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Adventures in Table Top

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/21/2015, 8:29 am

@sanderson wrote:For elevated raised beds (like table tops or set on boards, pavers, blocks, etc) the quality doesn't seem to be as important.  At least, I should say, it has worked for me.  I used the lesser quality when they were on the dirt and then reused them as "Mel's Mix Keeper-inners."

Thanks Madam Admin Very Happy

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  boffer on 4/21/2015, 9:47 am

You can get a description of weed cloth quality here, but it looks like they only sell in bulk.  We've received excellent service from them for over 20 years.

I agree with sanderson's comment.  Also, I have found that a 6 foot wide roll is more user friendly than a 4 foot roll.  The 4 foot stuff always seemed to be a few inches short when working with 4 foot boxes.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ps1914 on 4/21/2015, 1:17 pm

This is a most interesting post! Thank you to the op for all the pictures. Most helpful! I am in the process of cleaning out all our bed that we made the mistake of putting on the ground too. I'd never do that again! (although I am thinking I might leave the 2 deeper ones hubby built me for potatoes, carrots, etc on the ground, not sure yet). 

After reading this entire thread today, I have a question for the op or anyone that knows... I understand why you painted the boxes (so they last longer I assume) then you put plastic down so the MM wouldn't come in contact with the paint, makes sense to me but I am still confused on these elevated beds or table tops as you call them, why did you also put weed barrier in it? I can't see how it can still drain with the plastic liner in it. I see where you tested it and it drained but how? Actually I guess I won't need the plastic liner since my boxes are not painted and I have already used them for between 3 and 4 years now I think (times goes too fast!) and I don't think paint would stick to them anyway lol Just curious! 

Also wondering what folks do for the legs when raising 4x4 boxes that were already used?? Just trying to figure out what we have to get to get these boxes elevated off the ground and away from this awful crabgrass/quackgrass or whatever this nasty stuff that took over my boxes is Very Happy 

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/21/2015, 2:04 pm

@boffer wrote:You can get a description of weed cloth quality here, but it looks like they only sell in bulk.  We've received excellent service from them for over 20 years.

I agree with sanderson's comment.  Also, I have found that a 6 foot wide roll is more user friendly than a 4 foot roll.  The 4 foot stuff always seemed to be a few inches short when working with 4 foot boxes.
Thanks Boffer, I will look over that website later. At one of the local nurseries, I believe they have a woven plastic weed cloth that they sell off the roll. I am not sure if it will drain or if that is even what it is for. I was in a hurry that day and did not have the time to investigate. 

Also, I like your idea about the 6' wide roll, the one I am using is only 3' so I have to cut pieces - ugh.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/21/2015, 2:17 pm

@ps1914 wrote:This is a most interesting post! Thank you to the op for all the pictures. Most helpful! I am in the process of cleaning out all our bed that we made the mistake of putting on the ground too. I'd never do that again! (although I am thinking I might leave the 2 deeper ones hubby built me for potatoes, carrots, etc on the ground, not sure yet). 

After reading this entire thread today, I have a question for the op or anyone that knows... I understand why you painted the boxes (so they last longer I assume) then you put plastic down so the MM wouldn't come in contact with the paint, makes sense to me but I am still confused on these elevated beds or table tops as you call them, why did you also put weed barrier in it? I can't see how it can still drain with the plastic liner in it. I see where you tested it and it drained but how? Actually I guess I won't need the plastic liner since my boxes are not painted and I have already used them for between 3 and 4 years now I think (times goes too fast!) and I don't think paint would stick to them anyway lol Just curious! 

Also wondering what folks do for the legs when raising 4x4 boxes that were already used?? Just trying to figure out what we have to get to get these boxes elevated off the ground and away from this awful crabgrass/quackgrass or whatever this nasty stuff that took over my boxes is Very Happy 

Tammy
Hey Tammy, I responded to another one of your posts on another one of my threads but that was mostly about the weeds. I also listed a bunch of links to other table top threads.
(http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t18583-how-long-does-mm-last#220075)

As far as putting in the weed barrier, that is to keep the Mel's Mix (MM) from falling out the drain holes. Per the instructions in the ANSFG book, I drilled a 1/4" hole in each square and 1 in each corner. I know some other folks drilled larger holes (3/4" and 1") so they definately need to use the weed cloth as a "MM keeper-inner"

Another reason I put in the plastic was to hopefully extend the life of the untreated plywood I used as the bottom. Boffer posted some pictures of plywood after 3 years in Washington state (Rotted Plywood). (Boffer also is the leading expert on Table Tops (TT) and using hardware cloth instead of plywood for the bottom.)

