Monday, July 14, 2008

First SFG Bed

Today I got the first of my new Square Foot Garden (SFG) beds set up and filled. All that is lacking is the trellis netting and the plants.
The bed is 4 feet wide by 2 feet deep. I have it divided by an additional brace across the center. I wanted them sturdy enough to pick up and move. I am working hard to build them.

I used untreated pine 2x8's. The front piece is 48 inches wide. The back piece is 45 inches wide. That is so it can sit between the two 2 feet long boards on the sides. The center board is 22 1/2 inches long.

I am trying something new and only time will tell if it works. I covered the bottom and inside edges of the boards with housewrap. We covered our cabin over the 4th of July weekend and I had some left over. I thought it might help the boards to last longer if they were not actually touching the soil.

I put commercial grade weed cloth and 1/2" hardware cloth on the bottom. We have had terrible trouble with moles. I also laid a piece of weedcloth between the foundation of the house and the dirt that was put back. Then the weed cloth was folded over under the back edge of the bed. I put another piece of weed cloth under the right edge of the bed and left a piece sticking out. The next bed in the row will sit on this piece of weed cloth too. I did not want to build one ginormous bed as I want it to be moveable should the occasion arise. I had trouble in the past with weeds behind and between the beds and am trying to prevent that.

I know that Mel does not endorse the PVC pipe trellises but the white looks better against the house. Hopefully it looks nice enough that the neighbors will not complain. I used 1 1/4" PVC for the bottom sleeves cut in 1' lengths. There are three of them as my husband thought it might need the extra support. The sleeves are held in place by pipe clamps. The clamps hold so tightly that they would have to be unscrewed for the sleeves to move. The uprights are 1" PVC and are 5' tall. I wanted them higher but my husband was worried they would not be sturdy enough when loaded with plants. I had just a small piece left over from two 10' sections of PVC. The trellis is fastened to the inside of the bed. This takes up some bed space but as it was going to sit up against the house I felt that was the best way to do it. The trellis is easily removed and reinstalled by sliding the legs into the permanent sleeves.

The grid is just pieces of lath held together with screws at the crosspoints. It is just sitting on the bed.

The beds are filled with 1/3 perlite/vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost. All ingredients were purchased with the exception of the perlite which I was given. There are 8 quarts of perlite in this bed. I tried it because I wanted to see how it compared with vermiculite. I did not like it and will not use it in the other beds. I also did not like the EarthGro Organic Humus and Manure and will not be purchasing it again. It was more like clay with a little manure mixed in. The beds look different colors because i mixed up the compost in turns and whichever one ended up in the top layer of the bed is the color you see. Both beds have the same ingredients from the same bags.

I will be covering the exposed soil with squares of weed cloth covered with mulch. I will cut x's in the weed cloth where the seeds/plants will go. I plan on a fall sowing of beans and maybe salad greens, onions and garlic for this bed.

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