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Table Tops and cinder block question -

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Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 9/27/2011, 6:20 pm

As I plan additional boxes for Spring 2012 I would like to try a couple of 4x4 table tops. Yet I wonder about this: I would like to dress up the color of the cinder blocks. Is there a specific type of paint that can be used on them? Any thoughts ??

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  boffer on 9/27/2011, 10:23 pm

In my climate, I've had good luck using latex primer and paint for wood on cinder blocks. I haven't had trouble with peeling, etc.

But, I prefer using a latex stain rather than paint. The colors are more limited and are pastel, but it's easy to slop on and there's no worry about peeling. It's strictly a personal preference, but I like the less formal look of stain better.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 9/28/2011, 6:14 am

Thank You - appreciate your experience and input particularly since my house sits on a slope and will forever get a clear view of those blocks from my windows. I'm thinking greenish blocks to blend in with surrounding grass. Very Happy

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  gwennifer on 1/4/2012, 6:41 pm

Sorry to bump an old thread, but Spring 2012 is right around the corner. Llama momma, did you get anywhere with this? I'd sure love to see a picture of stained cinderblock tabletops. I'm trying to talk my mom into building tabletops, and using cinderblocks (since she's in Vegas, and even the fences are made from cinderblock there).

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 1/4/2012, 7:40 pm

I will have it soon but not this week. I promise to take pics and share it asap! Pretty much decided on stain as I've used it before and it is runny, should be helpful getting it in all the nooks and crannies of cinder block.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/17/2012, 9:37 pm

I think I saw your post using security doors as the bottoms of your boxes.

Food for thought...you dirt will get colder earlier since it has air underneath it. Not sure it if will warm faster or not. They will probably get hotter than the ground in the summer.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  Lindacol on 2/17/2012, 9:52 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:I think I saw your post using security doors as the bottoms of your boxes.

Food for thought...you dirt will get colder earlier since it has air underneath it. Not sure it if will warm faster or not. They will probably get hotter than the ground in the summer.



That would have been my post with the security doors:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9881-my-garden-in-january-in-so-ca#95339



I, like you, am also in so CA. The bed on the ground as been in use for a few months now but I have just started planting the tabletop. I would imagine that there will be enough green plants to the south and trellises to the west so that they won't get too hot. The stock panel trellises never got too hot (tomatoes are still going). The deeper bed built out of blocks is to the south of the beds with the security dooor bases.

Dut don't plant in metal garbage cans in this area. I planted potatoes in those last year and they died off fast when it got hot but I still had a yummy harvest.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/17/2012, 9:59 pm

Where is Bloomington?

For some reason, I thought you were in CO.

Yeah, I've had all kinds of things 'get baked.' Like the first year I had a worm farm on my south facing patio we had 100+ all summer...poor things baked to nothingness.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  Lindacol on 2/17/2012, 10:23 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:Where is Bloomington?

For some reason, I thought you were in CO.

Yeah, I've had all kinds of things 'get baked.' Like the first year I had a worm farm on my south facing patio we had 100+ all summer...poor things baked to nothingness.

Just north of Riverside, over the county line in southwest San Bernardino county

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/18/2012, 7:54 am

Gwennifer - after much reading I'm having a tough time making a commitment to table tops. Most of my gardening area gets full summer sun from 8am to after 9pm, and with summer Ohio heat too often in the high 80's, 90's and low 100's, I'm shying away from boiling darling little garden worms. They would have no place to go and cool off in a six inch tabletop. I'm very torn about this. Wanted to put strawberries "up" but I think I will have to make peace with myself and continue sitting and gardening in my ground level boxes from my little padded footstool. I figure if the day comes and I can no longer get up from the footstool, I'm ready for the compost heap myself rofl

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  plantoid on 2/18/2012, 6:28 pm

@llama momma wrote:I will have it soon but not this week. I promise to take pics and share it asap! Pretty much decided on stain as I've used it before and it is runny, should be helpful getting it in all the nooks and crannies of cinder block.



