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Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

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Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 3/2/2010, 12:01 pm

.


I've had a number of inquiries about TT boxes recently. In a few days I'll post construction suggestions and ideas. In the meantime, here's why some of us love TableTop SFG.

(You can find building ideas here)



1. DOUBLE YOUR SPACE

SFG is all about efficiency. If you build a TT to fit over an existing SFG bed, you've just doubled your growing space without taking up any more yard. Or put small SFG boxes or containers underneath. Or, use the space underneath for dry storage. I keep a wheelbarrow under one, and buckets of compost under another. For you tidy and pretty gardeners, you could use lattice to hide the stuff underneath.


2. SLUGS, BUGS, and CRITTERS

Slugs are the nemisis of Pacific Northwest gardeners. They are gross, insidious gastropods that can ruin a garden. There are many chemical and homemade solutions for controlling them, none are very effective. I've been TT gardening for 5 years now, and haven't found a single slug.

Rabbits were my biggest problem with ground SFG. With TT SFG, problem solved. I don't have woodchuck problems, but I read they can climb trees. Would they try to climb up a table leg?


3. EXTEND YOUR GROWING SEASON


Not your garden's growing season. YOUR growing season! SFG has allowed many senior gardeners to continue gardening when they could no longer do the work in a traditional garden. At some point, getting up and down off the ground becomes a chore.
TT SFG allows them to continue gardening even longer, much more easily. God willing, you'll grow old enough to have that problem, too. Start planning for that day now. Even if you're a young healthy adult, isn't it easier to do things at kitchen countertop height or workbench height rather than on the floor?


4. PORTABILITY

You could locate your TT box in a sunny part of the yard in springtime, then move it to a shady part of the yard in the heat of summer. If you're a renter and had to move, just load up your garden and take it with you. Maybe you goofed and planted the tallest plants on the south side of the box, and they're shading the rest of the box. Pick it up and turn it 180 degrees. Problem solved.


5. IT'S IN YOUR FACE

In a good way. Mel suggests putting your SFG near the back door so they become part of your daily routine and not neglected. It was an unexpected, pleasant surprise when I realized that TT SFG offered an opportunity to see my plants in a way that I never saw gardening on the ground. Up close and personal. Standing next to my TT bed, comfortable, literally inches from the plants, I began to see things and notice things that I never saw on the ground. The hairs or fibers on a tomato stalk, watching a pepper emerge from a flower, that tiny bump of a cuke emerging behind a flower, just the small changes a plant makes on a near daily basis, easily checking for bugs, watching Mother Nature do her thing.


6. PLANTING DOWN

Mel recommends putting trellises on the north side of the box so they don't shade the other plants. With TTs you can do that too, as well as planting vining plants like squashes and cukes around the perimeter of the other three sides. Just train the plants to grow out over the frame and then down. Once they get out past the frame, gravity does the work getting them to grow down.


7. WATERING SIMPLIFIED


Mel says you can't over water his soil mix. I've taken his advice to heart and tend to water heavy-with good results. But still, how much is too much? With TT beds, when the water starts running out the bottom, I know it's time to quit watering, the soil is saturated.


8. UNLEVEL GROUND

TTs are perfect for sloping terrain. Just adjust the leg length to level.


9. MORE BOXES IN LESS SPACE

The pathways can be less than half the width of boxes on the ground. Just wide enough for the biggest gardener in the family to fit through!


10. TRY ONE, YOU'LL LIKE IT!


Why not try a 4x4 TT SFG bed this year? Heck, if you don't like it, cut the legs off and put it on the ground! Nothing to lose, and you'll gain another SFG box whether it's a TT or on the ground.


11. IT GETS PLANTS CLOSER TO THE SUN


If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know what an advantage that can be!


12. NO MORE PLUMBER'S BUTT


'Nuff said!
Wink


Last edited by boffer on 5/17/2010, 7:48 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boog on 3/2/2010, 5:42 pm

i was thinking of making one 2ft X8ft with a plywood bottom and setting it up on sawhorses for the wife for her herbs so she dosent have to ta a lot of stoopin or bendin down cause of her fibro.

