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Longevity of Table Top Boxes

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Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/9/2012, 12:56 pm

I have a friend in Oregon who manages a community garden. I keep telling him he's working too hard. When he recently e-mailed that 30" is a lot of dirt, I responded with pictures of our TTs. Of course, I'm trying to convert him to Mel's Mix, or at least straight compost.

His response was to say that he could easily build somthing similar (true), but that he thought the bottoms would only last about three years.

What is the experience of those in the PNW?
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  martha on 4/9/2012, 1:00 pm

Boffer, where are you? You are needed!
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  gwennifer on 4/9/2012, 1:10 pm

I know boffer says he uses hardware cloth lined with landscape fabric for his box bottoms instead of plywood because of our climate. You have to have supports for the hardware cloth to keep it from sagging still of course.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  boffer on 4/9/2012, 1:56 pm

Donna, if your friend is thinking about plywood bottoms, I agree with him.

Like gwennifer said, all my TTs have hardware cloth/weedblock bottoms. My oldest are five years old and going strong. I tried to get a picture of the bottom, but they're covered with a layer of moss! No biggie, it will die off this summer.

Here's a few ideas about how to make them. More importantly, some pictures of what not to do.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/9/2012, 2:23 pm

Boffer,

Thanks a million!

However, I have a dumb question: what is hardware cloth? Does it drain?
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  Hoggar on 4/9/2012, 2:40 pm

Donna this is Hardware cloth.

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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/9/2012, 3:14 pm

So.... Hardware cloth + weed cloth = solid-enough bottom for table-tops? I just want to make sure I understand correctly.

Thanks again!
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  Hoggar on 4/9/2012, 3:50 pm

My boxes are on the ground but I have the Hardware cloth / weed cloth combo
on the bottom and it held when I had to lift my boxes up on blocks to put plastic
under them to stop the Star of Bethlehem weeds in my yard from coming up
through the bottom.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2012, 7:56 pm

donna

My TT are very similar to boffer's wooden ones. I have no sagging at all. (I don't have access to welding equipment, yet)

Hardware cloth plus weedcloth plus 2X2 supports across the bottom of the TT will easily hold fully saturated MM and plants.

Here on the Southern Oregon Coast, we had 20.1 inches of rain in March and the TTs are doing great.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  gwennifer on 4/10/2012, 7:29 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:So.... Hardware cloth + weed cloth = solid-enough bottom for table-tops?

No, you need supports for the hardware cloth so it won't begin to sag. You line the hardware cloth with landscape fabric to hold in the Mel's Mix. Furbalsmom has some great pictures of how she built hers I thought? And boffer's link too shows you the do's and don'ts of table tops.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/10/2012, 10:50 pm

This particular box was made of cedar, 4 ft X 4 ft by 10 inches high. The box was built with tenon legs made of treated 4X4 sign posts. Cedar 2X2s were used for cross supports, secured in hangers like you use for joists.



Then installed hardware cloth on top of the cross supports attached with screws and big flat washers. Weedcloth was added once the TT was placed in the garden area. Weedcloth was stapled to the inside of the box.



Finished box

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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/11/2012, 12:51 pm

My friend Walt in Oregon says, "Thanks for all the info! With the detailed photos and instructions, I could now make those boxes easily."


I hope he will do so. It's difficult to teach row gardeners new tricks. He has seen my low-light SFG and declared the results to be marvellous.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  boffer on 4/11/2012, 1:20 pm

Neato!

Step 2: get him to read the book

Step 3: get him to join the forum!
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  plantoid on 4/11/2012, 6:13 pm

Step 3 :- Get him to read the section for " Experienced gardeners " on the right of the home page and click on the link at the end of the paragraph ..it will save him lots of heataches.
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Re: Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/12/2012, 11:26 am

I've been trying to get him to read the book for some time now but think he may be about ready to do so.

He's been to the forum recently, so I'll certainly encourage him to join--if he hasn't already done so.

Hopefully, he will become an apostate row gardener!
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