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SFG pots

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SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/23/2011, 4:50 pm

I know those true to SFG and the author would probably say NO NO NO!!

but I AM starting a 4x4 on a table and getting 2- 2x4's - however I am renting and have limited space and time and my mom gave me 7 pots. She is supplying the "mel's mix" so I want to garden in the pots as well.

here goes my question (I'm new here--hello)

Can I square foot garden (in sorts) with pots?

can I fill the bottoms with sand (or is there something better?!rocks, pebbles something that drains) and then the top 6 inches with mel's mix?!

anyone ever done something like this? will it have drain problems?! does it matter how deep it is? 1 pot I want to do tomatoes in is 2ft across and 22inches deep (so 16 inches "something" at the bottom)

I have 3 huge pots and 3-51 inch tall cages that fit into those pots. I want to put tomatoes in 2 and then maybe zuchinni, cucumbers in the 3rd??!!

I will be doing all my herbs in the other pots: cilantro, basil (later in it's own pot), thyme, oregano, sage, chives, parsely, rosemary and maybe add some garlic.

just trying to figure out the cheapest way and also make things portable since we could be moving as early as end of may.

I then want to do a 4x4 box but am still trying to figure things out with those who own the place we rent. (if I do a raised bed over a grass area--and still water under there- it will still only get side sunlight and may die--would the grass revive once I moved the box if/when we moved?! (meaning are the owners going to tell me no?)

I figure I could later ,when we have a permanant place and I do more boxes,--I could take the soil out of the pots at that point and use it for actual 4x4 boxes.

oh and in another 2 pots I have (1 1/2 ft across)- I want to do 12 inches of "mels mix" soil and the rest sand and do carrots in one and potatoes in the other. WDYT?!!!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  boffer on 3/23/2011, 5:19 pm

Sounds great-go for it. There's another thread just a couple days old about fillers for the bottoms of pots. Maybe someone remembers where it is. As | recall, empty pop bottles were popular.

For your 4x4, if you put a bottom on it, that would give you more options. You could set it on a driveway, sidewalk etc. Or you could set it on a picnic table or something sturdy like that. Then when it's time to move, just pick up the whole garden and go!

Happy gardening

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/23/2011, 5:42 pm

thank you for answering!!!

I read when I tried an googled it that I shouldn't have more than 1-4 inches of a filler at the bottom of a pot--so would 16 inches be okay? do you have ideas that would make SURE there woudln't be problems down there? I figure I "could" put a screen between the "filler" and then start the mel's mix on top of that.

I am thinking I will put a 4x4 on top of this table?! do you think it will hold?! I'm hoping!!

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=218&cat=272&ad=14753936

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Re: SFG pots

Post  boffer on 3/23/2011, 5:54 pm

When I'm looking at something to hold a 4x4 box off the ground, my mental image is: will it hold 2 adult men? There's a built in safety factor there; don't worry about the size of the men! Your table will work.

I'm not familiar with your filler specs. It seems like it could be any depth you wanted. Put weedblock cloth or plastic (with a few holes for drainage) on top of the filler to separate the MM from the filler, and you should be good to go.

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/23/2011, 6:18 pm

THANK YOU for answering!! I'm so happy these forumns exist- (just found them today)- I was trying to ask other gardeners on a couponing website and they told me no about the pots. and thanks for aswering about the table--woo-hoo!!! I am super excited. now I just need to spend time reading threads to figure out when to plant, what to plant, what to plant where, etc . thanks again! Smile

p.s. what would be the ideal thing to put at the bottom in your mind?! rocks?! (or did you find that old thread?! I'll go look for it)

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Re: SFG pots

Post  walshevak on 3/23/2011, 6:38 pm


____________________________

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Re: SFG pots

Post  acara on 3/23/2011, 6:41 pm

Anything will work .... somethings will obviously work better than others Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy .

It needs to be either flat or conform to the shape of your retention screen and pass water/but not soil & obviously cheaper than it's equivalent in Mel's Mix.

If you can give me the ID's (inside diameter) and shape of the pot, I've probably got something already rigged up to show you (and a couple different ways).

My HOA dictates that everytihing has to look a certain way & be uniform in sizes/patterns .... and I have almost everything in pots. As you can imagine, I've gotten pretty good at stuffing any size plant in any size pot.