I found that sprayed on dark green fence stain soaks well into concrete & cinder block because I can't get them clean where I over sprayed the fence and office using a hand operated fence sprayer .. six years on it's still quire a dark green inspite of strong sunlight ,wind , rain , snow & frost on it.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  plantoid on 2/18/2012, 6:34 pm

@llama momma wrote:Gwennifer - after much reading I'm having a tough time making a commitment to table tops. Most of my gardening area gets full summer sun from 8am to after 9pm, and with summer Ohio heat too often in the high 80's, 90's and low 100's, I'm shying away from boiling darling little garden worms. They would have no place to go and cool off in a six inch tabletop. I'm very torn about this. Wanted to put strawberries "up" but I think I will have to make peace with myself and continue sitting and gardening in my ground level boxes from my little padded footstool. I figure if the day comes and I can no longer get up from the footstool, I'm ready for the compost heap myself



LM ,

I hope that compost heaps a long way off ..

Mean time perhaps think of getting more wood & making a bit more compost with about 30 % by volume added vermiculite , to add another 6 inch " lift " to each bed & top up with your homemade quality five way compost mixed in with the vermiculite , for that's what your beds will eventually end up containing once the peat has rotted away .

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/18/2012, 6:49 pm

Let me get this straight. Are you saying to make a 12 inch deep table top? Bottom 6 inches consisting of 70% compost and 30% vermiculite? Top 6 inches would consist of Mel's mix? And this would be deep enough to guarantee worm survival 85 to 95+ degree weather? This table top would be in the summer sun and heat for at least a minimum of 13 hours a day. That is why I'm so reluctant to put worms in a table top.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  CarolynPhillips on 2/18/2012, 7:38 pm

I live in Alabama and I had no problems with the soil over heating in my table top gardens. The soil was cool , not hot. 12 inches deep. 2 feet wide. They did need extra water.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  gwennifer on 2/18/2012, 8:41 pm

llama momma, thanks for getting back to me on this thread - you're too sweet for remembering my interest.

So, you're not willing to have a garden bed with no worms?

I think table tops are not the only option to keep from kneeling on the ground. Cement blocks stacked two high gets you at 16" - just an inch below accepted chair height comfort standard. I wish I'd made a double stacked cement block bed. I could have capped the blocks off for aesthetics, and then I could sit sideways on the edge of the bed if I needed or kneeled on the edge when reaching in.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/18/2012, 11:05 pm

Reading Mel's book I thought of you.

He talks about his mix and how it thaws faster than soil.

That means it will heat faster, too.

BUT...it retains water better, so it may be cooler. Or maybe not.

Worms or not, it's still crumbly.

And if you add worms, and they cook, they add to the compost.

If you've got a shady spot or an inside spot (below 85) you could farm them and throw them in as needed. That's what I do. Except my box is outside (on the patio), and after years of retractable patio shade catalogs and prices clearly visible, DH made one for us, which saved a ton of $$$, got the youngin's involved in painting, and has lowered our electric (AC) bill.

More than one way to skin the cat, as they say.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  RoOsTeR on 2/18/2012, 11:59 pm


____________________________


I am my gardens worst enemy.

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/19/2012, 7:06 am

Great input everybody - First, Gwennifer Thanks for your very nice thoughts! And yes I want to garden with lots of worms! And everyone else you should see I responded to you too as follows--
A quick recap I want a 4x4 box of 6-8 inch deep table top of strawberries with worm benefits.
I'm encouraged a 12 inch bed works well in Alabama heat. I'm trying to stay within 6 to 8 inches because I fear supporting a heavier box with my extreme limited carpentry experience. A paint sprayer sounds great for the cinder blocks but I'm clueless how to use one, have to go with low tech brush on the stain/paint. I am so impressed with the soil fertility benefits of worms plus their disease fighting properties. Those little guys just blow me away, especially when I see Josh's success. I have not read of anyone having a 6 inch deep tt box with uncooked worms in 85+degree weather...therefore I must do a worm bin indoors and add casts to the new bed. The ultimate vision is to walk up to the box at waist high level and reach for lucious red strawberries. The current plan is a 6 inch deep box of Mel's-mix, sitting four cinder blocks or 32 inches high on each corner. (insert short person joke here) And another four stack of blocks in the center for weight support of the plywood bottom. And hope it is really strong enough for a 300+ pound bed. :scratch: Because that part really scares me.
Lastly thanks for the reminder NR, must make worm tubes for the other beds on the ground. Thank you everybody, decided afterall to go ahead and make my first table top!


