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Whats your opinion on Size

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Whats your opinion on Size

Post  jumiclads on 11/23/2010, 7:57 am

If I could make my SFG boxes any size I wanted, what would be the ideal sizes and depths in your opinion.
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  LaFee on 11/23/2010, 8:04 am

Sorry to be obtuse, jumiclads, but it depends!

They shouldn't be more than 4 feet (1,2m) across -- this is the recommended width, as most people can easily reach to the middle from other side. (The corollary of this is, then, that if you can only access it from one side, it should be no more than 2 feet/0,6m wide)

How long is up to you, and how long you want to keep nailing on side boards. Mine is 8 feet (2,4m) long, because of where it's located and the size of the wood I could obtain (and get home in my car!). To go longer than that, you'll need reinforcing posts spaced every 4' or so to keep the walls from falling over.

As far as depth, it depends on what you're going to grow. Mel recommends at least 6" (15cm), with 12" (30cm) or deeper for root crops - beets, carrots, etc. -- and you could easily go to 18" for potatoes. (NB: I grew potatoes in rubble sacks -- what Thompson & Morgan call potato grow bags -- this year with great success and intent to use them again this year)

Please pardon the slightly bipolar measurements -- the book was written in the US for a US market, so uses Imperial measurements...but those of us outside the US end up doing patchwork conversions to be able to buy the materials!

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Size

Post  ander217 on 11/23/2010, 8:26 am

We have one box which is 4' x 4' x 12". We made it deeper so we could grow potatoes and long carrots. We filled the entire box with Mel's Mix before learning here that we could have filled it halfway with cheaper materials such as rice hulls or chopped straw and then topped it with MM. We also learned that we could have built a 6" deep box, and then added another 6" frame to one section when we wanted to plant deeper crops. The best thing about the 12" box for me is that I can sit in a chair and reach it more easily than the shallow beds. But a table top box would have been even better for that.

We have several boxes that are 1' x 8' x 8" which fill a narrow space along a fence. We used 8" wooden boards because that's what we had readily available. We built our trellis next to the hog panel fence and grew tomatoes in those narrow boxes, and other crops that can be grown on a trellis such as pole beans, muskmelons, peas, and butternut squash. They all did fine in the narrow boxes.

We have several raised beds that are 4' x 10' because that size works in the space of our garden with walkways in front and back. We measure them into SF grids before planting. We plant taller or vining crops in those such as watermelons, sweet potatoes, okra, and corn.

If I were gardening without my hubby's help I would make the beds and boxes no wider than 3' because I have shorter arms and can't reach all the way to the middle of the 4' boxes. Hubby made boxes for his mother that were 1' x 4' because he attached them to her house at waist level. She uses a walker and couldn't reach more than one foot without losing her balance.

I'd say the size of your boxes depends on the size and shape of your planting area, any materials you might have on hand, and your particular needs and growing plans.
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  boffer on 11/23/2010, 11:54 am

After five years, none of my twelve boxes are the same size, and none are more than 4 feet wide. That happened because I used the materials I had on hand. My 12th box was my first 4x4, and I think I'm going to like that size best. I've started doing the covered wagon thing on some of my boxes, and reaching in more than two rows from the end just doesn't work well for me. If I were starting from scratch, I would make most of my boxes 4x4s.

I've also started experimenting with 1x4 boxes, with plywood bottoms, for their versatility and ease of movement.

Ander said it well: "I'd say the size of your boxes depends on the size and shape of your planting area, any materials you might have on hand, and your particular needs and growing plans."

Garden space and usage evolves as we gain experience and knowledge. Go with your best guess, and be prepared to make changes next year, and the year after, and the year...!
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  middlemamma on 11/23/2010, 12:35 pm

I only have 4X4's but I love them...

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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  Squat_Johnson on 11/23/2010, 2:18 pm

Mine are 4'x24'. They are 6" deep, except for the last 8' of one that I use for carrots and potatoes which is 10" deep. I have trellis frames every other 4' section so I can reach the middle.
I use a soaker hose that runs "long ways" down, up and back down under the 1', 2', and 3' square foot grids. I buried a water hose that links the three beds (two beds are shown in this photo, and you can see the maroon hose going from bed two over to bed three).

url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=24&u=15260516][/url]

If I were to do it again, the only thing I would change is to use a fine metal screen (hardware cloth) on the bottom. I have a lot of moles/voles that tunnel from underneath, especially in the potato beds.
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  jumiclads on 11/23/2010, 6:27 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone. Its nice to get good sensible answers which is a rare thing on forums. I have been thinking and decided I will make them 4 x 4 and 12 inches deep (to save the back) because I can always butt them together if I decide I want a 4 x 8 or longer anyway. It will only take a small amount of extra wood. I can then stack them aswell if I need them to be a little deeper for potatoes. Also it will be easier to move them around to make more room if they start breeding as they seem to do in alot of your own gardens. Very Happy
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  boffer on 11/23/2010, 6:34 pm

jumiclads wrote:... it will be easier to move them around to make more room if they start breeding as they seem to do in alot of your own gardens. Very Happy

yahoo

That's exactly what happens; I'm sure of it!
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  WardinWake on 11/23/2010, 7:05 pm

jumiclads wrote: Also it will be easier to move them around to make more room if they start breeding as they seem to do in alot of your own gardens. Very Happy

Mick:

Oh boy to they breed! Ours even had a few grow up to be "round foot gardens". They even breed in the winter.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Re: Whats your opinion on Size

Post  acara on 11/23/2010, 9:09 pm

I don't have an educated opinion .... just an opinion

The 2 x 12's appeal to me, because of my love for all things tall and vining.

2' wide seems easier to keep up than my 4 x 4 & there are 12 peat pods in a starter kit ... so I can grow a full row of each type of yummy Russian heirloom tomatoes I'm dreaming about every night Very Happy

The 1 x 8 I just built just seems "innadequate" ...but we'll see how I feel once it gets going.

4 x 4 with 16 tall-viney-thingies was just too crowded for me & seemed more like take-home engineering work. 4 weeks of fun with 8 weeks of work over the 12 week cycle. Probably would have been different if I did "low" crops though.
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