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Extra deep boxes?

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Extra deep boxes?

Post  greenmama on 2/18/2011, 6:04 pm

I was just reading the carrot planting thread, and saw mention of needing to plant baby carrots if you don't have an extra deep box, and I went "Gulp! Oh no!". I *thought* I had a pretty good handle on the SFG method. I haven't bought my supplies yet, but am close to it. So, what other produce needs deep garden boxes besides carrots? Should I maybe do one deep and one 6" ?

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  jumiclads on 2/18/2011, 6:18 pm

I pondered on that one for a while. Should I make 6" boxes to save on Mels Mix or should I make 24" deep boxes to save on my back. In the end I went for boxes 10" deep to allow for deep rooted produce like carrots, parsips, root parsley etc. and if I need to make them deeper for my back as I get older I can allways double up. Also I decided to make them all 10" deep so that crop rotation will never be a problem.

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Extra deep boxes?

Post  florenceq on 2/18/2011, 6:44 pm

I didn't want to make my box extra deep either so I am planing to use a Utility tub with hold drilled in the bottom for drainage for my long carrots. The tub is 18 inches deep and has a 22 inch circumference. It is an old tub we used to fill with ice for backyard BBQs. This will be the first time I try it so I will let you all know how it works out.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  jerzyjen on 2/18/2011, 6:54 pm

My first year out, I did the 6" box, but decided to dig into my native soil an additional 6" for the area where the root crops (carrots & potatos namely). So from top you couldn't tell. I just redid my whole layout with new boxes, and I regretted doing that cause I had to go and backfill that area.

If you don't have a strong desire to grow long root crops you don't need to go deeper. You can also add a small seperate square box ontop of the squares you want taller (for example...if you do 2 squares only of carrots, just make a 1' x 2' x 6" box and lay it on top of 2 squares in your 4' x 4' x 6" box). Or just grow them separately in a tall bucket....or grow short varieties....

Lots to think about, and you can always change your mind later (like I do every year so far).

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  miinva on 2/19/2011, 12:06 am

Personally, I think deeper boxes are better so all of our new boxes are double depth. I think it's worth the extra work at the beginning because in my experience, crops hold out better throughout the season.

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Deep boxes?

Post  ander217 on 2/19/2011, 7:18 am

We made our first box 12" deep so we could plant long carrots, potatoes, and leeks. We also planted other crops in that box, but none of their roots went beyond six inches, even when they had the chance.

We weren't too smart, though. We filled the entire box with Mel's Mix. Later we learned we could have filled the first six inches with filler. We redid that box yesterday, and we filled the bottom half of it with composted rice hulls and will put a 6" layer of MM on top.

Then we learned about adding small frames on top of sections of the boxes where deeper crops need to be grown. They can be built to any size and can be moved around from year to year for crop rotation purposes. With those, one only needs to fill those squares inside the frame with extra MM.

The deeper boxes take more water, too. That's not a problem for us, but it might be a concern in dry areas.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  quiltbea on 2/19/2011, 10:33 am

I started out with nine 12" boxes and I'm glad I did. I'd hate to have to redo later at my age.
I filled mostly with garden loam delivered by the truckload and added compost, peat moss and amendments on top and dug it in.
I'm very pleased with mine but this year I hope to add Mel's Mix if I can find it here. Couldn't get it here last year and everyone has such good things to say about it.

I like the idea of adding lumber to 2 or 4 squares to make it deeper. Its simpler than building another box if you only have a few things that grow long.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  greenmama on 2/19/2011, 9:54 pm

Thanks all! Those are some great, easy ideas!

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/19/2011, 10:05 pm

You know, I haven't seen anyone recommend the "table top" gardens yet? Instead of raising depth, and costing you more in MM that will likely go unused (or even filler), you just put a bottom on your box with plywood, drill some drainage holes, put it up on some posts placed frequently enough to support the structure, and put the 6" MM in the box at the height you desire so you don't need to bend over.

If your back is the concern, tabletops (TTs) are the best solution I've heard of.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/20/2011, 1:30 am

If you want to grow longer rooted crops, such as carrots, parsnips or potatoes, consider the "Top Hat" or "High Rise".
You build your garden 6 inches deep and fill it with your Mel's Mix. Then you build a bottomless box an additional 6 or 8 inches deep and set that on top of the section that you want to make deeper and fill it with Mel's Mix. You could build it 1 foot by 1 foot, or in my case it will be 1 ft X 4 ft so that I have 4 squares on one side of my Table Top garden that is 12 or more inches deep. I will be using thin wood such as luan to create my high rise so I won't take up too much of the space with wood.

For a photo of this please click on the following link.
Top Hat or High Rise


Sorry Jerzyjen and Ander 217 -I did not read your whole post until after I wrote this. my bad.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/22/2011, 2:38 am

@Furbalsmom wrote:If you want to grow longer rooted crops,
such as carrots, parsnips or potatoes, consider the "Top Hat" or "High Rise".
You build your garden 6 inches deep and fill it with your Mel's Mix.
Then you build a bottomless box an additional 6 or 8 inches deep and
set that on top of the section that you want to make deeper and fill it with Mel's Mix.
You could build it 1 foot by 1 foot, or in my case it will be 1 ft X 4 ft
so that I have 4 squares on one side of my Table Top garden that is 12 or more inches deep.
I will be using thin wood such as luan to create my high rise so I won't take up too much of the space with wood.

