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STAND UP GARDENING

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STAND UP GARDENING

Post  walshevak on 10/17/2010, 11:46 am

I just bought the SFG book. I'm hoping this method will help me keep gardening. My knees won't let me garden on the ground any more. Any tips on getting started?

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  Old Hippie on 10/17/2010, 12:33 pm

Welcome to SFG and this forum. You have come to the right place. There are several people on here who do table top gardening. Just put "table top gardening" in the topic search and check out what others on this site have done. The thread "Ma-in-law's Happy" is a good start and some links in that thread.

There are all kinds of ways for you to do gardening while giving your knees a rest.

All the best to you.

GK

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  PNG_Grandma on 10/17/2010, 1:07 pm

In our garden site we have raised beds that are about 16" high. Of the 14 or so gardeners many are well over 70 yrs old, and some that are in their 60s have trouble with their knees. We have several chairs at the garden site that are often hauled over to a garden box that needs some work. This allows the gardener the ability to work in their garden and still be seated. I would think if you make your garden beds only 2'- 3' wide you could reach while still being seated. Recently my husband Al (outsideasy) built a TT for my dad. Dad resisted at first but couldn't "return" the birthday gift...and now he loves it. He sits in a lawn chair on his patio to garden instead of trying to walk all the way around to the far side of the house/yard on uneven ground. Take a look at our thread describing our community garden. Good Luck!!
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/northern-california-coastal-valleys-f13/modesto-central-valley-ca-t2996.htm

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Health issues

Post  ander217 on 10/18/2010, 8:57 am

Welcome to the forum.

I have health issues, too. I'm lucky that my husband does the difficult labor in our garden, and I can sit in a lawn chair and reach the tops of boxes to do most of the tasks of planting, picking bugs, and harvesting. We also plant in raised beds but he takes care of most of those. I harvest okra and corn from them, and cut zinnia bouquets - things I can reach without bending over too much.

I really enjoy the trellis plants. I can stand and harvest from the upper growth or sit in my chair and harvest from the lower branches or vines.

If you have trouble rising from a chair, then table tops are the best way to go. Boffer is king of the TT's on this forum and he and others have photos and information about them on several threads. As Old Hippie said, do a search for them.

My MIL uses a walker and needs to keep one hand on the walker while working her garden. She can't reach very far so we built her table top box only 1' wide and set it on two old stools, as well as securing it to the side of her house. It works great for her.

Keep us informed on your progess.

The great thing about SFG is that it can be adapted to fit anyone's needs.

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  acara on 10/18/2010, 10:19 am

I would love to make my next SFG "elevated", but it doesnt lend itself to the big vining stuff that I like to grow.

I am considering doing a modified 2' x 12' SFG thats elevated, with 2' squares, or 1' x 12' & uses 1 x 2" rectangles & 3' x 5' trellises in each square running parallel to the width(going wide instead of high).

I'm not as old as some, but as they say ... "it's not the years, it's the mileage that gets ya" .... and the first couple of weeks of "low work" on my SFG was a little rough on the knees/back/hips.

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  sfg4uKim on 10/19/2010, 1:39 am

Have you seen the new boxes that hook onto chain link fences offered in the SFG shop? I'd love to try a few of those next year. I have a vision of me with a box up high and my grandchildren with lower boxes. Now all I have to do is convince my sons to get married and give me those grandchildren. Smile

Kim

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I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  Furbalsmom on 10/19/2010, 2:27 am

Has anyone tried the new SFG boxes that hang on chain link fences? I wonder if 2 S hooks are enough to hold the box securely. :?:

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  WardinWake on 10/19/2010, 6:05 pm

@walshevak wrote:I just bought the SFG book. I'm hoping this method will help me keep gardening. My knees won't let me garden on the ground any more. Any tips on getting started?

Howdy Walshevak:

Square Foot Gardening is just wonderful for use at table top height. If you can stand while gardening you can have the table top garden at any height that is best for you.

To have a 10 inch deep table top bed that is 34 inches from the ground you would need to have a support frame that is 24 inches tall. That suits my wife who is 5'2" and it is a good height for me at 5'11". One way to figure what height to build the bed to is to walk up to a desk and see how easy or not easy it would be to garden at that height. Then walk over to your kitchen sink and do the same. That way you can get an idea of how tall you would like your beds to be.

For supports under the beds we built ours out of 2X4 lumber. One SFG we put on an old kitchen cabnet and attached wheels to it. The cabnet has doors and drawers to hold things in. Because it is mounted on wheels we can move it to full sun or shade as the season progresses and the plants in the bed change. By moving the bed under a dense shade tree we extended our spring lettuce harvest by weeks.

You can get as plane or fancy with the supports as you desire. I have one made from a cable spool that had been thrown in the trash. Other spools were used as gardens. We put a flexable hard plastic siding around the spool and an instant garden was made.