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Re: TableTops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  rds1955 on 3/2/2010, 7:55 pm

I was one of those inquiring minds Boffer...and thanks for your email reply...
I've come to the conclusion of building TT level boxes 4' x 8's using Cinder Blocks as the "Legs" and Hardware cloth as the bottom support...As a matter of fact I special ordered some Hardware Cloth from Ace Hardware, and it came in today...I took your idea Boffer, and decided to build the boxes with the 2" x 4's spacing every 16 inches on center, Weedblock Cloth, then the Hardware Cloth, and then the entire structure placed on a couple layers of Cinder blocks...All the reasons you mention are spot on, but I'm doing it also so I won't have to stoop and bend down so much,,, cause this poor ole back can't take it...

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 3/2/2010, 9:37 pm

want this for your sig?!

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  rds1955 on 3/3/2010, 4:43 am

Thanks Boffer, but I think I'll hold off on having "Mr Piggy" as my signature...
I was thinking more of having a "Pest Control Advocate" as one more better suited ..


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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/3/2010, 8:47 am

I wanted to reply to this on the old forum but it got disabled before I could. I really do not think using hardware cloth as the bottom will work unless you are using a solid mass of bricks underneath, not just as legs. The weight of the mixture plus water will be too heavy and the hardware cloth will sag. The link you posted last week was for raised gardens on the ground, not elevated. If you use hardware cloth, I think you will still need plywood as a base.

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Seeing is believing!

Post  boffer on 3/3/2010, 11:11 am

Check my personal album pics. All TT have hardware cloth bottoms. I have 5 more TT that aren't shown. If they're built right there's very little sag.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 3/3/2010, 11:14 am

@rds1955 wrote:Thanks Boffer, but I think I'll hold off on having "Mr Piggy" as my signature...
I was thinking more of having a "Pest Control Advocate" as one more better suited ..




I want one too!

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  Theresa on 3/3/2010, 11:44 am

This is a little table top SFG that my husband made for the garden show for a display. I have some hyacinth and daffodil bulbs I've pre-chilled and I'm going to plant them in it for a early Spring display, then I'll change it to something else, maybe something different for each season.


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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 8:47 am

what a pretty box!

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  mckr3441 on 3/6/2010, 3:48 pm

Don't forget boxes on wheels, too. I'll see if I can post a pic of mine.



Did it work? If so, SUPER. We really did put four wheels on it! It's a super little portable garden.


Last edited by mckr3441 on 3/6/2010, 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added more text)

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 3/6/2010, 5:06 pm

I remember: your SFG beds are on wheels in the driveway where the good sun is, so you can move them out of the way to get the motor home out!

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  mckr3441 on 3/6/2010, 8:39 pm

You're RIGHT! And maybe one of these years (of course, if I live long enough) we just may take that motor home out to Washington so we can see your gardens and talk about avacados and mangos.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 3/6/2010, 9:38 pm

Coffee's always on, and have a place to dump your holding tank, too!

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Seeing is believing!

Post  Bec on 5/26/2010, 1:58 pm

@boffer wrote:Check my personal album pics. All TT have hardware cloth bottoms. I have 5 more TT that aren't shown. If they're built right there's very little sag.

Boffer, Where can I find your personal album pics?

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Table Top Garden

Post  Little Thumb on 5/26/2010, 2:40 pm

Boffer, won't the bottom rot out? what kind of bottom can you use to keep this from happening?

Thanks

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 5/26/2010, 3:05 pm

@Bec wrote:
Boffer, Where can I find your personal album pics?

Wow, Bec, you really went gravedigging to find this thread! I just added some newer pics

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/gallery/Personal-album-of-boffer/Personal-album-of-boffer-cat_u7.htm

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 5/26/2010, 3:12 pm

@Little Thumb wrote:Boffer, won't the bottom rot out? what kind of

I use hardware cloth covered by weedblock cloth.

Most folks use 3/4 plywood and swear they get 5 years out of it. That wouldn't work for me in my climate so I tried something different.

