Square Foot Gardening Forum
[table bgcolor=#000000 height=275][tr][td]

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.


Display results as :


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» N&C Midwest—March and Spring is Here!
by Scorpio Rising Today at 6:50 pm

» How's the Weather Where You're At?
by Scorpio Rising Today at 6:38 pm

» Fourth Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver Today at 4:29 pm

» SW Ohio (Cincinnati Area)
by sanderson Today at 3:20 pm

» Happy Birthday!!
by sanderson Today at 3:12 pm

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by CapeCoddess Today at 3:09 pm

» New England Mar 2018
by CapeCoddess Today at 12:51 pm

» Powdery Mildew and SoCal Fall Planting
by countrynaturals Today at 12:34 pm

» Boat Gardening
by AtlantaMarie Today at 6:51 am

» Any suggestions on the stump grinding sawdust plus soil?
by MrBooker Today at 4:24 am

» How many green beans per square foot?
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 9:27 pm

» 2018 SFG in Brooks, GA
by yolos Yesterday at 8:34 pm

» Comfrey
by sanderson Yesterday at 8:21 pm

» Sanderson's Urban SFG in Fresno, California
by sanderson Yesterday at 6:14 pm

» Hello from Hagerstown MD
by sanderson Yesterday at 6:10 pm

» Horsetail weed
by Kate888 Yesterday at 3:02 pm

» How much time for gardening?
by Kelejan Yesterday at 1:33 pm

» Trellis mod
by Kelejan Yesterday at 1:24 pm

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing in March 2018
by Kelejan Yesterday at 1:12 pm

» A new SFG fan from Texas
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:17 am

» Potatoes: Yes or No?
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:13 am

» Do You Get The SFG Newsletter?
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:05 am

» Modesto, Central Valley, CA...
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:03 am

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by sanderson 3/16/2018, 5:48 pm

» has55's R & D Journey
by sanderson 3/16/2018, 3:28 pm

» Hello from Houston
by sanderson 3/16/2018, 3:16 pm

by AtlantaMarie 3/16/2018, 6:40 am

» Can you till Mel's mix?
by sanderson 3/14/2018, 8:44 pm

» SUGA 2018
by countrynaturals 3/14/2018, 12:34 am

» March Avatar: Spring Will Be Here Soon -- Promise!
by yolos 3/13/2018, 9:32 pm


Search SFG Forum

First Raised Bed

Go down

First Raised Bed

Post  Bama_Eric on 6/6/2015, 11:41 pm

Hi all,

I've been a flat earth gardener for 40 years or so. I recently (last summer) moved to a new house and had to start over with a pretty blank slate. I remembered watching Mel's show on PBS, along with The Victory Garden, so I decided to go with raised beds. I insisted on getting a house with a "mullet yard" - small & formal in the front, big and open in the back. Being in a new neighborhood, I spent the spring putting in flower beds to impress my new neighbors.

I've now moved to the back yard, albeit a bit late, and am putting in my raised beds. I'm building twin beds, wrapped around the back corners of my little back patio. I'm using cinder blocks, two levels high. I only have the first one (almost) done. I removed the sod cap, and dug them in a couple of inches, leveling (more or less) with paver sand. I then laid down some cardboard and filled with some Mel's Mix. I filled this in two sessions. (Hand mixing the stuff, one wheelbarrow load at a time will wear you out, and it isn't cheap, either.) The first batch had 6 types of compost - municipal compost, composted cow manure, composted chicken manure, mushroom compost, worm castings and cotton burr compost, plus horticultural (not coarse) vermiculite and peat moss. The second batch didn't include the municipal compost and used coarse vermiculite. 

During this construction project, I had to pause to install an electric fence to keep the neighbor's pittbull from climbing the fence and digging in my new garden, but I finally got the thing filled and quickly transplanted some peppers and tomatoes that had been waiting on me. I haven't installed any grids yet, and am still working to fill all of the holes in the blocks, but it is finally up and running.

I'm disappointed that I got it going so late in the season (tax day is usually the day to start putting in your garden in these parts, so I'm almost 2 months too late, for a standard, 1 season flat earth garden, anyway), but I view this a a very long term infrastructure investment, and I am planning for a 3-4 season garden, once I really get it finished.  

For years, as a flat earth gardener, I've believed that February is the best month for a gardener - no work, just wonderful daydreams and seed catalogs. I am expecting my raised beds to change that attitude.


Posts : 2
Join date : 2015-06-06
Location : Meridianville, AL

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/7/2015, 1:59 am

I'm not sure what a flat earth gardener is, but:

-- Welcome!
-- Nice flower bed
-- I grow about half my garden at a neighbor's place, and over there we use cinderblocks two high, just like you do. It works great -- he always gets amazing results, and the beds are wonderfully durable and easy to stand or sit on. Even the little holes in them are good for securing tools or a hose, etc.
-- I hope you like your new garden! I think you made a great choice for long-term durability and low maintenance.
Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3638
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 56
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  sanderson on 6/7/2015, 3:00 am

Bama_Eric, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here

Cinder block is a nice durable material for the boxes. Plus, you can reconfigure it (should you care to remove the Mel's Mix). AT first I winced when you mentioned removing the sod a couple inches but then I read you filled with sand. A pit can become a soggy mess but you restored the grade. For your second bed, I would recommend that you add a layer of weed fabric on top of the card board. It's hard to see in a photo, but it looks like you have an invasive looking grass. Don't worry too much about being late. You have a new home, the front yard is pretty and you are building your beds. Very Happy


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

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15544
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  Kelejan on 6/7/2015, 9:15 am

glad you\'re here Bama-eric  happy hi
from Kelejan :canada:

Pretty flowerbed and I am sure you neighbour is happy about it.  Looking forward to seeing your  further developments.  Don't worry about being a bit behind, by next year everything will be just fine.  Your compost mix sounds great and you seem to know what your are doing. Very Happy

Female Posts : 5087
Join date : 2011-04-24
Age : 83
Location : Castlegar, British Columbia

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

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/7/2015, 9:47 am

Hi Bama_eric.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

Looks like you're going to be having a good time!  Looking forward to seeing your progress...

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4504
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 54
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

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

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  Bama_Eric on 6/9/2015, 9:50 pm

[quote="sanderson"]Bama_Eric, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here
AT first I winced when you mentioned removing the sod a couple inches but then I read you filled with sand.

Actually, I only dug down a couple of inches where the blocks went, and then levelled with paver sand. The interior was just scalped down to the dirt, then covered with cardboard before I filled with Mel's Mix.

As I've been planting, I've discovered that I really miss the grids more than I imagined I would, and I will work on that, especially for the companion bed I plan to put in next week.

I also think I prefer the horticultural vermiculite to the coarse. I think I heard Mel comment (on a radio interview I found on youtube) that he didn't like the look of perlite and how it tended to float to the top. To me, the coarse vermiculite seems to look and behave about the same. What am I missing here?

One final question - the cotton burr compost instructions indicated that you should not use it with peat moss. I did so anyway. Any ideas on this?

Thanks for the tips and inspiration.


Posts : 2
Join date : 2015-06-06
Location : Meridianville, AL

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/10/2015, 12:38 am

Re the finer vermiculites, they will break down faster and lose the properties you are buying them for in the first place. There are quite a few more grades than merely fine/medium/coarse, though, so with some diligence it's possible to find something one likes that might still hold up a while.
Marc Iverson

Male Posts : 3638
Join date : 2013-07-05
Age : 56
Location : SW Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: First Raised Bed

Post  Sponsored content

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

Back to top

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