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Another idea...

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Another idea...

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/9/2011, 10:02 pm

A couple of years ago, when I first heard about SFG, my husband built me a 4'x8' bed out of 2x4s and we filled it with potting soil. Could I add additional height to my existing bed, lay newspaper on top of the soil that is in place and fill the additional height with MM?

If you look below the pallets, you can see my existing bed (disregard the pallets, that's another post :scratch: )...I would add height by placing a 4'x8' SFG box kit on top of the existing bed...or do I shovel out what is in there and add the blend in? Help. I'm so confused....

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Re: Another idea...

Post  shannon1 on 4/10/2011, 4:04 am

You only need 6" of MM so you could just put it right on top if your next layer is that deep. Hope that helps.
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Re: Another idea...

Post  dizzygardener on 4/10/2011, 4:12 am

Of all your ideas this is probably my favorite. Put your new box on top of your old box and fill with at least 6 inches of MM.

Don't forget to secure your new box to your old ones. Metal straps or short pieces of 2x2 at the corners would probably do the trick. Might also add one at the mid point of your 8 foot sides as well.

If you want some separation between old and new you can use weed cloth or cardboard or something like that.
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Re: Another idea...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/10/2011, 12:33 pm

Page 29 of All New SFG...

"The second improvement involves locating your garden on top of your existing soil rather than digging down. Most of our readers complain of the terrible soils in their areas...no more digging and no more tilling...It all became possible with All New Square Foot Gardening to have a very condensed no-work gardening method and never be concerned again about what kind of soil you have in your yard."

In my opinion, this is no different than putting MM right on top of clay and rocks.

New Direction--Up, Not Down!
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Re: Another idea...

Post  myhouseofBOYS on 4/10/2011, 12:40 pm

What I would do is dig down simply because I'd cringe at the precious lumber being wasted (assuming it is at least 6 inches deep). Or could you pick up the box and move it, saving yourself the digging but still reusing the lumber?

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Re: Another idea...

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/10/2011, 4:28 pm

@dizzygardener wrote:Of all your ideas this is probably my favorite. Put your new box on top of your old box and fill with at least 6 inches of MM.

Don't forget to secure your new box to your old ones. Metal straps or short pieces of 2x2 at the corners would probably do the trick. Might also add one at the mid point of your 8 foot sides as well.

If you want some separation between old and new you can use weed cloth or cardboard or something like that.

Thank you. I'm trying really hard to make the best possible choices this season. Any recommendations on what to plant in the middle, since it will be hard to reach this area of the SFG (which is why Mel recommends leaving space between 4x4 beds). Of course, when my husband constructed this bed, I had not heard of Mel or his book. Wink
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Re: Another idea...

Post  middlemamma on 4/10/2011, 4:34 pm

You have gotton a lot of good ideas here.

Do you have weeds in that preexisting bed? If so I would do as has been recommended and put weed cloth or cardboard and then the Mel's mix. If the middle will be hard to reach I would make it a perennial butterfly garden to attract pollinators to that bed.

If the soil it there is weed free you might build it up and add the Mel's Mix to make a deep bed for things like carrots or parsnips and potatoes. Smile

Have fun with it!
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Re: Another idea...

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/10/2011, 4:46 pm

Buttaflie

4X8 is not bad, you can still reach in from the front and back to get to the middle. As long as it is only four feet deep, you are ok. We have lots of members that intentionally build 4 X 8's.

Regarding building up, DON'T DIG the old soil out, it is too hard to do.
I understand the previous poster's concern about wasting the existing wooden frame, and if you can pick the frame up and reuse it, that is great. If you can't pick it up, just build on top of it.
Dizzy made some great suggestions regarding securing the new frame to the old.
Since my location is so full of weeds, I would use weed cloth or at least cardboard to separate the old soil from the new Mel's Mix.
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Re: Another idea...

Post  shannon1 on 4/11/2011, 12:51 am

If you cannot reach the center of the box why not plant something that will attract bennifical insects like non-spreading herbs, baisl for example and just let it flower, or a small flowered easy care ornimental.
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Re: Another idea...

Post  Goosegirl on 4/11/2011, 12:53 am

.....or use that square for a Worm Tube!
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Re: Another idea...

Post  shannon1 on 4/11/2011, 3:58 am

that is a crazy good idea!
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Weed Worries

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/15/2011, 12:00 am

@middlemamma wrote:

Do you have weeds in that preexisting bed? If so I would do as has been recommended and put weed cloth or cardboard and then the Mel's mix.

There are some weeds. How concerned should I be about them? Would a newspaper barrier be enough?
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Re: Another idea...

Post  middlemamma on 4/15/2011, 12:21 am

I guess its a personal question...how concerned are you with pulling them? I personally hate weeds and do not want to pull any more than necessary, so I would go to great lengths to not have them...if a person doesn't mind pulling weeds then they might not work so hard to not have them.

Newspaper is going to degrade really fast, and might not suffocate the weeds long enough to keep them from coming back. If you are trying to be frugal I would use cardboard and newspaper in lieu of the weed barrier, both can be gotten free pretty readily. flower
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Re: Another idea...

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/15/2011, 12:31 am

Thanks. I don't want to pull weeds either. I was wondering how long it would take to kill the weeds using newspaper. At some point I would like to be able to plant root veggies since the bed will be quite deep but I was under the impression that it could take years before a weed barrier would deteriorate? Do you recommend a brand or type besides cardboard?
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Re: Another idea...

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/15/2011, 12:32 am

And just how long should I expect it to take to suffocate the weeds?
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another idea

Post  westie42 on 4/15/2011, 12:58 am

If you have a few extra days to wait then why not temporarily put down plastic to heat up and sprout your weeds then pull them out even rake the soil to find more roots. Then sandwich newspaper,cardboard,more newspaper to provide a barrier that in time will biodegrade away giving things like carrots access to the deeper old mix below your new MM. The paper/cardboard/paper sandwich hopefully will last long enough to discourage any remaining weeds. Building a new frame extension above the old one mite work fine but if you can afford it why not consider all new frames of 1x12 or better yet 2x12 planks. Lots of folks have at least a few of their frames taller for certain root crops or crops that like to go deep. My first two beds were 2x10 cedar and are 12 foot long by 4 ft.

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Re: Another idea...

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/22/2011, 6:18 pm

@middlemamma wrote:Newspaper is going to degrade really fast, and might not suffocate the weeds long enough to keep them from coming back. If you are trying to be frugal I would use cardboard and newspaper in lieu of the weed barrier, both can be gotten free pretty readily. flower

I went the frugal route and used cardboard with several layers of newspaper on top. Very Happy You said newspaper would degrade really fast (generally speaking, how long?), so how much longer will the cardboard take to degrade/decompose?
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Re: Another idea...

Post  Old Hippie on 4/22/2011, 6:53 pm

I usually get one season out of a single layer of cardboard covered with wood shavings in my garden pathways. The crab grass is the main problem. It seems to be able to go through anything. I don't know if it is the same thing as bermuda grass or if the two are related but it is a royal pain in the keester.

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Re: Another idea...

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