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Grid Questions

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Grid Questions

Post  cannonball on 4/14/2016, 2:46 pm

My wife and I bought the book "Square Foot Gardening" are building our very first square foot garden, sizing it to 4 x 10 feet with cedar wood of 2 x 10" (actual 1.5 x 9.5").

Questions regarding making the grid:


  1. What kind of material would you recommend for making the grid?   Wood or vinyl or other?   And what width (example 1" or 1.5") ? ... keeping in mind that the length will be 10' long (actual  10' 3" if we overlap on top of the side pieces.
  2. Is it recommended to attach the grid pieces to the top of the side of the box?   Or, let it sit right on the soil?   Which is preferred?


Thanks.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/14/2016, 6:10 pm

glad you\'re here from Ohio, cannonball! With a non-traditional set-up, I can't have grids now; someday....

Lots of folks on here use a variety of things, string, PVC, vinyl blind slats among some! I am sure folks that can have them will chime in!

Once again, glad you found us! Post often post pictures! And find your region, and jump on there too! Check Home page for your region!
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/14/2016, 6:49 pm

Cannonball,

I'd strive to find or build grids that are less than 1" wide, because they take up less space in the box.  Those Venetian blinds can work, as can dowels.  I'd stay away from string, however.

Best of luck!  Remember, we're here to help.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  floyd1440 on 4/14/2016, 6:57 pm

I first started using wooden slats that overlapped the end of my boxes.  Unfortunately they only lasted 2 years so have gone to using string.

The string is cheaper and serves the purpose of the grid.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  trolleydriver on 4/14/2016, 7:26 pm

I'm using aluminum Venetian blind slats (about 1 inch wide) that are held together by nut/bolt at each intersection.  The weight of the nuts and bolts keeps them from blowing away in high winds. I currently have them on top of the sides of the boxes but if the Mel's Mix (MM) is more than a little below the top of the box I would put them on top of the MM. My boxes are only 4'x4'.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  floyd1440 on 4/14/2016, 7:33 pm

That sounds like a good setup.  I have 4x8 boxes so the string works fine for me.  Trying to remember why I opted for the larger boxes as it can be difficult to reach the center squares sometimes.

Bottom line they are still nice raised beds.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  yolos on 4/14/2016, 7:57 pm

I have been using nylon thinnish rope for my grids (when I have grids).  Here is a picture.  The grids last for years.  I take them off in the fall when I condition the bed and add compost.  Then put the grids back on.  If you string the ropes correctly, there are only two needed no matter what size bed you use.

The rope is just above the soil level in the fall.  Of course the soil settles a bit over the winter so the grids end up being about 1-2 inches above the soil as it settles.  I use eyelet screws on the inside of the box to thread the rope thru.  Start at one side of the box, go across and go thru an eyelet, then along the side to the next eyelet and then back across the box.  Keep doing this until you get to the end of the box.  Then do the same thing on the opposite sides.  Leave enough of a tail on the rope to be able to tie and untie it each year.  My rope grids have lasted years and never warp.  The only problem I have had is that eventually the wood begins to decay and the screw eyelets begin pulling out of the wood.  Then I just move them over a bit.  The above bed was the first one I built in the fall of 2011 and is still working well.  I did have to replace the rope one time.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  plantoid on 4/14/2016, 7:59 pm

@cannonball wrote:My wife and I bought the book "Square Foot Gardening" are building our very first square foot garden, sizing it to 4 x 10 feet with cedar wood of 2 x 10" (actual 1.5 x 9.5").

Questions regarding making the grid:


  1. What kind of material would you recommend for making the grid?   Wood or vinyl or other?   And what width (example 1" or 1.5") ? ... keeping in mind that the length will be 10' long (actual  10' 3" if we overlap on top of the side pieces.
  2. Is it recommended to attach the grid pieces to the top of the side of the box?   Or, let it sit right on the soil?   Which is preferred?


