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First SFG bed.

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First SFG bed.

Post  jblessing on 4/14/2013, 5:42 am

I'm excited; I just finished putting together my first SFG bed. It's a "standard" 4x4 with conduit trellis along one side. But I've also discovered a side-effect: paranoia. I now fear that some wild or domestic critter is going to come and dig around in it. Will probably purchase a couple more rebar pieces and another 5' piece of conduit and make a 2-and-a-half foot tall barrier of some sort around it. Will post pictures eventually, after I take a few. Smile

Mix is pretty standard, although I used a package of "organic compost" that looked like it was made with multiple ingredients and had a good light texture. 2 Cubic feet of compost, approx 2 cubic feet of peat moss (broken up) and approx 2 cub feet of vermiculite. I know, that doesn't quite equal 8 cubic feet, but it's close. Figure I can always mix up a bit more and add it later. But as it stands, I would just need 1 more cubic foot of moss to make an identical bed with the remaining mix ingredients I purchased.

Here's hoping it does so well that I can get some interest in it from the neighbors. Smile
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  Janas on 4/14/2013, 8:08 am

Good luck, JBlessing! This is my first year with SFG, too. I've done some early planting -- peas, arugula, mache, claytonia -- and will putting in more peas plus lettuce and other greens today as soon as I get off the PC. Like you, I'm hoping my neighbors are interested. I'm in a condo and many people would like to garden but think they don't have enough sun. They could be growing some awesome salads in SFGs!

Have fun!

sunny
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Great Start!

Post  kat51415 on 4/14/2013, 8:41 am

Getting started is always hardest. Last year was our first year. We learned so much just in the building, not to mention all that follows. We found that because we have such a large family and wanted enough to put up besides, that 10 4x4 squares didn't produce enough at one time to do both. This year, all the squares are dedicated to tomatoes. That's what we need the most of to can. Everything else is going in the ground, which we have improved greatly since last year. Now, if Mother Nature would make up her mind whether its winter or spring... Wink
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  jblessing on 4/15/2013, 3:13 pm

Well, I tried getting pictures, but my camera takes lousy pictures when outside.

I did forget to mention that I found a cheap way to do the corners of the trellis. Instead of conduit elbows, I used pvc elbows. I got the kind that slip on both sides (no threads). Realizing that the inside diameter of the pvc was greater than the outside diameter of the conduit, I went to the plumbing department and found that size #14 (if I remember correctly) "o" rings fit perfectly on the outside of the conduit. I had to use a screwdriver to push the o rings into the pvc elbow, but the result was a tight fit, and no drilling involved. Smile
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What is the bottom of SFG lined with?

Post  marie.pala.77 on 4/15/2013, 3:35 pm

Using a Mel's mix per book for our first SFG attempt. We have been planting tomatoes that do very well in a 4 x 2 foot planter. We created a 2 x 2 x 10 of mix. Was it necessary to place any type of barrier from the actual soil. My hubby put in plastic (for construction) on the bottom. He is now wondering if that was necessary. He thought he saw white plastic in one of the pictures. He planted the tomatoes yesterday. Should that be removed? He put in 2 early girls that do very well for us in San Francisco but are usually spaced 2ft apart. We will be planting other types of tomatoes this week when they arrive from Oregon. Can anyone advise? bounce
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  Goosegirl on 4/15/2013, 4:31 pm

Marie - A bottom is not necessary, but can and is used to keep out weeds or grass from growing up thru the MM or to keep out critters that can enter from underneath - critter control is usually chicken wire, hardware cloth, or plywood. If the plastic is solid, it may not allow drainage, but that can be solved by poking a rod or spike down thru the MM and thru the plastic in several areas.

GG - missing the CA spring, stuck in continuous spring snow.....

PS - welcome


Last edited by Goosegirl on 4/15/2013, 4:39 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : PS)
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  jblessing on 4/15/2013, 5:49 pm

@marie.pala.77 wrote:Using a Mel's mix per book for our first SFG attempt. We have been planting tomatoes that do very well in a 4 x 2 foot planter. We created a 2 x 2 x 10 of mix. Was it necessary to place any type of barrier from the actual soil. My hubby put in plastic (for construction) on the bottom. He is now wondering if that was necessary. He thought he saw white plastic in one of the pictures. He planted the tomatoes yesterday. Should that be removed? He put in 2 early girls that do very well for us in San Francisco but are usually spaced 2ft apart. We will be planting other types of tomatoes this week when they arrive from Oregon. Can anyone advise? bounce

I used weed cloth, stapled to the bottom of the boards. I, myself, wouldn't use plastic as it holds in water while the weed cloth allows drainage. Also I have concerns about chemicals/toxins leaching into the soil from the plastic.
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  jjlonsdale on 4/15/2013, 6:22 pm

@jblessing wrote:Realizing that the inside diameter of the pvc was greater than the outside diameter of the conduit, I went to the plumbing department and found that size #14 (if I remember correctly) "o" rings fit perfectly on the outside of the conduit. I had to use a screwdriver to push the o rings into the pvc elbow, but the result was a tight fit, and no drilling involved. Smile

Oh my goodness! jblessing, you're a genius. I constructed my first trellis this past weekend and it ended up taking four trips to three different stores! (Yep, had to hit Lowe's twice... The cashier said, "Weren't you here yesterday?" Rolling Eyes hehehe.) My main problem was that I wanted to use conduit for the sides and top, but couldn't find any connectors that would work. I considered the PVC ones but abandoned them for that very reason... Couldn't figure out a way to make it tight.

Your solution is brilliant and I will be stealing it!
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  jblessing on 4/18/2013, 6:05 am


Oh my goodness! jblessing, you're a genius. I constructed my first trellis this past weekend and it ended up taking four trips to three different stores! (Yep, had to hit Lowe's twice... The cashier said, "Weren't you here yesterday?" Rolling Eyes hehehe.) My main problem was that I wanted to use conduit for the sides and top, but couldn't find any connectors that would work. I considered the PVC ones but abandoned them for that very reason... Couldn't figure out a way to make it tight.

Your solution is brilliant and I will be stealing it!

Just look at the inside diameter of the O ring...make sure it matches the outer diameter of the conduit. The packages of O rings are easy to open (they aren't sealed) so if you bring or get a piece of conduit, you can try on the rings. There are 10 to a package, and I used two on each end of the elbow joint, except for one where I couldn't get both in. Turns out only one o ring appears to be necessary. One advantage to this setup is the trellis becomes rather easy to take apart if necessary. Smile

I got the idea for the O rings from the thread about making worm bins and people having trouble finding good spigots.
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Re: First SFG bed.

Post  jblessing on 4/26/2013, 5:40 pm

Just created my second square. Planted purple pole beans, green bush beans, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, oregano, onions, and more sunflowers. The first square has more beans, okra, romaine lettuce, carrots, sunflowers, strawberries, and cantaloupe, with the okra, cantaloupe, sunflowers and beans sprouting. Smile
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