Pick a pot, any pot ..... I've probably got one to show ya HERE

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/23/2011, 6:58 pm

thanks for offering specific help. I do worry about it being too light - esp the ones I am using a cage with and doing tomatoes. they are brown/clay color thick plastic--so durable but not necessarily heavy already.

the 3 I want to add 51 inch high cages in are 2 ft across (radius 12 inches) and 22 inches deep (top to the floor) (they DO get 1-3 inches skinnier as you drop down)

these 3 I am thinking I MAY need to get something heavier if there is a 51 inch cage and tomatoes or zuchinni in it as well?!

they are mostly like this: http://lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore.com/80-517-plant-pots-plastic/terra-cotta-planter-125819.aspx

the others are-
2- 1 1/2 ft across and 18 inches deep (I was thinking I would do 12 inches of MM in these and do carrots and potatoes--so only need 6 inches of filler here)

1- 16 inches across and 13 inches deep
1-19 inches across and 15 inch deep
1- 16 inches across and 13 deep.
those last 3 I was going to put herbs in--I wanted to save 1 to put 2 basil plants in and the other 2 put my other herbs--however I DO have garlic chives, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, sage, and rosemary sitting on my window sill. how should I group those and how many could I put/ pot?!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  HPartin on 3/23/2011, 7:01 pm

I think using pots is great. I have grown tomotoes, squash, beets, and green beans all in pots on my deck. I too was moving and needed to make sure my garden was portable. I did not know about MM, so I just used potting soil. I got produce from all pots, although probably not as much as if it was in the ground. I attribute that more to the potting soil and a very hot summer, not to the fact that it was grown in pots. My main issue with using pots, is that I had the worst time keeping it watered. Mel's Mix might have been the solution to that.

Go for it!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  acara on 3/23/2011, 10:16 pm

@Lollypop9 wrote:thanks for offering specific help. I do worry about it being too light - esp the ones I am using a cage with and doing tomatoes. they are brown/clay color thick plastic--so durable but not necessarily heavy already.

the 3 I want to add 51 inch high cages in are 2 ft across (radius 12 inches) and 22 inches deep (top to the floor) (they DO get 1-3 inches skinnier as you drop down)

these 3 I am thinking I MAY need to get something heavier if there is a 51 inch cage and tomatoes or zuchinni in it as well?!

they are mostly like this: http://lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore.com/80-517-plant-pots-plastic/terra-cotta-planter-125819.aspx

the others are-
2- 1 1/2 ft across and 18 inches deep (I was thinking I would do 12 inches of MM in these and do carrots and potatoes--so only need 6 inches of filler here)

1- 16 inches across and 13 inches deep
1-19 inches across and 15 inch deep
1- 16 inches across and 13 deep.
those last 3 I was going to put herbs in--I wanted to save 1 to put 2 basil plants in and the other 2 put my other herbs--however I DO have garlic chives, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, sage, and rosemary sitting on my window sill. how should I group those and how many could I put/ pot?!

Hmm ... not typical sizes, so nesting pots may be a problem.

Got to stack or build a plenium.

Easiest way is to get a piece of plastic egg-crate lighting panel, raise it on two bricks and cover with weed block.......then start your Mel's mix on top of that. Alternatively, you can use a 4" diameter piece of PVC and put a drain adaptor on top to build the "lift" add MM on that.

I'm not a big fan of mixed-media (because you contaminate the MM for future use) but on the pots that your using cages on, you'll need full-depth to avoid a "wind accident" from the 52" cages. I'd also bury a brick in the plastic pot, for the bottom weight. For the cages, you either need to use 1/4" or smaller gravel, covered with weed block, up to the incremental height & then add your 6" of MM after that.

I can get construction pictures for you, if you can wait until the weekend..... otherwise, this is the general concept of the finished product (collars are optional);



You can also supplement the 52" cages with triangle cages, for large heavy crops (I've done full size watermelons, vertically, with this arrangement);






This was "Stanley", the crack-cucumber ..... at a "trimmed" height of 8', in this configuration.




As an alternate, you can augment the cage with a center stake, for a more cost-effective solution to the triangle cages (those are 52" round cages in the pic);


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Re: SFG pots

Post  Blackrose on 3/23/2011, 11:37 pm

I only have one emoticon for you today acara: praise

And one word: Brilliant!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  duhh on 3/23/2011, 11:52 pm

I will be planting some pumpkins and melons in pots this year. I ran out of space for larger plants, so I'll put them in pots and spread them out a little more and not worry about trellising them.

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Re: SFG pots

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2011, 12:58 am

Let me preface this by saying I am no expert SFG'er nor have I ever planted in pots.
But some things come to mind.
1. you can always fill the pots with all MM. then when you set up your 4x4 box you can pour the MM from the pot to the box.
2. you could put your 6" of MM on the bottom of the pot, then dress up the top with small potted plants to fill in the top. As your plants get full, you could move the little pots out on their own.
3. If you are trying to fill in space, then bigger would seem to be better. I have seen large porous rocks by culvert pipes, they are about the size of softballs. (Maybe someone can properly identify them)
4. you could invert another pot inside the larger pot and fill MM around it. if the bottom diameter is 15" put in a 14" pot inverted. you could then put a 5 or 10 pound dumbell weight under the pot to give it weight on the bottom. (you know those weights that have been in that box in the garage since college)
5. you could fill some of those disposable food containers with soil or sand or rocks that way you don't get any of that in the MM.
Good luck

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Re: SFG pots

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2011, 1:01 am

Oh and as for the grass under the table top, I wouldn't worry. It's no different that a picnic table or trampoline. We move our trampoline whenever we mow the grass and there is always plenty to mow under it.