Thanks.
Hi Cannonball ,
 As you'll have read in Mel's ANSFG book , he used painted wooden strips pinned together at the over lap /crossing points&  laid them on his square foot beds ,   not just for defining the squares but also for aesthetic appearances when you use white painted wood for the bed walls  .


As they show in places where there is no over head crop cover.... they are good conversation starters to get to talking  to someone about Mel's square foot gardening system, his theories and his tremendous successes.
As a consequence Mel recommends them & asks that we use them as well .

 However my lass said unprintable words about them standing out like sore things at a weddings & that she would use them to get the chimera lit , along with me having my ears continually bent about them looking out of place on 36 inch high red brickwork beds ( 250 ish sq feet 's worth ) .
The other reason I don't use them is I have no sensible place to store twenty of so sets of pinned together sets  when the beds are overwintering , of which many sets would be very slightly different dimensions to a 4x4 sq foot bed as my beds are just about 3 x 3 sq foot each depending on how the brickwork runs .

 My solution for having easy care all year round defined squares that can be instantly & easily removed then put back in the same time is to use cut half inch wide strips of rain water square down plastic drain pipe .

Making each strip about 7 inches long  and drilling three 1/8 th inch  holes in line down from one end starting at 1/4 from the top end  & putting the other two also 1/4 apart . There are  eight of these pegs to each bed  .
 I have carefully strung & adjusted to length 3 mm thick green or fluorescent  weed whacker/ strimmer  nylon line between each pair of pegs using the holes as the anchor points .

As they are almost the width or length of my squares I simply push a peg in at each one foot mark , taking the other end of the pegged line to the opposite side wall .  The pegged lines do not run right up  to the side walls , more often than not they will be an inch or so short at each end .

 Previously I was using very cheap silicone 1/8 th inch rubber channel for the stringing line but the @$%£*&^"¬ local woodland squirrels kept chewing them to bits for some reason .... happen it was a matter of taste & texture .. they avoid the green  & orange strimmer line like the plague.

 Alison did make further comments about the use of the high viz orange line being out of place .. so far she's not made any comments about me slowly changing over all the beds to the apple green high viz stuff as the red brickwork & bright green is quite pleasing to the eye in small amounts .

 Price wise here in the UK 3 mm ( just under 1/8 inch )  strimmer line is costing £ 1. 25 ( $ 1.75 USD ? ) per 50 yards ( 45 mtrs )
   If you want recent pictures ask & I'll get the camera out later in the day when it is daylight .
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2016, 3:11 am

Cannonball,  Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here  Check out "grids" in the Search box; there are 34 (or was it 43?) threads on grids.  What ever material you use, Mel wants them made of durable material.  That said, I know that folks use what seems to work best for them, even string.  Embarassed  All of my grids are removable for fall clean up and spring amendment with lots of compost.  All of the beds except 3 have grids made of thin wood trim (used on screen doors and windows) that are loosely screwed together at the intersections.  They sit directly on top of the 1/4" drip lines on top of the Mel's Mix.  The oldest are 37 months old now, and still going strong.  For a 4' x 8' bed, I would make 2 sets of 4' x 4' for ease of removing during major bed work.  I think wet wood grids 4' x 8' would end up snapping if you tried to lift them.  I have string on the 3 newest beds, but don't tell Mel. Embarassed

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/15/2016, 6:45 am

Hi Cannonball. Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

I use neon string as slats. I tie them around nails I have in the bed walls. I'd love to do the slats like Mel prefers, but don't have the storage room.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  camprn on 4/15/2016, 7:08 am

I use sisal twine because it's easy to work with and is compostable.

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  jimmy cee on 4/15/2016, 9:10 am

There is absolutely no negatives using this material for grids. With a nylon or fiberglass inside it stays durable, clean, and adjustable forever.
Plastic clothesline available everywhere.







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Re: Grid Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/15/2016, 12:39 pm

Jimmy, why are some of your lines propped up with bricks?
thinking
CC
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2016, 2:00 pm

Marie, I leave the grids on the beds all year.