Last edited by llama momma on 2/19/2012, 7:09 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  Josh on 2/19/2012, 9:25 am

after much reading I'm having a tough time making a commitment to table
tops. Most of my gardening area gets full summer sun from 8am to after
9pm, and with summer Ohio heat too often in the high 80's, 90's and low
100's, I'm shying away from boiling darling little garden worms. They
would have no place to go and cool off in a six inch tabletop.

I have a 4x8 6inch deep, TT in full summer sun. I live in Illinois, but the heat is in the high 80's, 90's and 100+.
Does it have worms in it? Yes it does! Do they boil? No! I didn't put the worms in there...or did I! I added worm castings from the plastic tote worm bin that I keep inside, and that is how the worms got in the TT, the worm castings had worm cocoons and probably a few small worms. Last fall I went out to pull up something growing in the TT and I seen there were worms in the TT, lots of them. I picked out a hand full of them to start a tote worm bin, I posted a video of me making the worm bin, and the worms I'm using in the video came from the TT.

So how can they live in the TT in that kind of heat? I'd say the same way the plants do. MM is designed to hold water for the plants, same for the worms. Also the plants start growing, and then the plants make shade for the worms, even small plants.

This is the first year picture of the TT my dad built.


Here is a picture of my tiger melon growing in the TT

You can see how I just let the vine grow around the other plants, same with the cucumber vine, and sometimes the vines just grow over the edge and hang down, but that is providing shade from the sun on the MM.

I also grew bush beans, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, flowers, onions, beats, carrots, pepper and just about anything you grow in any of the other SFGs.

I'm putting in a worm tube this year so I can feed the worms in the TT.

What works for me, may not work for you, but I'm thinking if you can grow plants in your TT, you can grow worms in there too.


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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/19/2012, 10:04 am

OK then Josh -- Thanks and fabulous to know your similar summer heat didn't cook your worms in a 6 inch deep box. And plant shade was sufficient to sustain worm life. That gives me more confidence to go ahead then. Thank you for the pictures and info!

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/20/2012, 1:20 am

Hey Josh...

why did you build the table so low?

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  gwennifer on 2/20/2012, 1:15 pm

Oh I'm glad you decided to go for it! It will be so nice to be able to walk around your beds and plant and harvest!

FYI, we have a cheap tank sprayer that we bought for applying weed killers and stuff (sorry everyone, it was a lifetime ago) and we found it worked perfectly well for applying stain when we did our fence. This 1-gallon size is fifteen bucks at Home Depot.


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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/20/2012, 1:41 pm

Hey I've got one of those in black Gwennifer! I put a wash solution in it to clean the wood deck railings before staining. Hmm you got me thinking. That would probably work real well using runny stain to color the cinderblocks. Hmmm, nice idea kiddo!

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  plantoid on 2/20/2012, 7:48 pm

@llama momma wrote:Let me get this straight. Are you saying to make a 12 inch deep table top? Bottom 6 inches consisting of 70% compost and 30% vermiculite? Top 6 inches would consist of Mel's mix? And this would be deep enough to guarantee worm survival 85 to 95+ degree weather? This table top would be in the summer sun and heat for at least a minimum of 13 hours a day. That is why I'm so reluctant to put worms in a table top.

No I was thinking don't bother with the TT's if you want to keep your worms , just heighten your existing beds and fill up with your home made premium compost & vermiculite.

The 70/30 is what your beds will eventually be when the peat decays and is put through the worms so using your own 70/30 mix should be cheaper and not make any difference to the end result.

However reading what Josh has just posted , it seems that you will not have any problems at all with a 6 inch deep TT ..........go for it



Gwinniffers sprayer is similar to the one I used on the fence panels but my spray head is a much coarser spray so I could quickly cover a large area in bigger droplets that then soaked in the wood to give an even colour ( and concrete when it was hit by overspray )

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Re: Table Tops and cinder block question -

Post  llama momma on 2/20/2012, 8:38 pm

Gotcha Plantoid. Thanks for your response. I'm not going to have any concern over the wigglers anymore. It lools like some will wind up getting transferred to the new outdoor tabletop along with the casts and eggs from my indoor bin, so be it. The indoor bin will take priority and I'll try to keep them very happy. Some regular earthworms will probably get into the tabletop from the outdoor compost heap too. They'll have to sort themselves out. Hey I just found out worms are 70-90% water. If things go bad they quicky turn into compost themselves.

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