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/24/2011, 2:25 am

thanks for the replies--

acara I am a NEW NEWBIE (as in haven't even finished reading the sfg book) and I am very confused by your post. I really appreciate your help.

is there a jargo help post?

"so nesting pots may be a problem" what is a nesting pot?!and do I need this in addition to my pot?

Got to stack or build a plenium.- what is a plenium...and I am going to have to make one because my ptos are irregular sizes? (I did measure quickly yesterday at my mom's so maybe I was way off)

are you saying that you don't think the cages will be enough to hold the tomatoes...(and something else that needs a cage--cucumbers, or zuchinni?!) I could just do 3 pots of tomatoes and venture into the other treiliss needed veggies next year.

you say i need a full depth and that you don't like mixed media. are you referring to the brick idea being what would contaminate the MM or assuming I would use other potting soil to fill the entire pot?!

would rocks work on the bottom in all situations?! do they drain?!


also--my garlic chives say they need 18" apart--does this mean I can only have this ONE herb in a pot?! I wanted to fit 2-3. does ti get THAT big?!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  acara on 3/24/2011, 4:15 am

Being a SFG newbie has nothing to do with it ..... I confuse everyone, including myself Very Happy . I'm new to SFG myself .... so dont let that bother you ....... or be my excuse for confusing people (I did that wayyyy before I even knew what SFG was...LOL).

Nesting is just putting one smaller sized pot inside of another, where the inside pot rest on the "lip" of the bigger pot" ..... picture will explain better.

Plenum is a bottom support grid ..... again, picture will help.

The wire tomato cages are notorious for only being as good as they need to be Very Happy . They will typically work well for average size crops of average size tomatoes, but you can also use the cages for other non-tomato crops (cukes, squash, melons, etc) that have heavier fruit and/or foliage. However, sometimes the large tomato harvest, or growing other veggies, will pop the welds on the cages, if you dont have additional support.

On mixed media ..... filling the pot 1/2 with sand, dirt, gravel, etc, and the balance with Mel's Mix (abbreviated MM) would be mixed media. Problem is that when your done with the growing season & try to reuse/recover the MM, its sometimes hard to separate from the other 1/2 of whats in the pot.

Rocks would work to fill the pot, but the gap between the rocks may allow the MM to drain out of the spaces between the rocks and expose the plant roots.

I'll try to get some pics over the weekend that will explain a little better. In the mean time ...... here is how it works:

1. I blather & babble in the wee hours of the morning, confusing the hell out of everyone.
2. The smart people with all the SFG experience come in and go "what Acara is trying to say is"..... except they do it in English, and with a lot less confusing descriptions
3. Acara goes .... yeah, what he said
4. Everyone has a good laugh & folks usually figure out what I meant after the translation


The calvary should be here shortly & bail me out ....

*** hopes****

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/25/2011, 1:02 am

any pics yet? THANKS

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/25/2011, 1:14 am

Acra wrote:I'll try to get some pics over the weekend that will explain a little better. In the mean time ...... here is how it works:
@Lollypop9 wrote:any pics yet? THANKS
I think he needs a little more time Smile

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Re: SFG pots

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/25/2011, 1:29 am

haha thanks. I missed that info you posted--I thought they were older pics just sitting on his comp already or somthing but that is was 2 am. Smile thanks!

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Re: SFG pots

Post  boffer on 3/25/2011, 1:37 am

Don't forget, acara turns green like a potato if he gets exposed to sunlight. That limits his opportunities to get garden pictures.

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Re: SFG pots

Post  acara on 3/25/2011, 7:11 am

Thanks guys.

Lollypop, I am the vampire gardener on the forum, due to being recently diagnosed with Grovers disease. Direct sunlight or extended exposure to elevated temps (ummmm .... about anytime the sun is out in Florida...LOL) can give me problems.

Sat/Sunday mornings (when I'm not working) are about the only time I can get out early enough to where it's "cool", but I still have enough sunlight to photograph.

Normally I work in the garden during the week, at night (with floodlights)..... but the pictures generally come out craptastically & I'd rather get you good pics tomorow ....if thats okay.

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Re: SFG pots

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