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How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

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How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  jsblock11 on 5/11/2018, 8:33 pm

Hello, just joined so looking forward to learning more about SFG!  I just purchased vinyl raised beds from Costco that have interior box measurements of 44"x44" and 11 inches deep.  Doing the math, I would be using 11"x11" squares, about a 16% reduction in size from Mel's recommended 12x12 inch squares.  Should I go down to 12 squares of 11x15, or 9 squares of ~15x15 or am I being too particular about the size?  This is my first attempt at SFG so I want to start it off correctly.

Also, I've been having a hard time finding wood lath to make the grids, I've checked Home Depot and Lowe's with no luck. Unfortunately I can't order the pre-fab grids from the SFG website as I need the custom sizes due to the 44" box.

Thanks!
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Re: How to lay out 44" x 44" boxes

Post  farmersgranddaughter on 5/11/2018, 9:12 pm

Welcome from Arkansas!

I purchased HDPE plastic raised beds and realized after I assembled them that they were short of 4' x 4' on the interior so I also could not purchase a grid.  Being plastic, I can't connect cord or string. 

After I installed a flexible hose irrigation system, I found a conversation in the forum about a PVC watering system which also acts as a grid.  In the SEARCH box, type "PVC Watering Grid".  I may change over to this system as it would irrigate AND provide a grid for my smaller raised beds. 

When I transplanted plants I had started indoors and sowed seeds early this spring, I used a seed planting template, overlapping a bit to accommodate the shorter length and width of the beds.  But as I've harvested the cool weather plants, I've started succession planting.  I can't fit the template over the remaining plants so a grid would be very helpful to maintain correct spacing.

By the way, I went ahead and planted 16 squares and it's working fine.
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  sanderson on 5/11/2018, 11:43 pm

So your squares will be 11". So, make the Mel's Mix 7" deep to compensate.

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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/12/2018, 5:56 am

Hi JSBlock11. Welcome from Atlanta, GA.

I agree with Sanderson - just make it 11 inches. Your plants will be fine.

Grids... I know Mel preferred the lathe. But I use string. Maybe some duct tape to hold it on?
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/12/2018, 9:31 am

If you go back to HD, ask someone in the lumber department where their lath is. I couldn't find any the first time I looked either, and I have a habit of not asking because I get tired of "helpful employees". Or search their website or app for "1x2 furring strip boards". In my local HD, they keep them standing on end in a huge mess, so most of them are warped and ugly. If you find them, definitely need to go in and pick out what you want. I spent a good hour pulling wood out of the bin and laying them on the floor to find the least-bowed and least-warped pieces. They also only came in 8 ft lengths, not 4 ft. Once you find the pieces you want, have them cut them right there. Easier to transport and assemble if that's all done for you.

Another idea for your situation would be to use vinyl blind strips, as good ole' Mel describes on page 65 of ANSFG 2nd edition. I tried this once, it's a good first time idea if you have some old broken mini-blinds around anyway. I just laid them in the grid and attached somehow, don't really remember, I wasn't very impressed with my handiwork.  Embarassed  If I were to try again, I think I'd try using big galvanized nails, hammer a hole through the connections and the ends, and leave the nails to drop down into the soil to hold them in place. They can be pretty light and move around without any weight to them.
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  yolos on 5/12/2018, 11:08 am

I found the lath strips over by the railing posts, partial prefab steps, newel posts in the lumber section of HD.
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  sanderson on 5/13/2018, 1:50 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Grids...  I know Mel preferred the lathe.  But I use string.  Maybe some duct tape to hold it on?
For the beds without wood grids, I use 7/8" #10 screws on the top of the sides, leaving just enough room to hook the strings around.

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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  Dan in Ct on 12/4/2018, 12:04 pm

I am just wondering if anyone uses this seeding guide that I first saw this morning following a trolleydriver's mention to Vessey's Seed which is in PEI, Prince Edward's Island. Parents were Canadian and my sister gets PEI potatoes for US Thanksgiving dinner. Do any here use it and why doesn't square foot gardening hold the patent?

https://www.seedingsquare.com/

If you have ever watch any of Eliot Coleman's You Tube videos, he makes quite large seedling templates. This one seems it would work quite well for seeding.
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  trolleydriver on 12/4/2018, 3:02 pm

@Dan in Ct wrote:I am just wondering if anyone uses this seeding guide that I first saw this morning following a trolleydriver's mention to Vessey's Seed which is in PEI, Prince Edward's Island. Parents were Canadian and my sister gets PEI potatoes for US Thanksgiving dinner. Do any here use it and why doesn't square foot gardening hold the patent?

https://www.seedingsquare.com/

If you have ever watch any of Eliot Coleman's You Tube videos, he makes quite large seedling templates. This one seems it would work quite well for seeding.
Personally I've never seen the need for a seeding square. As long as I know how many seeds per square I am good to go by just eyeballing the spacing or using my fingers to mark out the locations.  Very Happy

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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  sanderson on 12/4/2018, 3:09 pm

Dan,  The inventors hold the patent for commercially producing this square foot template.  I believe the SFG Foundation store offers it for sale.  Some members use it, some make their own, and others, like me use the zip - zap - poke method with our fingers.

For example, in this photo of planting 9 bush beans per sq ft, the grids define the square foot.  Using my pointer and pinky fingers, I make 2 draws across the square in one direction and another draw across in the other directions.  Then poke a hole in the center of each mini-square.  Push the seed in to proper depth and cover.  Done.  PS: Like TD just posted while I was typing, I no longer need to make the zip - zap lines first for 9/sq ft.  

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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  OhioGardener on 12/4/2018, 3:18 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Personally I've never seen the need for a seeding square. As long as I know how many seeds per square I am good to go by just eyeballing the spacing or using my fingers to mark out the locations.  Very Happy

+1

But, there are number of such "templates" on the market for those who can't count to 4, 9, or 16....

Such as this one from Amazon for a Seed Spacing Template for Square Foot Gardening.

And, there is this DIY Square Foot Garden Planting Templates
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  Dan in Ct on 12/5/2018, 9:24 am

I think of square foot gardening as an excellent start for beginning gardeners and almost fool proof for those who may not know what they are doing. I thought the template that not only aids in spacing but also would help in the depth to which to plant the seed thus taking much of the worry from a beginning gardener. I believe the more you can do to ensure the success of a beginning gardener, the more gardeners we will have in the future.
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Re: How to lay out 44"x44" boxes

Post  sanderson on 12/5/2018, 4:31 pm

I was given one to test.  I thought the seed tool was neat.  But, I didn't like the deep rim of the template.  Since I have grids, a flat version would have worked better.  For those who don't have grids (shame, shame Wink  ), the template rims would be good for marking off the square feet.

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