Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Tomato Tuesday 2016
by Ginger Blue Today at 4:05 pm

» New Member
by Scherml Today at 3:37 pm

» CHALLENGE - Smallest possible footprint
by sfg4uKim Today at 1:19 pm

» Calcium and Magnesium Deficiency
by sanderson Today at 12:43 pm

» Facebook - SFG Foundation postings
by sanderson Today at 12:32 pm

» Happy Birthday!!
by sanderson Today at 12:05 pm

» Anyone out there tried crosne tubers?
by sanderson Today at 11:52 am

» New England, December 2016
by CapeCoddess Today at 11:32 am

» California's Drought
by countrynaturals Today at 11:21 am

» Mid-South: December 2016
by AtlantaMarie Today at 7:40 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing December 2016
by AtlantaMarie Today at 7:38 am

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by sanderson Today at 4:16 am

» N&C Midwest: December 2016
by GardenGal Today at 2:14 am

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by trolleydriver Yesterday at 5:21 pm

» Holy snow Batman!
by donnainzone5 Yesterday at 12:13 pm

» Butterfly Junction
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 11:44 am

» Garlic: Freeze, thaw, and heave
by camprn Yesterday at 7:05 am

» Garbanzo (Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum) and Kidney Beans
by BeetlesPerSqFt 12/7/2016, 11:28 pm

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by countrynaturals 12/7/2016, 10:43 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by Scorpio Rising 12/7/2016, 9:43 pm

» GF Collard Greens, Kale Recipes
by BeetlesPerSqFt 12/7/2016, 12:49 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by sanderson 12/7/2016, 11:48 am

» Bon fires on the Levee
by Cajun Cappy 12/6/2016, 12:17 pm

» Mid-Atl - Dec 2016 - Seed Catalog ?
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:24 pm

» Gardening in Central Pennsylvania
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:21 pm

» 1st Seed Catalog Arrived :)
by Scorpio Rising 12/5/2016, 10:15 pm

» Amaranth
by countrynaturals 12/5/2016, 12:06 pm

» Live and learn
by jimmy cee 12/5/2016, 9:08 am

» AtlantaMarie's Garden
by countrynaturals 12/4/2016, 2:04 pm

» Mychorrhizae Fungi
by audrey.jeanne.roberts 12/4/2016, 1:28 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

My First SFG...Work in progress

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/12/2015, 12:52 pm

I humbly submit, for your general amusement, my first attempt at constructing a Square Foot Garden.

First, a little background:  This is where I'm starting, what was in years past, my Grandmother's kitchen garden. Bounded by a cistern in the back, and a foundation pad in the forground (where the roto-tiller is sitting). On the right side is a fairly steep hill leading up to one of the fields.  If I want to use that area in the future, I'll have to terrace the area.  But for the moment, the mission is to get the ground cleaned up and adjust the grade so it will drain.  Otherwise, it is on the South side of the house and gets plenty of sunlight.



For frames, I started recycling old 4"x4" fence posts.  I wanted to build 4' x 4' frames.  But after going through the stack of old posts, most were pretty well chewed up where they had been planted into the ground.  I decided to reduce the frames to 3' x 3', which gave me a size that I could recycle all of the fence posts with a minimum of wasted material.  Each post was cut to 43" in length (36" + 7" for the overlap joint).  The end were cut for a half-lap joint and a 3/4" hole bored through for a steel rebar pin.  A scrap 1x6 was ripped into 3/4"square stock to form the 1' square planting grid.  Here's the first one mocked up on the shop floor, ready to go into the garden.



One down, three to go....  Getting to be a bit of an assembly line operation on the table saw.  But so far the cost has been just a couple of dollars for rebar.

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  sanderson on 5/12/2015, 1:13 pm

Shocked   That bed is so well built that it isn't going anywhere!  

