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Building the bed myself

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Building the bed myself

Post  stephproffitt on 6/26/2012, 3:55 pm

Hi,
I am new to SFG. I have one bed made and currently growing broccoli, squash and peppers. It is not absolutely correct since I got really excited and jumped in before I got the book from the library (LONG wait list). The only things really not correct is that I put the same crops right next to each other, but everyone is growing and looking fabulous so I am not too worried.

Now it is time for me to start planning my second season garden and I am going to build another bed (or two!) and am very, very confused. I have the book now and I have read this particular section multiple times. I also have rearranged the pieces of wood myself a ton of times. You see, the problem I am having is that my garden is not SQUARE and it is getting to the part of me that is anal over things like this.

Unless, myself and all of my family members are completely over looking something, there is no way to screw together four pieces of wood that are each 4 feet long and have an INSIDE planting area that is also 4 feet by 4 feet. You will always have at least two sides losing an inch, which makes the planting area 3 ft and 11 inches by 3 ft and 11 inches.

Am I missing something or are we just "forgetting" that extra inch?
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building the bed myself

Post  Frenchbean on 6/26/2012, 4:05 pm

I am so glad YOU asked this question as I was scared to ask Embarassed I only found this site 2 days ago and I've not build my beds yet. We will learn together.

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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  llama momma on 6/26/2012, 4:17 pm

The inside measurements for planting veggies will be whatever it is and when all the plants are full and totally covering up the grid anyway, perfectionism is lost under all those gorgeous vegetables and no one will ever know! Honest!!!

Just to go over the the process, this is what works for me---
Look at your 1st piece of wood: one end is going on the Inside of the square box. The opposite end will go on the Outside of the square. Period. Do exactly the same thing for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pieces of wood as you attach each corner. Then it will be as perfect as can be! Or as perfect as the 4 pieces were cut to begin with.
The boxes will be square enough! And if you use critter cages like me, they will be made the same way and fit so close to perfect that you will be quite satisfied.
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  mhjr5500 on 6/26/2012, 4:20 pm

you want 2 pieces 4ft and 2 pieces 4ft 3 and 1/2 in. put the 2 4ft pieces inside the longer ones. then you have 4ft by 4ft
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  boffer on 6/26/2012, 4:23 pm

Welcome to the forum. We have a saying here: closies count! Your dimensions make each square ¼ inch shy. Don't worry about it. A little bigger or smaller will make no difference.

It's a matter of economy. To get an honest 48 inches inside, you would have to buy 10 foot boards, then you'd have short leftover pieces. Using an 8 footer, there's no scraps.

From your dimensions, I can tell that you are using a 1x. For those of us who use 2x, our inside dimension is even less. No problem.
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  CindiLou on 6/26/2012, 4:33 pm

Yup I use 2x ... squares are fine lol.... just stagger the corners the same on each corner and your good to go...or just do them any old way..there is someone on here that did square foot in a round bed! Figure that one out
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  Cincinnati on 6/26/2012, 5:11 pm

stephproffitt wrote:...

Am I missing something or are we just "forgetting" that extra inch?

If you buy 8' long 2x6's, then the boards are cut 4' long. If you stagger the joints, then the outside box dimensions are (4 ft + 1.5 Inches) square. The inside dimensions are (4 ft - 1.5 inches) square. That is: 46.5 inches square / 4 squares = 11+5/8" per planting square. Each nominal 12" square is diminished by 3/16 of an inch on each side. I promise you the plants won't miss an extra 3/16 of an inch over every 12" square.

I make my boxes 4 ft square on the outer dimension. I cut the 8ft boards into 46.5" boards and stagger every joint to get a perfect square with equal length boards. This allows me to trim the Mill ends off the boards. I use weed blocker cloth on the bottom of my boxes. It comes 4' wide standard width. It will not work on boxes with a 4ft square interior dimension.

This is a long reply to say, just get the squares close. Don't worry about what area the grid blocks or the loss by a box that is not exact dimension. Unless you take pleasure in such details.


