmom and llama momma

Post  peoriagrammy on 1/29/2012, 12:13 pm

Furbalsmom, thanks for the wisdom. It is indeed still 12x12 under the wood so I'll just adjust my planting plan a little when it matters.

LLama momma, shims...great idea...for the next time! LOL What lengths do them come in? Your garden is beautiful!

Thanks so much, ladies. Happy gardening!

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  llama momma on 1/29/2012, 12:57 pm

Peoriagrammy, thank you!
Carpenter shims are about 15 inches long. Push the skinny side into Mels Mix. The skinny side of shims taper from 1/4 inch at one end to 1/16" inch at the opposite end. When I needed to snap off the skinny end to custom fit the box, I held the flat end over the edge of the wood box, push down to snap it off and it was very easy.
I like this because there are no tools or supplies needed for this simple and inexpensive grid.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  Chopper on 1/29/2012, 1:42 pm

FWIW I found a bag of green painted bamboo 4' lengths that I put together using metal twist ties. The beauty there was that I could easily cut them as my bed was not quite 4' wide. Longer lasting than twine and a tad easier than wood slats.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  plantoid on 1/29/2012, 3:52 pm

Chopper ,
It's a dodddle setting up when you have top edge brick work like yours & mine .
I've just won a coil of 30 mtrs (34 (ish) yards ) of white net curtain wire on eBay UK which is a coiled steel spring covered in hard wearing PVC all for £7 ( about ten dollars delivered ).

As it's only 4 mm in diameter I'm hoping for a good pattern layout .
I'll be fixing it to stay put using 5 inch " U " or "P" shaped stakes of galv wire or maybe use modified 9 inch seed labels .

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  camprn on 1/29/2012, 4:54 pm

@plantoid wrote:I've just won a coil of 30 mtrs (34 (ish) yards ) of white net curtain wire on eBay UK which is a coiled steel spring covered in hard wearing PVC all for £7 ( about ten dollars delivered ).

As it's only 4 mm in diameter I'm hoping for a good pattern layout .
I'll be fixing it to stay put using 5 inch " U " or "P" shaped stakes of galv wire or maybe use modified 9 inch seed labels .

Very Happy

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  Chopper on 1/29/2012, 5:34 pm

@camprn wrote:
@plantoid wrote:I've just won a coil of 30 mtrs (34 (ish) yards ) of white net curtain wire on eBay UK which is a coiled steel spring covered in hard wearing PVC all for £7 ( about ten dollars delivered ).

As it's only 4 mm in diameter I'm hoping for a good pattern layout .
I'll be fixing it to stay put using 5 inch " U " or "P" shaped stakes of galv wire or maybe use modified 9 inch seed labels .

Very Happy

Haha. I am having a hard time with the visual picture too. Would love to see it in action. We are simple folk here - and visual learners. Smile

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Amazed...

Post  peoriagrammy on 1/29/2012, 9:07 pm

I am totally amazed at the ingenious ideas everyone has for how to make grids. Bamboo sticks, shims...who'd a thunk!! Some of my beds are also brick, and yes it does add one more element to work around.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  Squat_Johnson on 1/30/2012, 11:59 am

I have tried several different things, but have decided that string is the easiest to deal with. It has the added advantage of taking up very little precious space.

The one trick is to put screws or nails on the side of the board, not the top. You can still sit or kneel on the side.

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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  plantoid on 1/30/2012, 3:01 pm

Whilst waiting for the postie to deliver my net curtain wire I thought I'd tease you with a picture of some coiled up .

It is a bit like bicycle brake cable covering and lays fairly straight when it's uncoiled .

Anybody use the grids on their front of the house flower gardens that have all sorts of plants bulbs , corms & tubers in them ?




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Re: Second try on grids.

Post  Chopper on 1/30/2012, 3:36 pm

@Squat_Johnson wrote:I have tried several different things, but have decided that string is the easiest to deal with. It has the added advantage of taking up very little precious space.
.

That was my thought and although I knew I would have to replace it yearly I found a problem that is unique to those with year round gardens and that is that when I went to redo them, I had things growing in squares so it was hard to work around them. Had it been an empty box it might not have been so awkward, but it was also an extra chore for which I was not terribly enthusiastic and at that moment vowed that when I got in my next douse I would use more permanent grids. FWIW.

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