Be sure to check out these Table Top Threads but definately Boffer's

Boffer's Tutuorial: Building a Table Top SFG...some ideas
TSHRED's Very nice Elevated Beds
Gwennifer's Table Tops
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ps1914 on 4/21/2015, 3:48 pm

Thank you again ralitaco. We already have hardware cloth installed on the bottom of our boxes so that may help some when it comes it supporting all that MM. 

That is one reason I came here to see what others were using for bottoms of elevated beds. I just wasn't sure about the plywood like the book said because I can see how it could rot out quickly.

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  jimmy cee on 4/21/2015, 9:38 pm

I laid down 5/4 deck planks for my bed floor The cost was just about the same as a good plywood.
Easier to place and has many spaces open for drainage.
So far I'm very happy with it, and the fact those durn burn tree roots can't get at them.


And 2 layers of  a good quality weed barrier.  
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/21/2015, 9:52 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:I laid down 5/4 deck planks for my bed floor The cost was just about the same as a good plywood.
Easier to place and has many spaces open for drainage.
Very nice. I may incorporate that into one of my boxes. Are the planks treated?

@jimmy cee wrote:And 2 layers of  a good quality weed barrier.  
Is that the weed barrier - both black and brown? If so what is the brand name?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  jimmy cee on 4/22/2015, 7:03 am

@ralitaco wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:I laid down 5/4 deck planks for my bed floor The cost was just about the same as a good plywood.
Easier to place and has many spaces open for drainage.
Very nice. I may incorporate that into one of my boxes. Are the planks treated?

@jimmy cee wrote:And 2 layers of  a good quality weed barrier.  
Is that the weed barrier - both black and brown? If so what is the brand name?

Yes everything is treated except my side boards..
The black you see is the back of this weed barrier...Purchased at Lowes, don't have a brand name now
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/22/2015, 9:12 am

@jimmy cee wrote:
Yes everything is treated except my side boards..
The black you see is the back of this weed barrier...Purchased at Lowes, don't have a brand name now
Thanks Jimmy Cee, I will be looking for it here.
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Mold on Compost

Post  ralitaco on 4/23/2015, 8:18 am

So my adventures with compost continues (Compost to re-active Mels Mix) 
Finally, I got my 5 composts, and mixed them up using a tarp. Then after the tarp tore, I moved the compost to my wheel barrow which I covered with a smaller tarp to keep the rain from saturating it and making the wheelbarrow unmoveable. 
I went to use some of the compost to plant some extra plants and when I pulled back the tarp, this is what I found:

 

And this was after just a few days...I just mixed it in and am hoping for the best. I feel it will be fine but I was really surprised.


Also, here is what I rigged up to sift the old MM from my ground beds
 
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Herbs

Post  ralitaco on 4/23/2015, 10:48 am

Starting to think about my next Elevated bed and am wanting to plant some herbs.
My question is are there any varieties that should not go in the bed, that should have their own 1x1 or 2x2 box? (e.g.-my sister grew some rosemary and it got as big as a boxwood bush)
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 4/23/2015, 12:46 pm

Are you going to remove the plants and start new ones each year? What herbs are you interested it? This will help folks answer. Yes, rosemary can get quite big. We use it as ornamental (drought tolerant) bushes so a separate pot for that one! Likewise lavender and some sages. Camomile self seeds as do others.

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Herbs

Post  ralitaco on 4/23/2015, 10:18 pm

@sanderson wrote:Are you going to remove the plants and start new ones each year?
I was thinking about trying to do an herb only/mostly bed I would not mind having some that come back each year, but I realize that means they will continue to grow roots. I would also like to get some that I could plant as seeds instead of transplants.

@sanderson wrote:What herbs are you interested it?  This will help folks answer.
Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Cilantro & Sage. And whatever else may do well in Zone 8a Very Happy

@sanderson wrote:Yes, rosemary can get quite big.  We use it as ornamental (drought tolerant) bushes so a separate pot for that one!  Likewise lavender and some sages.  Camomile self seeds as do others.
How big of a box for the individual herbs?
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Trellis Netting

Post  ralitaco on 4/23/2015, 10:47 pm

TRELLIS: 
Ok. So I was able to put some finishing touches on my Elevated bed.
I got my corner trim pieces in and put up the trellis.
 
Not sure how well the trellis will do because it is a bit short, but I plan on putting an arbor on top and going across to my 2x8's that I am building next. I think I will put some cattle fence on top of the arbor and hopefully have an arch-type trellis covered with beautiful green plants and veggies.
As far as securing the trellis, I went ahead and put the EMT in the box down to the plywood and secured it with a clamp in the middle of the post. I debated about making it so it would fit inside the shelf, the posts and the top piece, but I was in a hurry and didn't want to go to the store to get another piece of EMT and more connectors.