This pic gives an idea what it looks like



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Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  Bec on 5/26/2010, 3:44 pm

Too funny! I didn't go gravel-digging. It's #2 of your signature! (I found it when learning about signatures).

You've got great gardens! Also helps to answer a couple of questions I've had. One was that I was wondering how you'd do vertical gardening on a TT because it would go too high. I see that you just let it hang over the side (although not as far down to go). Also, I was thinking about in the future making TT out of pallets and instead of using plywood for my garden box, I would use weedcloth for the bottom. The pallets don't have real big slats so I was hoping that would work. If I staple it to the bottom of my box I think it would. That will be my project for next year I think. Thanks for all your help. I've learned a lot today.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 5/26/2010, 4:03 pm

I let cukes and squash hang down and push them under the table to keep them out of the walkway. Last year, I inadvertently planted indeterminate tomatoes instead of determinate. When they reached the top of the 3 foot trellis, I jury-rigged a 2 horizontal trellis for them to grow across and then just let them hang down when they reached the end of the horiz. trellis. Peas, beans, and indeterminate toms I still grow in on-the-ground boxes.

Pallets would work well as you described it.

You might find some more ideas here
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/building-a-table-top-sfgsome-ideas-t297.htm

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TT Garden

Post  Little Thumb on 6/2/2010, 2:18 pm

Boffer, do you have problems with the TT garden drying out? I have had hanging baskets before and they dry out so fast. Since there will be so much airflow under and above does this cause any problems? We are in a wind tunnel here in KANSAS.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  busygirl on 6/9/2011, 9:32 am

I have "extra" plants in buckets of MM on my deck and have noticed significantly fewer pests/signs of isect damage vs. the boxes in the yard. Is there any evidence (formal or informal from experience) that TTs reduce insect issues in addition to keeping slugs and furry critters at bay? The deck is only two steps up off the ground at one end, and about 4 ft off the ground at the other. I don't use any chemical pest control in or around the house, so I don't think being close to the structure would be the difference, but I don't know that for sure.

Thanks for any input. My boxes in the yard already have bottoms because of the slope of the hill, so building bases for them next spring wouldn't be too bad.

Thanks again.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  boffer on 6/9/2011, 10:06 am

@Little Thumb wrote:Boffer, do you have problems with the TT garden drying out? I have had hanging baskets before and they dry out so fast. Since there will be so much airflow under and above does this cause any problems? We are in a wind tunnel here in KANSAS.
Little Thumb

It makes sense that weather could make a difference. I don't have a problem, but my summer weather is generally mild. Wardinwake in Virginia thought he had excessive evaporation so he re-did his boxes with plywood bottoms. Putting plastic over the hardware cloth would do the same thing. Chexmix in NC hasn't had a problem, but she has an auto sprinkler system.


@busygirl wrote:Is there any evidence (formal or informal from experience) that TTs reduce insect issues in addition to keeping slugs and furry critters at bay?

The only insect problem I've had in my tabletops is with aphids and cabbage moths. But I don't have the nasty bugs that other parts of the country have to deal with. The carrot fly has a maximum flight altitude of 18 inches, so I know my TT carrots are safe! I would guess that there are other insects that fly low to the ground too.


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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

Post  walshevak on 6/9/2011, 10:18 am

Plastic over the hardware cloth has worked pretty well for me here in hot NC. And I live in a wind tunnel because I'm between 2 rivers and the Albemarle Sound, all within a 3 mile radius. I will note that when the beds got really full of plants, I needed to water more, usually a 2nd watering around 5pm every 2-3 days. The plants just sucked it up.

The pond beds at my son's house is having a problem because one of the plants, an edible gourd, is a water hog. He has to fill that pond almost every day. Found out after we planted that the Filipino's always plant it near a creek or river. Very Happy

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TT

Post  kauairosina on 3/4/2016, 8:13 pm

great post Boffer.  I look forward to the sequel. I had two 4 by 8 raised beds made about 14 years ago when i was a young 66 and it is one of the best investments i have ever made.

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Re: Table tops take SFG to a higher level!

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