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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  rowena___. on 6/26/2012, 5:44 pm

adding on to Cincinnati's reply, when you lay your grid, don't bother with measuring exact 12" squares. use a quilter's trick: find the center of each side, and put down the grid board for that mark. then find the centers of each quadrant and put down the grid board. none of your squares will be exactly 12", but all of them will be square and equal.
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  TN_GARDENER on 6/27/2012, 6:34 am

stephproffitt wrote:You see, the problem I am having is that my garden is not SQUARE and it is getting to the part of me that is anal over things like this.

I think you've received good advice on the inside / outside box measurement subject.

What's up with the squareness of your garden that's giving you so much problem?

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type A too

Post  hruten on 6/27/2012, 8:21 am

If you really want to be particular about the right angles....

Your local hardware/big box store should have a metal strapping section. Many carryhardware to join at right angles. It is all galvanized and made for heavy construction.

My hubby and I are engineers so I understand that type A stuff. However, I lean more toward "git 'er done!" Smile
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  TN_GARDENER on 6/27/2012, 8:41 am

hruten wrote:If you really want to be particular about the right angles....

Your local hardware/big box store should have a metal strapping section. Many carryhardware to join at right angles. It is all galvanized and made for heavy construction.

My hubby and I are engineers so I understand that type A stuff. However, I lean more toward "git 'er done!" Smile

Yes.
You can also use wood blocks to make the joints. Me, I wouldn't sweat it. Heaven knows plenty of folks have had great success with wood blocks on the inside of their corner joints, which also takes up growing space.


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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  Cincinnati on 6/27/2012, 9:19 am

rowena___. wrote:...use a quilter's trick: find the center of each side, and put down the grid board for that mark. then find the centers of each quadrant and put down the grid board. none of your squares will be exactly 12", but all of them will be square and equal.

That's how I do it. Whoda thot I could be a quilter too!

However, my next boxes will have a grid of pvc pipe that I will use for irrigation. I ran a test in one of my boxes and it worked beautifully when connected to a modified 5 gal bucket and gravity fed the system from about 5 ft high. I will convert all my boxes between my summer and fall garden. If you're a type A, this will be right up your alley. You will need to calculate the grid sizes almost exactly.

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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  rowena___. on 6/27/2012, 9:48 am

Cincinnati wrote:However, my next boxes will have a grid of pvc pipe that I will use for irrigation. I ran a test in one of my boxes and it worked beautifully when connected to a modified 5 gal bucket and gravity fed the system from about 5 ft high.

what a fantastic idea! please keep us posted--i'm going to follow this idea closely. thank you for sharing it with us!
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  boffer on 6/27/2012, 11:03 am

Hoggar has one in operation

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t11301-pvc-watering-grid

I believe there's a Foundation associate in Florida who sells them.
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  Cincinnati on 6/27/2012, 11:08 am

rowena___. wrote:
Cincinnati wrote:However, my next boxes will have a grid of pvc pipe that I will use for irrigation. I ran a test in one of my boxes and it worked beautifully when connected to a modified 5 gal bucket and gravity fed the system from about 5 ft high.

what a fantastic idea! please keep us posted--i'm going to follow this idea closely. thank you for sharing it with us!

I thought it was an original idea. Then I discovered it's been done by others. The systems I've seen in this forum were connected to a home water supply. Some used several commercial spray nozzles per grid.

My idea was much more simple with the plan to keep it inexpensive. I'd venture to say it's still not original — use a rain barrel or at least a bucket system so that the chlorine could evaporate before I put it on my MM.

This greatly reduced my watering time and served as a grid too.

It worked well. I will post some photos and start a new thread when I get a chance.

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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  boffer on 6/27/2012, 11:27 am

Cinci, please do, the lack of pressure while using rain barrels seems to be a problem for a lot of folks. 5 feet of head is still not much pressure. How do you handle it?
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Re: Building the bed myself

Post  Cincinnati on 6/27/2012, 11:49 am

boffer wrote:... 5 feet of head is still not much pressure. How do you handle it?

Boffer, I get a stream that shoots out about 4-6 inches from each side of the grid. I haven't timed it, but it seems that the 5 gal bucket empties in less than a minute.

I'll post the photos of what I did in one of my beds.

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