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Driveway Gardening, & Heat

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Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  casey on 7/24/2010, 2:47 pm

Dear No. Califorina Folks:

This is a copy of my first post on the Welcome Mat yesterday. Any feedback is appreciated.

I'm planning my first square foot garden. Unfortunately, the only space at my house that gets sun is the driveway and a 3.5' wide strip along the driveway (which is now full of tomoto and squash plants, and LOTS of weeds). Can't wait to be weed-free.

My main questions:

1 - The driveway has a slight incline. Will I need to build a wedge, or is a bit of a slope okay?

2 - I received the first patio box (for the driveway) from Square Foot Gardens. Because of the bottom layer, the depth of the box is not actually 6 inches; it is 5-1/4 inches. Is this deep enough?

3 - The Sacramento area gets over 100 degrees often in the summer. Is there any special advice for this type of heat? E.g. water twice daily?

Thanks! Casey

casey

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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  Weedless_ on 7/24/2010, 10:43 pm

How "slight" is your incline? My driveway side (where the garden is now) slopes back towards the house, it's a slight incline, I'd say, but it doesn't bother me in any way. All three boxes are sitting on top of cardboard, on top of the lawn, so drainage is good for all three, and I don't think slope will affect your growth. Here is a pic:

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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  Chopper on 7/25/2010, 1:10 am

Welcome. I am from So Cal but am in Orangevale right now at my son's house - he is the one who got me started in all of this. And YES, it is hot in the summer.

As far as the incline, it would depend on how much, but it has been observed by me that the mix holds water very nicely and therefore it does not pool on one side if the box isn't perfectly flat. So it can survive some incline.

If you have boxes that have bottoms in them, you could just build up one side to get it level.

My son waters once a day after work and it is working for him. Usually the performance of your plants and the feel of the soil can determine what you need to do.

I would say 5.25 is enough. I have some corn growing in what amounts to MM dust because it settled so much. Make sure when you fill the box, that you soak it as you go to get the maximum settling and the maximum depth of soil.

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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  Shoda on 7/26/2010, 11:52 pm

Casey,

Welcome! Glad you found the regional forum for our area.

I think you have gotten some wonderful answers already about the slope and I don't have anything to add on that subject.

My boxes are deeper (about 11"). We haven't had the usual heat this year but most of my established plants have been able to handle every other day watering. I have had the most trouble with getting seeds to sprout in the dryer top layer of the Mel's Mix and now I am looking into starting more plants inside first.

Let us know how your first box works out. We would love to see pictures when you get a chance.

-- Lisa
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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  casey on 7/27/2010, 10:11 am

Thanks Chopper, Weedless in Atlanta, and Shoda for your replies, and Weedless for the picture! Wow, what a beautiful set up. Wish I had that much sun. (A previous homeowner planted four large trees in the front yard, and the small back yard is also completely shaded.) Not sure of the incline on my driveway, as there are actually two inclines, and part of it is rounded a bit. I'll post the incline percentage as soon as I get time to measure it, and will take a picture too.

Shoda, I like the idea of a slightly deeper box, like your 11 inches. If the only drawback is expense, it's worth it, if it means less worry and less watering. When we get back from vacation Aug 7, I plan to get into full swing then -- first find a handy man to build more boxes, perhaps 8 or 10 inches deep.

Thanks! Casey

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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  Shoda on 7/27/2010, 1:38 pm

Casey,

Yes, the deeper boxes were much more expensive. However, I wanted to be able to plant what ever I wanted, where ever I wanted. I also like the added height and find that the Mel's Mix below the surface holds the water pretty well.

I am still experimenting about the best way to water. The buried soaker hoses did not work well for me... they just ran down and the water never migrated to the top layer. Supposedly SFG.com is coming up with a watering system that can be ordered. I would like to see what they come up with.

The Mel's mix with 1/3 peat moss does tend to get a crust on it -- especially when it is hot. I think some folks have even had trouble with seeds wanting to germinate through the tougher layer. I find that when I hand water, I go over areas a couple times to let the water soak in.

I still have a few more boxes to build and I am considering decreasing the amount of peat moss in the mix and replacing it with more compost to see if I can lighten the crustiness a bit.

Anyway, I think I am beginning to ramble. Sorry. Can't wait to see your boxes and what you come up with. Be sure to share your experiences on the boards. We all learn from each others mistakes and successes!
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Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  casey on 7/29/2010, 10:12 pm

Thanks Shoda. The driveway has several slopes, but the steepest part toward the street is almost 11:1 (10.9 to 1, to be exact). Photo to follow soon. I think I will just go for it, and hope for the best. Maybe put wedge supports if needed.

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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  casey on 8/10/2010, 4:44 pm

Here is the inclined driveway. Note the tomato and squash plants drowning in weeds along the driveway!


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Re: Driveway Gardening, & Heat

Post  Shoda on 8/11/2010, 3:54 pm

Thanks for posting the picture. Your slope is pretty steep for a box -- especially at the bottom. I don't think it will be a big issue though as long as you are careful watering so that the Mel's mix doesn't run off. Usually, the Mel's mix settles a little over time and you will end up with some space between it and the top edge of the box.

We all work with what we have! I think you are doing to do fine. If you do run into any challenges, be sure to post so we can all have the collective learning from it.
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