(Another Reason I didn't go inside the frame is because I am playing with the idea of making some panels to go there that will be hinged and covered with mosquito netting or toule. Then depending on how I make them, I could replace or cover the netting and put in plastic to make a version of a greenhouse or cold-frame. Of course this is all in the planning stages in my brain and I would have to figure out how to cover the top also, but just thought I'd share a little of what is bouncing around in my head.)

BOX HEIGHT:
I also measured from the ground up to the top of the box and it is 37". Obviously the height is going to vary for everyone, but I think my next ones will only be between 24-32" I may make one of each. Time will tell.

Landscape Fabric:
So after doing some research it seems that there are primarily 2 types of landscape fabric. One is the felt type and the other is a woven plastic. I am pretty sure the nursery by me will sell the woven plastic off their large roll in a per foot or per yard basis. Agfabrics makes a woven plastic product and according to their website, the stuff is supposed to last for 10-15 years. However, I am concerned about whether or not the water will drain well through the woven plastic. Does anyone use that style or have any experience with it? 

As far as the felt type, I am getting an understanding that there are some types that are thicker than others and that some are woven while the others are "pressed". I believe I have found the one that Jimmy Cee is using and will inspect that in the near future.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/24/2015, 4:18 pm

@ralitaco wrote:I did score something that I think I can incorporate into my 2x8's. I got a bunch of metal shelves from work. They measure 22"x25" and I know they can hold a lot of weight. I have seen them loaded down with over 100 bags of IV saline and they never bow. 
 

I am thinking I can use them in lieu of the hardware cloth or perhaps in conjunction with it. I think I will make the box about 23" wide by 8'6" long. That way, I can put a 2x every 2' so 1 will be under the spot where the 2 edges point down. I am thinking I will run a 2x4 on edge all the way around and then put another 2x4 on top of that laying flat. (like and upside down L). Then I can use either a 2x6 or 2 - 2x4's on edge to form the box. 
Still working it out in my head...gotta get those gears turning when I am better rested.  thinking

I am open to suggestions from anyone, so feel free to chime in
I'm not sure my initial thoughts will work for mounting the shelves or be cost effective. Any suggestions on how to use / mount these shelves as a base for an elevated bed. I'm struggling because of the ends - one going up the other going down (see the second photo)
Thanks in advance
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  boffer on 4/24/2015, 4:40 pm

I've used some similar shelves for TT bottoms, but they didn't have the turned up ends.  I supported the sides with two rods along the wood frame of the box.

I'd whack off both turned up ends with a death wheel on a 4 or 4½ inch angle grinder.
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I cut this same darn board 2x and it's still short...

Post  ralitaco on 4/26/2015, 1:39 am

@boffer wrote:I've used some similar shelves for TT bottoms, but they didn't have the turned up ends.  I supported the sides with two rods along the wood frame of the box.

I'd whack off both turned up ends with a death wheel on a 4 or 4½ inch angle grinder.
Thanks for the input and suggestion. I was thinking about cutting at least one end off and even broke out a new cutting wheel, but decided on a different course.

after thinking over what to do, making drawings of of various layouts/schematics in MS Publisher and comparing the costs to just go with hardware cloth OR use conduit as support OR add some wood, etc. I decided to use a double layer of 2x4's on the perimeter and router out a groove for the downturn on the shelf.

Here is the "schematic" for that design:


I based my drawing on a rough estimate of the shelves being 22"x25". I am trying to get as closed to 16'sq as I can AND I am trying to keep my cut ends cover as best I can. Essentially I am running a second 2x4 all the way around my "table". I estimated my overall inside area at 25"x88" for an area of 15.27'sq (the 4x4 in the ANSFG book with the staggered corners has an inside area of 15.01'sq) 

So the sun was out, I had some time this a.m. to fire up the saw and with a stockpile of old treated 2x4 scraps I was off and cutting. I cut the 2 - 88" pieces and the 5 - 22" pieces which when added to the outside 2x4's would give me my 25" opening. I assembled all the pieces and set the shelves in for a test fit AND they didn't fit...The problem with my plan was that the figures I used in the drawing were ESTIMATES. I even put a note on my printout to get precise measurements but got so excited about getting to work, I forgot to re-measure. (I know, I know...Measure twice, Cut once)  frustration

Well now I used up most of my wood and only had enough for 2 support pieces at 22 5/8", but at least I was able to verify the shelves will fit. Oh and I was able to successfully rout a groove down the one long edge for the downturn on the shelf to drop into - Yea Me!

So here are pics of what I did today:
A general idea of how the shelves will lay (just picture all the boards being there)
 

The routed groove:
   

And lastly, a bunch of nicely cut 22" 2x4's:


Hopefully, Monday or Tuesday, I will be able to work on my other project, replacing my back steps. Then I will have more scrap, treated 2x's. 
At this rate, I think I need to start thinking about my fall plantings
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/26/2015, 11:03 am

@llama momma wrote:Just wish Someone would design a stand like large wooden Legos!!  LOL - for non wood working types like me.  Just Pound it together and be done with the blasted thing already.
I saw these and immediately thought of your...