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  countrynaturals on 4/15/2016, 7:31 pm

I hadn't planned on using grids, but after reading this thread, I'm going to use painted river rocks. Rock-painting is one of my hobbies, so I'm looking forward to experimenting. It might be a little more complicated and labor-intensive than string, but it will also allow for some of my unorthodox  squares (25 strawberry plants in 24' -- asparagus beans in partial squares, etc.). Cool
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/15/2016, 8:57 pm

I like the SFG grids, formerly made of wood and now made of vinyl, although the vinyl ones are a bit wide.  You can fold them up and hang them on nails in your  garage during the off-season.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  jimmy cee on 4/15/2016, 9:16 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Jimmy, why are some of your lines propped up with bricks?
thinking
CC
I did that so folk could see how pliable these are, take bricks out everything returns with tension...I would rather use window weights as they are slimmer, these will do until then
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  floyd1440 on 4/16/2016, 5:42 am

There are a lot of good ideas out there for using grids.  It comes down to preference and practically.  The common element we have is projecting 1X1 squares to help us in planting and it make the garden a SFG.

My mid season it's difficult to see the grid irregardless what type of material was used to construct the grid.
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2016, 7:37 am

I've used many things for grids over the years but lately I've been using vinyl mini blinds slats. Fortunately I planted one garlic clove at every grid intersection in some of my boxes this year because the unanchored mini blinds have blown away.

CC
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Long lasting grid

Post  mlr77062 on 5/18/2016, 1:15 pm

In 1987 I started my first SFG.  Back then Mel did not emphasis the use of grids.  It didn't much matter to me because my beds were bordered by 12"x12" cement blocks in a raised bed. 

In 2011 I bought the new book and decided to use grids as described at a new location.  I had a lumber yard rip-saw a 1"x6" board to 1/2 " widths.  Was okay the first few years.  Weather and miscel oops damaged most of the grids.

This spring (2016) I decided to replace the grids.  I had surplus 1/4" rebar that I cut to size.  Used 2" fence staples to hold them in place.  If you don't hammer the staples tightly, you can slide the bars out for full access.  This came in handy last week when I had to put in rabbit fence to protect lettuce plants.  The rebar anchored the hardware cloth nicely.

I find the grid most attractive.

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  sanderson on 5/18/2016, 1:18 pm

Photo? We are always looking for different ideas.

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  YorkR88 on 5/18/2016, 2:19 pm

@cannonball wrote:My wife and I bought the book "Square Foot Gardening" are building our very first square foot garden, sizing it to 4 x 10 feet with cedar wood of 2 x 10" (actual 1.5 x 9.5").

Questions regarding making the grid:


  1. What kind of material would you recommend for making the grid?   Wood or vinyl or other?   And what width (example 1" or 1.5") ? ... keeping in mind that the length will be 10' long (actual  10' 3" if we overlap on top of the side pieces.
  2. Is it recommended to attach the grid pieces to the top of the side of the box?   Or, let it sit right on the soil?   Which is preferred?


Thanks.
Cannonball - This is my first SFG garden (really my first garden...EVER) and I used string (actually butchers twine) tied around nails and I find that to be the best. Easy to work around, cheap, last long, replaceable and very cheap
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Re: Grid Questions

Post  sanderson on 5/18/2016, 4:22 pm

I use 3/4" wood door screen trim. The largest grid is 4' x 2'. If the bed is 10' long, I would make 2 or even three sections for ease of removing (fall cleanup or spring amending with tons of compost. Mine sit on top of the Mel's Mix. I also have 3 beds with short screws and cotton string on the top rims of the beds. Easy to slip off for major work.

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Re: Grid Questions

Post  reynajrainwater on 5/20/2016, 12:26 am

I purchased mine from gardeninminutes.com. It's both a grid and irrigation system. I love it.
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Rebar for SFG grid

Post  mlr77062 on 5/20/2016, 12:28 pm

Here is a picture of one of my boxes showing 3/8" rebar for grid.

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Re: Grid Questions

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