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SFG using stock tanks for beds?

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Post  GreenGene on 3/15/2012, 9:12 pm

SFG using stock tanks for beds? Gif_1
This is my first attempt at growing anything. I saw an article elsewhere that spoke highly of using stock tanks sitting on cinder blocks as beds for people with bad backs (that's me). This approach is expensive, but after looking at some, it is 'industrial strength'.

I have many questions that I hope can be answered.

Considering each bed will contain 20-24cuft of grow medium, is a single 1/2" drain hole adequate, or must I pierce new tanks with more holes to allow adequate drainage? I intend on layering 2" of larger gravel on the bottom -> 4" of gravel/sand -> 16" soil/compost on top.

Can potatoes be grown in Zone 9a? How about Brocolli? I have located neither so far.

I will purchase the book recommended at the website. Critique of our current layout is welcome.

Thanks,
Gene and Janet
GreenGene
GreenGene

Posts : 27
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Age : 66
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Post  Chopper on 3/15/2012, 9:23 pm

I cannot answer much of this, but I can guarantee that potatoes can be grown in 9a. For best results plant by April, but you can get away with planting through June.
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Chopper

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Post  genes on 3/15/2012, 10:00 pm

Hi! Welcome!

Don't spend any money until you read the book! Folks here swear by tabletop boxes. They can be built to any height. This is a good place to start reading about them
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t41-table-tops-take-sfg-to-a-higher-level
and you can use the search feature to find more info. I'm certain TTs would be cheaper and easier than stock tanks.
genes
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Post  Lindacol on 3/15/2012, 10:12 pm

glad you\'re here

Please do read the book before buying a stock tank. Also search this site for table tops. There are lots of good ideas.
I would not advise using metal stock tanks for potatoes. I am in 9b (southern California) and I planted potatoes last year in metal garbage cans. I got a fair harvest but my plants wilted and died before flowering due to heat during the first hot spell we had.
Lindacol
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Post  GreenGene on 3/7/2013, 12:47 pm

Just days short of a whole year since I last stopped by. I took the kind advise offered and constructed 16 raised beds on blocks (aka table top beds) out of 2 x 12 with full 1" thick bottoms. My plans and pics show how it has progressed so far. (Excuse the construction mess. I couldn't wait to snap the pics.)

For 204sqft of beds, we mixed 170cuft of Mels Mix (to allow 2" of mulching) and used cow, chicken, turkey, mushroom and leaf mold composts for the organic 1/3. We used the two 10cuft compost tumblers for the mixing task and they worked well.

I am going to hold off on installing the grid for now, but have the materials I intend to use when the time comes. I'm still tweaking the drip irrigation system which the gridwork would hinder. I did construct four seed templates, so the sqft 'heart' is there, just not the visuals for the eye.

Many, many thanks,
Gene
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Post  quiltbea on 3/7/2013, 12:56 pm

Well Gene, it looks like you made huge progress in getting that garden started. No longer with stock tanks I see but instead lovely tabletops.

Keep us posted on how you are progressing. I think you have made such great strides. You should be able to enjoy your garden this year.
Good luck.
quiltbea
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Post  CapeCoddess on 3/7/2013, 1:12 pm

Wow! What a project! It's beautiful! Well done!

CC
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Post  CindiLou on 3/7/2013, 5:34 pm

Beautiful job! happy banana clap smiles

Is that chicken wire over the top?

Rofl..love the last picture! "Dad, were you bad?" Looks like my 3 looking OUT from their summer pen!
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Post  GreenGene on 3/7/2013, 6:57 pm

Yup. That's chicken wire on top. Mel's book said to consider making chicken wire cages for each bed to fend off birds and other critters. I took Mel's recommendation a step further and put the whole garden inside chain link with a chicken wire top. Stainless steel wire rope was used to make a grid atop the fence for the chicken wire to lay on. So far, it seems to work fine.

Gene
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Post  CindiLou on 3/7/2013, 7:11 pm

You will probably have to put chicken wire on the fence also. Birds will go straight through to the goodies.
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Post  GreenGene on 3/7/2013, 7:29 pm

I was kinda afraid I would have to do that too. (The day after the top was up, but before any planting, I watched 2 sparrows and a robin breeze through the chain link like it wasn't even there.) It's no problem to do, just a 'hope I don't have to ...' type expense.

Thanks,
Gene
GreenGene
GreenGene

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Post  landarch on 3/7/2013, 8:41 pm

plant roots generally need a soil that drains well...one year I tried to grow tomatoes in containers that had a single drain hole in the bottom...the roots rotted. I had to drill over a dozen holes in the bottom and amother dozen or so on the lower side walls to provide adequate drainage...helped get teh roots some air as well.
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Post  GreenGene on 3/7/2013, 10:06 pm

Fortunately, well drained beds is something I do have. I have used Dripworks recommended 15minute daily watering recommendation. I notice that 7 or 8 minutes into the cycle water & organics begin draining out of the bottom. I'm glad I lined the bottoms with landscape fabric before loading them with Mel's Mix. I wonder if I should water for 7 minutes twice daily, morning & evening.


Gene
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Post  Lindacol on 3/23/2013, 10:27 pm

@CindiLou wrote:You will probably have to put chicken wire on the fence also. Birds will go straight through to the goodies.

So will rabbits & squirrels. I am in the process of lining the bottom part of my chain link to help keep them out as I have seen them go right thru it. Also thru the close spacing on the lower part of the hog panels.
Lindacol
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