Although they are not made for the base but rather for the side, they are still pretty neat.
TogetherFarm Garden Blocks
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/26/2015, 11:32 am

I saw this while browsing the web this a.m. I am thinking I might add something like this to my 2x8's. Even if I don't, I thought this would be great for folks that have their TT's on concrete patios. You could even put a drain pipe into a bucket or extend it over some other planters

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/29/2015, 10:04 pm

So I am rethinking my layout for using the shelves...I am not liking how I will have to put on the legs sooooo....

@boffer wrote:I've used some similar shelves for TT bottoms, but they didn't have the turned up ends.  I supported the sides with two rods along the wood frame of the box.
Could you explain the what you mean by the 2 rods?

@boffer wrote:I'd whack off both turned up ends with a death wheel on a 4 or 4½ inch angle grinder.
Do you think that will effect the weight bearing capacity?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  boffer on 4/29/2015, 11:22 pm

Sorry, that wasn't real clear. Stacked rods? Double rods?


In a typical shelving set up, the turned up ends would prevent twisting of the rack if it was heavily weighted on one side.  For your use, the weight will be distributed.  Doing some convenient rounding off  in my head, figure 15 pounds per square foot.  To test, you could support 2 opposite sides and set gallon jugs of water, vinegar, bleach, etc. on the rack.  Keeping the number easy and conservative, figure 8 pounds per jug.

Didn't you say you've seen 100 bags of IV fluid on a shelf.  Guestimated weight of them?  If you put a piece of plywood on the rack to distribute the weight, I'd bet you could stand on it.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/30/2015, 1:55 am

Warning: this may be a bit long winded, but it is my version of "thinking out loud"

@boffer wrote:I supported the sides with two rods along the wood frame of the box.
...
@boffer wrote:

OOOHHHH!! Now I see!!!! You put the side of the shelf with the 2 rods running parallel along the wood for support.

I originally thought you meant that you put 2 rods (like EMT) along the wood to support the shelf, not that the 2 rods were part of the shelf.

That is good. It shows that I was on the right track. You can kind of see it in this picture although I was focussing on the groove I routed.

This one shows the edge of the shelves with the 2 rods sitting on top of the "joist" but the joist is a bit camouflaged by the 2x10 I had under the whole thing

Of course, I was just test fitting them there. If I leave them there, I plan to put some fence staples or wiring staples or 1/2" EMT clamps in to hold them in place.


So now for my next question: 
As I said in a previous post, I am not real happy with my current design. I am running into issues with how to attach the sides and how to put support under the part of the box that is bearing the weight. Because I put the up edge and down edge of the shelves right to the outer edges of the 2x4's they sit on, I had no where to put the sides of the box unless I attached another 2x4 all the way around what I built and then I would have to have legs that were 4.5" thick to reach under the 2x4's that were holding the weight.

So I was thinking about running an 8' 2x4 flat and screwing it into a 2x4 on its edge below it. But I was wondering if laying it flat would really affect the load bearing capacity.

(This is the end of the 8' side)
This would, of course, be duplicated on the other side so the shelves would be spanning 22". If need be, I could run another 8', also laying flat, down the middle so the shelves would only be spanning 11". 

This would solve my problem of supporting the sides which I was facing with my other design. But if I lay that 2x4 on it's side, I have room for both the shelf and the side of the box. 

I hope that makes sense...to someone...maybe in the morning it will even make sense to me What a Face
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  boffer on 4/30/2015, 10:12 am

To use my wire racks, I made a frame out of 1.25" angle iron.  The shelf fit loosely within the frame, so only about 1" was supported.



With that in mind, something along this line would be cleaner and cheaper than what's shown in your last picture.


Attach the 2x2 with carriage bolts.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 4/30/2015, 9:22 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time to sketch that up and to answer yet another post by me.

@boffer wrote:To use my wire racks, I made a frame out of 1.25" angle iron.  The shelf fit loosely within the frame, so only about 1" was supported.
Based on your sketch, my main question is whether or not the end between the angle iron would need support under it? Also, since the shelves are 22" wide, would there need to be any other support down the middle (11") or any cross supports running b/n the angle iron (like slats under a twin bed)?


@boffer wrote:With that in mind, something along this line would be cleaner and cheaper than what's shown in your last picture.


Attach the 2x2 with carriage bolts.
Cost wise - your design would be a bit cheaper, but I already have a bunch of 2x4's. Not that I wouldn't find something to use them for in the future.
How far apart would you do the carriage bolts? every 16" or 24" or something else?
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ralitaco

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

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