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Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  rabbithutch on 2/10/2014, 11:12 pm

@sanderson wrote:The metal tubes are 8' lengths of electrical conduit for new trellises for cantaloupe, winter squash and small watermelons.  I'll be posting photos when it stops raining and I can get them assembled.  I found out that 5' beginner trellises in the ANSFG book were too short for vining beans, snow peas, and melons.  Even my one giant Roma grew to 8'-10' tall and needed extra high support.  PS,  everything, even the giant tomato, were grown in 6" of MM with weed fabric on the bottom.

Can I make one more pitch / plead about not blending the lower dirt and the upper new MM??  Your finished boxes will be 13" tall.  Allow 6" for MM, at least 1" for mulch, leaving 6" to fill at the bottom.  Depending on where you gather the garden dirt, you may accidentally introduce root starter weeds and other weed seeds.  A barrier of weed cloth, newspapers or cardboard really should be laid on top of the native dirt.  Or, put a vertical divider on one of the boxes, filling one half like I described and the other half with 12" of MM (with weed fabric underneath).  You will then have a dedicated area of a few square feet for deep root crops.


Thank you, sanderson!

It is my plan (for now) to put the garden soil - which I will buy from a supplier to landscapers and professional plant installers - in the lower half of my beds and keep the top half of their depth for MM.  I do NOT plan to mix the soil and the MM.

I've had great success in the past with just garden soil and chemical (I know) fertilizer in beds about 10" deep.  This will be my first attempt at using a soil-less mix unless you count the Miracle-Gro soil-less mix that I have been buying for years for out potted plants.  I don't know what it's ingredients are, off hand, but I do know that it incorporates either vermiculite or perlite.

Did I guess correctly about your irrigation system?


Last edited by rabbithutch on 2/10/2014, 11:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  rabbithutch on 2/10/2014, 11:16 pm

@boffer wrote:
@rabbithutch wrote:...May I take this chance to ask about TTs?  I saw your gallery and really liked the metal framing you made for your TTs.  I might try that idea after I get my feet wet in ground level SFGs.  When you make them, what size hardware cloth do you use?  I have some 1/2" and some 1/4" and wondered if the opening size makes any difference.  Also, does it matter what sort of weed block cloth you put over the hardware cloth?
Chicken wire wasn't strong enough; ¼ inch was overkill; ½ inch was just right.  

Any type of weed cloth should work.  One member switched to 6 mil plastic instead of weed cloth to slow down the high evaporation rate he was getting in his climate.  I've retro-fitted some of my boxes with  1 inch foil-faced foamboard in place of the weed cloth to see if it would keep my MM a little warmer  during my typically cool summer nights.


Thanks, boffer!

I suspect that evaporation is going to be a huge problem here in Texas during the summer; so I think I might try heavy duty poly, too.  We have high heat and strong winds persistent winds. 

I have a spot where I've been benching some potted plants that might just be re-purposed for a TT box about 8' long and 2' wide.  It is in the perfect spot for most of my herbs because it is just a few steps outside the kitchen door.  In this one, I plan to use all MM and no top soil and keep it at the depth of a single 2x8.

Thanks again.
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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  sanderson on 2/11/2014, 1:44 am

RH,  Yes, the black tubes are 1/4" drip irrigation.  I found Drip (not laser) lines at DripWorks.com  The drip holes are spaced 6" apart and I put 2 lines across each square, which means there are 4 little drippers.  Without mulch on top, only the nearest areas were wet all the way through.  With mulch, the MM stayed moist through out. Many gardening centers carry the 12" spaced laser or even some drip. But I wanted drip, drip, not laser sprays, and doing SFG, we plant closely.

My first dripline:   I over did it adding the middle line which ended up under the grid line.


After that, I made the drips with only 2 lines across each square.  This is April 27, 2013, as I was starting up, each square with a different veggie, in order to experiment. You can see the 1/2 supply line in the back of the 2nd photo. It runs all the way around the back perimeter of the backyard and I can tie into it where ever I need to.
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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  sanderson on 2/11/2014, 3:59 am

RH,  I just came across this older topic on TT.  Boffer posted it.

"Cool idea! A while back, in another thread, we were playing with numbers, and determined that a 6 inch 4x4 box full of saturated Mel's Mix weighed in the 250-300 pound range. That gives you a rough idea of how much weight the table needs to support"
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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  rabbithutch on 2/11/2014, 11:44 am

@sanderson wrote:RH,  I just came across this older topic on TT.  Boffer posted it.

"Cool idea! A while back, in another thread, we were playing with numbers, and determined that a 6 inch 4x4 box full of saturated Mel's Mix weighed in the 250-300 pound range. That gives you a rough idea of how much weight the table needs to support"

Again, more great information.  Thank you, sanderson!!!

My bench is made with 2x4s and will carry the weight quite well, I think, even in my box is closer to 8" deep.  The area at 2'x8' will be the same.

Thank you, again!
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Re: Looking for Feedback - New SFG'r

Post  Marc Iverson on 2/11/2014, 2:01 pm

@sanderson wrote:Can I make one more pitch / plead about not blending the lower dirt and the upper new MM?? Your finished boxes will be 13" tall. Allow 6" for MM, at least 1" for mulch, leaving 6" to fill at the bottom. Depending on where you gather the garden dirt, you may accidentally introduce root starter weeds and other weed seeds. A barrier of weed cloth, newspapers or cardboard really should be laid on top of the native dirt. Or, put a vertical divider on one of the boxes, filling one half like I described and the other half with 12" of MM (with weed fabric underneath). You will then have a dedicated area of a few square feet for deep root crops.


Ah, now I see why you were so set on not blending the soils -- because you were thinking of using weed and/or hardware cloth.

Of course, the cloth could be set a little lower than the actual MM layer, allowing room to blend the soils when you want a deeper bed but don't want to fill the whole thing with MM or make top hats ... but it's true that you might find some weeds in the mix that way, though buried quite deep.
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