What a wonderful area for a garden.  If you think you will have ANY drainage problems in that area, you can always elevate the beds on the remainders of the fence posts or free wood pallets.  For the posts, just lay them down like railroad ties, every 2 feet for good support. Lay a sheet of plywood over them and drill good holes for drainage (See All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew)  Set a frame of double 2x4s, line with weed fabric and fill.  When and if you want to plant on the hill, there are many photos of conquering the slopes.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12291
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/12/2015, 2:00 pm

Yup, got that covered.  The beds will be sitting on individual mounds of earth, about 6" above the rest of the area.  When I go to install them (hopefully tomorrow for at least one of them, it's been raining off and on today) the ground around them will be sloping away from the raised bed, with a layer of plastic sheeting covered with gravel.

If this works as I think it will, any runoff will flow away from the beds in the gravel.  Any rain that lands in the beds will be allowed to soak into the earth below the bed through the landscape cloth bottom.

(and yeah... I went a little overboard on the material, but the fence posts were free and they should last for my lifetime Wink )

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  trolleydriver on 5/12/2015, 5:46 pm

That's is really nice work clm. You have done a great job of reusing existing materials. Those boxes should last a long time. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos.

trolleydriver

Forum Moderator

Male Posts : 2199
Join date : 2015-05-04
Age : 69
Location : Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  slimbolen99 on 5/12/2015, 6:07 pm

Great job on the notches to hold the cross pieces for the SFG squares. Great idea.

slimbolen99

Posts : 185
Join date : 2013-01-15
Location : Shawnee, KS

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/12/2015, 7:12 pm

Thanks,

Yes, it did turn out pretty well and was really easy to do.  Using the same 3/4" forstner bit I was using to drill the corner pin holes, I just drilled two holes at 1' intervals to a depth of 3/4".  Used a saw to carry the edges of the hole to the edge of the piece, and popped the chunk out with a 1/2" chisel.



Took a break from making frame pieces and planted the first of the frames.  Still have to finish adding stone around the sides of the mound, but looks like it will be ready for mix tomorrow.



Looking at the photo, while it appears to be really close to the cistern, it is really the same distance from the cistern as it is from the sidewalk on the left. 24".  Because the bed is so high above the surrounding area, it's an optical illusion.  Here's a "worms eye" view to give you a sense of how high the beds are raised:



Last edited by clm2112 on 5/12/2015, 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added an additional note & photo)

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  ralitaco on 5/12/2015, 10:58 pm

@clm2112 wrote:Thanks,

Yes, it did turn out pretty well and was really easy to do.  Using the same 3/4" forstner bit I was using to drill the corner pin holes, I just drilled two holes at 1' intervals to a depth of 3/4".  Used a saw to carry the edges of the hole to the edge of the piece, and popped the chunk out with a 1/2" chisel.


That is very nice. It looks better than my slots I made using a router. I think you must be an experienced woodworker, that will come in handy for me, um I mean the forum.

Forstner Bit, hmm...Father's day is coming...

ralitaco

Male Posts : 758
Join date : 2010-04-04
Location : Hampstead, NC

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  sanderson on 5/13/2015, 1:27 am

Clm, Looks like very good drainage. Are the cisterns active? For water?

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12291
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/13/2015, 8:10 am

Active cisterns?  Yes...well...sort of.  You ever heard the crack about "Never Hire Your Relatives"?  Very Happy 

The cistern was cracked about 50 years ago when on of my great uncles was back-filling the earth around the foundation of the house.  There has been repeated attempts to repair the cracks over the years. With repeated failures.  Only 2/3rds of the capacity of the cistern is useable.  Anything more and the water seeps into the soil and shows up in my basement.  Still, 2/3rd of the tank capacity is plenty of water.  There's a natural spring in the field above the house which I use to fill the cistern. I just have to be really careful to keep track of the water level.

