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Square-Foot Gardening 101

Monkeyfister's picture

I had one last garden box left to prepare, and I figured that it would make a great tutorial. This method of gardening is foolproof, and hugely productive. Here Is A Quick And Easy Step-By-Step Guide With Pictures.

I have no idea how to post pictures to this blog, so I can only link to my place. Sorry Lambert, I'm honestly not trying to push up my traffic.

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Submitted by lambert on

See Here. Just make sure the width is 500px, or the page gets thrown off.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

unless you have decent soil to begin with. In Salt Lake I spent several years working the soil to get it decent, and just when I could be proud of the tith and the production I moved. Since then I've done raised beds as you show, and it is so much easier for my purposes.

I've used both redwood, which we have in California at reasonable prices, and also pine treated with a home-made copper preservative. If you treat wood with a preservative, which will extend the life for many years, be sure to avoid those that contain arsenic or chromium; new, although not extensively tested copper preservatives are now available.

I also found that over time, like a couple of years, the long 8-foot sides would start to bow out. I ended up cutting in 2x2 cross members to hold them in alignment. Have you had this problem and if so, how do you deal with it?

Another slight difference is in the spacing of the plants. I am a big advocate of intensive gardening; I want the plants as close together as I can get away with. I take the "space" dimension and halve it, both between plants in a row and between rows. Have never had a problem with stunting and see far fewer weeds than with standard spacing. (Tomatoes are an exception; they need room to breath.)

For some staggered crops I'll plant even closer; I'll put spring lettuce in between rows of carrots or beets that won't mature until after all the lettuce has been harvested. Have you tried seeding like this? Increases the annual production per square foot by 4-6x, and less time spent weeding.

I really like your conduit frames - very clever.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

Fiber-reinforced plastic.

Couple layers of glass mat sealed in with epoxy will protect the wood from water intrusion.

I don't know anything about painting, but I do know I thing or two about fiberglass.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

to fiberglass his walls....

Epoxy-fiberglass is a good thought, worth looking into. The thing with wood around raised beds isn't water per se, but fungus and bugs; termites will do a job. Dunno how the cost is these days on fiberglass, last time I worked with it was late 70's building a rowboat from cedar strips. I would guess that the copper-based preservatives would be cheaper, but I don't know that for certain.

There are also plastic wood-substitute materials, but I have never worked with them and know nothing about the durability or suitability in this application.

FeralLiberal's picture
Submitted by FeralLiberal on

when I make my raised beds in Missouri. I have the perfect resource to build the boxes - a number of cedar trees were pushed over when some clearing was done on the land prior to my purchase. I've cleaned up the trunks and will start putting things together later this summer. Think I'll try Chicago Dyke's No Dig method for filling them.

Corner Stone's picture
Submitted by Corner Stone on

I'm sorry I haven't been aware of it up to now. Skimmed through the archives for most of June. Really fantastic work there, and the suggestions for companion growing (using the onions to shield other plants from moths, radishes for squash, etc.) is very useful.