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My first 28

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My first 28

Post  EricS on 8/3/2013, 11:59 pm

28 square feet that is.

I got into this by accident. My wife has bugged me for a few years for a raised garden, and we had a small spot in the back yard that's been an eye sore. So I looked at a few pictures of gardens online, got my tape measure, picked up some lumber and went and built a garden to fit the spot we have at 7' x 4'. I made it 16.5" tall because I thought that would look good with our nearby landscaping. 

Then I went to home depot to buy soil - and realized I didn't know what I should fill it with. So I googled it and in the process discovered square foot gardening. Showed it to my wife and we decided yeah lets do it that way. it was luck that I had built the garden at exactly 7' x 4', but it was taller than most SFGs.

Due to our location, our sfg ended up against a fence- which does make reaching the back squares challenging. But I didn't want to compromise on the space. We'll just live with the occasional hassle.

So I came on here and asked a thousand questions about compost. I decided to fill the bottom 4.5" of the bed with sand, then a full 12" of Mel's Mix. I managed to find 5 local sources of what seem to be pretty good compost, ordered coarse vermiculite online and got some peat moss from home depot. It was a bit of work rolling out about 26 cu ft of mels mix, and when I put it in it ended up about 2" below the top. I suspect because of the height it compressed some. So rather than drive all around and get more of my compost sources, I went to Lowes and bought 7 bags of commercial Mel's Mix. It looked identical to my soil, which is a good sign I guess. I topped it off with that.

Someone else had posted a grid-based PVC sprinkler system so I decided to build one of those, though I did mine slightly different. Pics below. It works great. I have it tied into my sprinkler system, so it turns on when the sprinkler turns every night. I have a valve to adjust the pressure as needed.

We just planted today. We did it naively- I got a whole bunch of different veggies. I'm sure some of them will not grow this late in the year- but this is California we could have a long summer so who knows. In the Spring I'll be more methodical and will probably start the seeds indoors. But for now I'll just take whatever works. Mostly I wanted peas. For me there's nothing better than green peas out of the garden - fond memories from my grandparents farm. So I have included 7 different kinds of green peas. I have some trellises I'll add later.

Anyway- here's the pics.

Here's the garden - I need to add some mulch and do some other work around it so its a bit rough looking now. Nothing is growing yet of course it was just planted today.

Here's a closer view of the watering system:


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Re: My first 28

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/4/2013, 3:18 am

Handsome looking box! I envision another trellis in your future ...

Did you really fill the whole thing up with Mel's Mix? That's quite a deep box.
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Re: My first 28

Post  camprn on 8/4/2013, 7:13 am

Well done! please send more pics when you can. Also, my advice is don't wait too long for the trellis. Early management of sprawling plants will keep your  garden in order and looking good. You will also find some settling of the MM soon. When that happens, just top off with compost.

Have you set up your home composting station? That is the other very important half of SFG, homemade compost.


41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.

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



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Re: My first 28

Post  greatgranny on 8/4/2013, 10:28 am

That is wonderful. Wish now I would have made my squares deeper. You are blessed to live in a climate where you can garden all year.

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Re: My first 28

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