Someday I'll remove the concrete top, install a pair of poly tanks in the chambers, then fill around them with gravel. That way I can plumb the filling of the poly tanks permanently to the spring and the gutters of the house without worrying about it overflowing into the basement.  (Don't hate me Californians...water is never in short supply here Wink )

Am I an experienced wood-worker... Well, I got through shop class and I still have all ten fingers. Very Happy   Seriously, I do a lot of projects with wood (clock cases, gunstocks, model railroads, the odd bit of furniture) so yes, I've had a fair amount of experience.  But for gardening, the old ways of timber framing are still pretty good ways. (Roy Underhill is my hero Wink )

Forstner bits are not very expensive and I find that out of a set I keep using only one or two sizes all the time.  They work like an old style auger bit, but have a smooth shoulder that cuts a perfect hole in wood.  Down side is that you cannot bore a hole all the way through a piece without risking a lot of damage to the side the bit is exiting.

For example, to create the half lap & pin hole at the ends of each piece in the frame I only use the bit to drill halfway through the 4x4 post.  The rest of the wood gets cut away. Like this:

Drill halfway through with a forstner bit. The wood that is going to be removed has already been sliced a few times on the table saw.



Stand the piece on end and tap the wood with a hammer to break away the bulk of the wood being removed:



Then clean up with a chisel to pare away any wood that didn't break off with the hammer taps:



Takes about 2 minutes start to finish.  Not exactly like making furniture, but good enough for making overlapping joints for a timber frame. Very Happy


Last edited by clm2112 on 5/13/2015, 8:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correcting spelling)

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/13/2015, 3:30 pm

Finished scrubbing down the sidewalks (covered in moss), moving more stone, and filled the frame full of mix.  Had to chase the cat away a few times, I guess it does sortta look like a litter box to him.

Managed to finish, take the picture, and cover the frame in plastic.  It would seem that making chicken wire covers has bubbled up the priority stack sooner than I thought.  Perhaps do that tonight while figuring out what to plant in the squares.  I guess I'm going  to get a staggered harvest whether I wanted it or not.  It will be next week before the next frame is in place for planting.


clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  mschaef on 5/13/2015, 3:44 pm

Looking great..my 8 year old is trying to learn how to hand carve/ whittle. Its been hard figuring it out from books since no one we know knows how too.

mschaef

Female Posts : 575
Join date : 2012-03-12
Age : 30
Location : Mother-In-Laws (Newnan, GA)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  Windmere on 5/13/2015, 4:05 pm

You should be very proud of your work!  I wish I were even a fraction as handy as you are.

Windmere

Male Posts : 1425
Join date : 2013-02-26
Age : 47
Location : Fayetteville, GA - Zone 7B - 8A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/13/2015, 4:48 pm

@mschaef wrote:Looking great..my 8 year old is trying to learn how to hand carve/ whittle. Its been hard figuring it out from books since no one we know knows how too.

Thanks, it's coming along.

I wish your child good luck. It's not as easy as it would first appear and difficult to learn from books.  I'm very much an novice at carving.  I can copy floral patterns on stocks and get a passing grade, but that's about it.

One piece of advice I can pass along... You have to learn to hone the tools razor sharp.  In carving, you are constantly alternating between cutting across the grain and cleaving the wood fibers along the grain.  Your knives, chisels, and gouges need a super-sharp edge to do that smoothly.  The tools come from the factory with an OK edge, but it is up to the end user to hone them really sharp and keep them that way. (there's an adage that a wood worker spends as much time sharpening tools as using them. )

The rest comes down to practice by actually using the tools on wood over and over.  You can study the techniques and motions from books (and get the basics right) but in the end, you have to feel the tool cutting & cleaving to get the hang of controlling it.

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/13/2015, 5:15 pm

@clm2112 wrote:
I gotta say, that is a really pretty box!  Well done!

CC

CapeCoddess

Posts : 5381
Join date : 2012-05-20
Age : 60
Location : elbow of the Cape, MA, Zone 6b/7a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2015, 1:10 am

CLM, I don't know what kind of a relationship you have with Cat, but here's a suggestion. Build an 18" x 18" frame of 1" x 3". Line with weed fabric and fill half way with paver sand or full of dried little leaves. Cat will either use it as a litter box or a sunning bed. If is becomes a littler box, then also build one and fill just the opposite. I think Cat will like when you are gardening and a permitted bed site in the garden can be a mentally healthy thing. May also serve as a deterrent for mice or other thieves.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12291
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/14/2015, 9:25 am

Hmmm, something to consider.  "Furball" is just being a tomcat... he has 84 acres to play in, but has to get into anything I'm working on.