For a photo of this please click on the following link.
Top Hat or High Rise
Hi there,
Clicked on this Link, but it didn't go anywhere. Would you please Repost Smile it.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  pattipan on 7/22/2011, 4:00 am

Apparently it's not available on their site any longer. I found some other pictures...

Top Hat:


High Rise:


pattipan

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  Furbalsmom on 7/22/2011, 4:33 am

Pattipan, thanks for posting the pictures. They explain the concept so well.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  boettg33 on 7/22/2011, 8:02 am

I went three boards high for my design. 1"X6" is not truly 6" high, but close enough. When I put the soil in, I only bring it up to the top of the second board. Works well and I do a complete turnover of the soil each year.




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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  littlejo on 7/22/2011, 10:06 am

@boettg33 wrote:I went three boards high for my design. 1"X6" is not truly 6" high, but close enough. When I put the soil in, I only bring it up to the top of the second board. Works well and I do a complete turnover of the soil each year.




Jason
I built my boxes 12 inches, and left room on top for mulch if needed.

Jason, could you please explain what you mean by a complete turnover of the soil each year?

Jo

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  sfgteachers on 7/22/2011, 10:52 am

Has anyone mentioned that you can use cheap topsoil or sand in the lower 6" of your deep box? I put in topsoil last year and then Mel's Mix for the top 6" and its working great. Saves a lot of $

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/22/2011, 12:08 pm

@pattipan wrote:Apparently it's not available on their site any longer. I found some other pictures...

Top Hat:


High Rise:


pattipan
How long would these Individual-WOOD-divisions last, before decaying, &
needing replacement?

iow, the concern here is the overall/longterm expense?

it's nice for people who dabble in hobbies;
but
what about people who actually depend on such for their whole Food-supply?,
along with Fruit-bushes, & Fruit-trees Wink

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  sherryeo on 7/22/2011, 6:48 pm

LittleGardener - I would think the wooden "hat boxes" would probably last as long as most folks' wooden square foot garden boxes - the 4x4s or whatever dimension you might have - depending on what kind of wood they were made from. Of course, some folks use concrete blocks or other things for their sfg boxes.

sfgteachers - I like the idea of using a filler for the bottom layer of an extra deep box to save $$ on the Mel's Mix, but wouldn't it all eventually get mixed together? I wouldn't want to use my native soil here - too many plant diseases in it, but maybe even using potting soil would be cheaper than Mel's Mix.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  Furbalsmom on 7/22/2011, 7:35 pm

Sherryeo,

If you a building a deep box and don't need the full depth for your deep rooted plants like parsnips, carrots etc, you might consider placing weedblock between the space filling product (soil, potting mix) and your Mel's Mix. That way the Mel's Mix will not be mixed and contaminated with the other product but you can still save $$$.

But, for deep rooted crops, I would use straight Mel's Mix for the full depth.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  sherryeo on 7/22/2011, 8:21 pm

Thanks, FM. I think I might try to make a small deeper box for carrots or use a "hat box." I'm thinking that I might try the potato grow bags for that purpose, rather than having to make a special box for them. I'm just always trying to think how I can plant more, more, more!!! And the idea of not having to use my valuable sfg space for the potatoes appeals to me.

I think the only reason I'd probably need a deeper box would be for deep rooted plants, so I'm not sure the weed cloth in between the layers would work for my intended purposes. I've used the weed cloth in my regular beds to try to keep the native soild from getting mixed in, though.

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  Chopper on 7/22/2011, 8:57 pm

@sherryeo wrote:I like the idea of using a filler for the bottom layer of an extra deep box to save $$ on the Mel's Mix, but wouldn't it all eventually get mixed together?

Why would it mix together? Normally one would not turn over the soil in the box, just add compost on top so I do not see it mixing very much.

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Extra deep boxes?

Post  sherryeo on 7/22/2011, 10:21 pm

I just thought that with the roots growing down deeper, when pulling the plants up to dispose of them after they're done producing, wouldn't the roots pull up some of the bottom layer, thus mixing up the two layers? I've never done it, so don't know. I am just so against letting any of my native soil get mixed in or upsetting the balance of the MM with any kind of filler that I'm being super cautious, I guess. No one who's tried it has had a problem with that?

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  sfgteachers on 7/23/2011, 9:10 am

Sherryo- You are right to not use any native soil...no way! I have not had any problem mixing the bottom soil with the top. I continually add compost to the top which raises it too. Mel even teaches doing this in his book...using sand or topsoil as a bottom layer in a deep box.

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Extra deep boxes?

Post  sherryeo on 7/23/2011, 11:13 am

Thanks, Belinda, I'll have to go back and reread that part of the book. I'm just so pro-Mel's Mix that I was worried about somehow diluting it. Sometimes I just need a little hand-holding when trying new things - this forum is great at providing just that. It's probably a very good time to reread the whole book since it's getting close to fall planting time!

It would be great to be able to alleviate some of the expense of the MM in that way and I really would like to figure out how to try that with growing carrots - whether in a separate small box or in one of the hat boxes!

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Re: Extra deep boxes?

Post  LittleGardener on 7/24/2011, 5:39 pm

@sherryeo wrote:LittleGardener -
I would think the wooden "hat boxes" would probably last as long
as most folks' wooden square foot garden boxes, depending on what kind of wood they were made from.
Of course, some folks use concrete blocks or other things for their sfg boxes.
Good! answer - sent me reviewing, once again for the Lightest, most durable material for Container-gardening. Researching...

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