Other Table Top gardens can be built for those in wheel chairs or even for those gardeners who are bed bound. One VA hospital uses TT gardens built on old gurnies and the TT's are rolled to the vet's hospital room.

Lots of love and God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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stand up gardening

Post  walshevak on 10/22/2010, 1:11 pm

Thanks for all the ideas from forum members. I followed several of the tabletop gardening threads and go some good ideas. When my son is able to travel to visit me, we are going to build some tabletops. And he is really interested in trying out a few ground level beds on the pure sand in his yard. Thanks to the vermiculite database, I know I can get some of the supplies from a garden supply center in Virginia Beach, VA which is only about an hour drive from me. YEA!!!!

I'm not good with carpentry tools and can't lift a finished box but am gradually acquiring some of the materials. Since reading some of yours posts, I've been looking at throw aways differently. If I ever see an old mattress frame on a trash heap, it will definately go into the back of my truck. Electric wire spools are something else I will be looking for. I have a huge back yard that I never put to garden because of the septic leach field, but tabletops will make good use of that space.

I was wondering if 10" sides would be better for tabletops. The 6" seems ok when it is on top of ground that wicks moisture up, but it seems to me 10" would be better on hard surfaces. I have grown tomatos and peppers in pots, but they never seem to do as well as the ones in the ground, no matter how often I water and feed.

Walking is not a problem for me. I just can't bend over for long periods of time and my knees make it difficult to get up and down off the ground. I have never been able to kneel to garden as my knees would turn black and blue from bruising. I would just sit down and lean over. But now I have great difficulty getting back to a standing position.

I will check back into the forum as I get some consruction done and hopefully I'll have some pictures to share next spring. In the meantime, happy gardening and survive the winter in good spirits.

Kay Walsh

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  boffer on 10/22/2010, 1:38 pm

What we've been seeing this summer is that MM can be hard to keep hydrated in a six inch box in some climates.

All my tabletop boxes are six inches deep; I water once a day; everything works great.

Chexmix is down your way, and she is going with deeper TT boxes because of the heat. You can see her set-up here.

We have begun to document just how well tomatoes can grow in six inches or less of MM here.

Be sure to update often. Those of us in four season climates will be gardening vicariously through your posts!

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free wood but is it useful?

Post  walshevak on 11/16/2010, 12:55 pm

I was just given 8 shipping pallets all approximately 42"X42" but not exactly. The wood is not the greatest but the price was right. Laughing Exercise your gardening skills and give me some ideas. I was thinking about resting the pallets on cinder blocks and using them as supports for hardware cloth bottom gardens. Is there anything I can do to extend the life of this cheap wood? I also though about nailing 1 to my deck side and making the 2 liter soda bottle self watering planters from "WALL OF FLOWERS" Again, the wood is UGLY and probably could use some sort of preservative for exterior use.

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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

Post  WardinWake on 11/16/2010, 5:55 pm

@walshevak wrote:I was just given 8 shipping pallets all approximately 42"X42" but not exactly. The wood is not the greatest but the price was right. Laughing Exercise your gardening skills and give me some ideas. I was thinking about resting the pallets on cinder blocks and using them as supports for hardware cloth bottom gardens. Is there anything I can do to extend the life of this cheap wood? I also though about nailing 1 to my deck side and making the 2 liter soda bottle self watering planters from "WALL OF FLOWERS" Again, the wood is UGLY and probably could use some sort of preservative for exterior use.

Howdy Walsh:

One use for old pallets is in the making of compost bins. You can use the pallets as sides and use wire for hinges to create a door. For extra strength the sides can be supported by or attached to strong posts such as 4X4s.

As far as using the pallets for a bottom for a SFG, hardware cloth can be attached to the pallets and then covered with weed barrier to hold your Mel's Mix in. I built several SFGs using this method this past spring. A big draw back is that water will flow straight through the MM before being absorbed. I tried several watering methods including slow watering through soaker hoses and was still dissapointed with the results. This fall I rebuilt the SFG beds and allowed them to sit directly on the ground as described in Mel's book. We are also rebuilding our table top SFGs so that they have solid bottoms and not the hardware cloth bottoms. So while the pallets can be used I would advise against using them as bottoms for your SFGs.

HOWEVER, One thing you can do is to circle behind hardware stores such as Lowe's and Home Depo and check what they are throwing away. Some of their larger items come on narrow but long pallets that are constructed out of 2X4's and can be as long as 12 feet. By removing the cross peices the 2X4s can be reused to make SFGs. Most of the 2X4s will be in the 6 to 8 foot range. I was able to get a large shipping box made from 2X4's and roofing sheeting (composit wood) from which we constructed several new Table Top SFGs. The sheeting is not as durable as 3/4 inch plywood, but, the price is right. Just be sure to ask before you take them. We also picked up several plant stands that were 2 and 1/2 feet deep, 4 feet wide and had 4 wire shelves, all for the asking and taking. Most stores would rather give away such items then have to pay a landfill to bury them.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.



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Re: STAND UP GARDENING

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