Building a litter box for him in the garden certainly wouldn't do any harm (might be handy to know where he is doing his business since he stopped using the litter box on the porch.)

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2015, 11:16 am

Furball is darling! Cats are actually social with their "servants" and like to be around your activities. Designating 'yes' areas up front can be a positive way to prevent 'no' activities in the garden. The Cat Whisperer

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12291
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  Tilth on 5/14/2015, 1:39 pm

clm2112, Awesome looking beds and installation, and with mostly recycled materials! I'm impressed. Great job!


Tilth

Male Posts : 41
Join date : 2015-04-24
Location : San Diego, CA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/14/2015, 2:12 pm

Hello from Atlanta, GA, CLM.  Welcome!

Everything looks fantastic!

AtlantaMarie

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 3784
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 53
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

View user profile http://www.defensivespecialties.com

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  CitizenKate on 5/14/2015, 10:32 pm

@sanderson wrote:Furball is darling!  Cats are actually social with their "servants" and like to be around your activities.  Designating 'yes' areas up front can be a positive way to prevent 'no' activities in the garden.  The Cat Whisperer
*Like*

CitizenKate

Posts : 507
Join date : 2015-03-20
Location : Northeast KS, USA; Zone 6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  Kelejan on 5/15/2015, 12:16 am

Good going CLM and I agree that Furball would appreciate a litter box that is all his.

My cats always seem to love being around me whether I was in the house or the garden, and although we are their servants, I think they rather like us.

Kelejan

Female Posts : 4504
Join date : 2011-04-24
Age : 81
Location : Castlegar, British Columbia

View user profile http://www.castlegarinkspot.ca

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  clm2112 on 5/24/2015, 12:01 pm

Another week and some more progress.

First, found a supplier for vermiculite in 4 cu ft bags.  The Agway in Greensburg carried it.  Had to make a 20 mile drive, so I got enough in the Subaru to make the trip worthwhile.



Explored the dark recesses of the fruit cellar and came up with a couple rolls of chicken wire (thanks Grandma, wherever you are) so another item off the list.

Made the first cover to keep the animals and birds out of the first frame.  Pretty easy, but consumed a lot more time than I expected.  The battens are just strips of scrap wood, mostly left-overs from ripping dimensional lumber.

Chicken wire is just stapled to the wood to form panels, then the cut ends of the wire panels twisted into the next panel.  A little safety wire twisted into the non-cut ends to the panels to join them together into a 3' x 3' x 2.5' cube cover.





After the first couple panels, I got a little smarter... stapling the battens to the loose end of the chicken wire roll *BEFORE* cutting the wire from the roll is a lot easier than trying to wrestle with the wire that keeps wanting to roll back on itself.

So, this Memorial Day weekend is all about assembling the next two frames, planting seeds, and moving a bunch of rock to finish landscaping around the beds.

clm2112

Male Posts : 25
Join date : 2015-05-09
Age : 50
Location : Mon Valley, Pennsylvania

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/24/2015, 12:46 pm

That looks GREAT, CLM!

Have fun!

AtlantaMarie

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 3784
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 53
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

View user profile http://www.defensivespecialties.com

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  sanderson on 5/24/2015, 3:37 pm

CLM, Those are outstanding!! You can also add bridal tulle against the white butterfly/green caterpillar or sun shade.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast

sanderson

Forum Administrator

Female Posts : 12291
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 68
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  trolleydriver on 5/24/2015, 4:24 pm

Great work CLM ... my cages look quite rough compared to your well crafted design.

trolleydriver

Forum Moderator

Male Posts : 2199
Join date : 2015-05-04
Age : 69
Location : Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: My First SFG...Work in progress

Post  Sponsored content Today at 4:15 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum