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Post  frankg813_1 on 6/18/2015, 7:16 pm

Hi, I'm new to the site and SFG.  I would like to utilize the garden area that is adjacent to my rear property wall.  The garden is about 4'-9" wide.  I would like to know if planning a 2 foot wide box is okay.  I would like to have the box centered making about 16" clearance from the back wall and from the front border.
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Post  sanderson on 6/19/2015, 12:37 am

Frank, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here To answer your question, yes, you can make a 2' wide garden. However, 16" for an isle is kind of tight. Have you read All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st or 2nd Edition, by Mel Bartholomew? There is a lot of good info that works so good for small back yards. (Like mine) Very Happy

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Post  sfg4uKim on 6/19/2015, 7:37 am

My SFG is 2' x 23' along a fence with just a couple inches clearance between the bed and the fence. I also have another garden bed against my house again with a couple inches clearance. I put cedar boards against the foundation.

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/19/2015, 8:27 am

Hi Frank.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Glad you're here.

We've got 2 foot-wide boxes along our fence line.  They work great except for:

1.  The corners, which are a pain to get to
2.  The fence-line itself - it's hard to keep free of grass, weeds, etc.

If it's against a wall, just be sure to put enough cardboard, newspaper, etc. down to keep the weeds at bay.
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Post  Kelejan on 6/19/2015, 11:04 am

glad you\'re here FRANK  happy hi

from Kelejan :canada:

Two-feet wide is fine.  4 x 4 is the standard, but one can do any size needed to fit in with the space you have.  My preference is not more than three feet deep as that means I can comfortably reach in 18 inches on either side without falling into the bed.

I am a short person and next time I come back I have asked for an extra 2 inches on my arms and my legs so that I can reach into a 4 x 4 bed and  I do not have to look around in the supermarket and ask people to get me something from the top shelf. The rest of me is perfect. At least my DH said so. Very Happy
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Post  sanderson on 6/19/2015, 12:44 pm

@Kelejan wrote:I am a short person and next time I come back I have asked for an extra 2 inches on my arms and my legs so that I can reach into a 4 x 4 bed and  I do not have to look around in the supermarket and ask people to get me something from the top shelf Very Happy
Me, too!

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Post  FeedMeSeeMore on 6/19/2015, 12:47 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
I am a short person and next time I come back I have asked for an extra 2 inches on my arms and my legs so that I can reach into a 4 x 4 bed and  I do not have to look around in the supermarket and ask people to get me something from the top shelf. The rest of me is perfect. At least my DH said so. Very Happy

Me too. I have a life (this one) long membership in the shorties club.
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Post  boffer on 6/19/2015, 1:11 pm

I hear the same short person complaints from my wife and her siblings (all short), whenever they see me reaching for something up high that they would have to get a step-stool for.

I respond by complaining that I'm the only one in the family who frequently has an owie on their head from running into things that they can walk under without ducking! Not to mention, that being closer to the ground, picking things up off the ground is easier for them, and that it doesn't hurt as much when they fall! Wink

Pros and cons to everything! Razz
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Post  walshevak on 6/19/2015, 1:28 pm

I'm not a shortie at 5'7", but when the bed is on the ground, I can't get to the middle squares easily.  No problems with my tabletops as I don't risk falling into the MM in the bed.  rofl  Now if I could just get my tabletops back.  Will have to be a winter project.  It is just too darn hot out there to do more than minimum gardening and using the existing beds.

Kay

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Post  frankg813_1 on 6/19/2015, 2:18 pm

Thanks for all of your responses.  The reason that I'm asking about this  is that my wife doesn't like the idea of my infringing on our lawn area to add these garden boxes.  Here in the desert southwest, it's considered a luxury of having a lawn these days, I was trying to convert some lawn space into growing bed space but she winced at this.  So the pressure is on me to put the bordering garden spaces to good use as grow beds.  If all goes well, then I can use this to negotiate some space on the lawn. 

I've not yet read the book...I ordered the 2nd edition.  This will be the book that's in my batters box of reads.  My grow beds will be shaded most of the day from direct sun, so I imagine that I will be limited on what I can grow.
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Post  Razed Bed on 6/19/2015, 2:32 pm

Might I suggest experimenting with self-watering containers?  You have more than adequate space to place them in the area and have walking room.  You could even landscape the surrounds with your preferred choice of mulch.

I am thinking that once your wife tastes the difference in fresh-picked veggies, she will then allow you to put more containers on the rest of your property, as a form of artistic landscaping.

Mel's Mix works fine in our containers.  We chose coconut coir instead of peat moss, because it tends to retain water better.  We used the vermiculite and compost as prescribed in the book, and we added Azomite powder to enrich the mix with added minerals.  The Azomite also makes your crops taste better.

Self-watering containers make it easier for you living if you are living in desert conditions.

In our self-watering containers, we grow Jericho Romaine Lettuce (designed to thrive in the desert in Israel), mustard greens, radish-beets-turnips (both for the greens and roots), chard, kale, and pickling cucumbers.  This year, we had a volunteer zucchini appear in one of the containers, and as things turned out, it was the first plant to provide us with a fruit.

Containers are really easy to work with if you consistently monitor your crops.  You can also move them if a need arises, like a hailstorm, 90 mph winds, or if it is too hot in the direct sun.

My number one bit of advice for a new person is to make sure you allow yourself to love what you are doing and do not turn it into your job--unless you plan to make it a job to sell at a farmer's market or to farm to table eateries.
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Post  Marc Iverson on 6/19/2015, 6:43 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
I am a short person and next time I come back I have asked for an extra 2 inches on my arms and my legs so that I can reach into a 4 x 4 bed and  I do not have to look around in the supermarket and ask people to get me something from the top shelf. The rest of me is perfect. At least my DH said so. Very Happy

Careful -- that scenario means you won't have to strain as much to reach up, but you'll have to stoop and strain more to reach down. And most of the world you'll ever have to deal with lies low rather than high.

My number one bit of advice for a new person is to make sure you allow yourself to love what you are doing and do not turn it into your job--unless you plan to make it a job to sell at a farmer's market or to farm to table eateries.

Good thinking! Goes with your advice to use self-watering containers, and also with how wonderful a watering system can be. Last year I used to spend an hour and a half watering just one place I gardened in. I could spend two and a half hours a day watering, and that's if I watered just once a day. People who just have to turn on a spigot and walk back inside, or who even have their watering programmed into an electronic system, have eliminated a huge amount of (sometimes very time-consuming and sweaty) labor from their lives.
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Post  frankg813_1 on 6/19/2015, 6:58 pm

Can anyone direct me to the best place to find out about self watering containers?

Thanks,
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Post  Marc Iverson on 6/19/2015, 7:10 pm

Check the DIY(do it yourself) forum right here at SFG, and the container and DIY sections at Tomatoville.com, a really great site with tons of info on self-watering container experiments and other types of container growing.
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