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Adaptin Existing Raised Beds

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Post  shirlgirl on 2/19/2011, 5:49 pm

Greetings! I am reading about and considering trying Square Foot Gardening for the first time. In my garden I have raised beds already in place but the dimensions don't jibe with the typical block sizes for SFG. Has anyone had any experience using the method in something sized slightly differently? The interior dimensions of my beds are 45" by 120". (Depth is greater than the 6", but I've read several posts on how to fill that gap!)

I'd appreciate any guidance or suggestions anyone may offer. Cheers!

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/19/2011, 5:56 pm

And, greetings to you, Showgirl. Glad to have you here.

I don't think the dimensions have much to do with the technique and differences of SFG, but they do matter when trying to access your centered crops without stepping on the soil. That's the key to never having to till your soil again....never compact it.

I have heard some using walk planks, others keep the dimensions narrower than 4 feet across, and others may not mind tilling. But, hardcore SFG'rs aren't about to till that soil again...ever...lol.

45" x 120" on the interior suggests to me that you are in a 4x10' bed. No problems imo. When I put my grids in place, I don't mind being off an inch to get around a trellis pole or something. I'm sure I have a 13" box here and a 11.5" box there.

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Post  jumiclads on 2/19/2011, 5:59 pm

Hi Shirlgirl and welcome to the SFG forum. Your raised bed is nearly 4 feet x 12 feet so there is no problem with the size. You can make each square 12 inches the long way and 10.5 inches the short way and adjust the amount of plants in each square to suit. Or you could just make the last row of squares 9 inches. It is up to you, but it will still work. I am starting my 1st year along with you so you will have plenty of help along the way like I am already experiencing on here. I like yourself think this is a good system to try. Please post some photos of you garden as you progress so we get a good idea of your success. GOOD LUCK

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Post  Megan on 2/19/2011, 6:26 pm

Hi Shirlgirl, welcome to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

In my opinion, keep your squares as square as possible (grin) and then where you have partial squares, adjust your planting to suit, similar to what jumiclads suggested. It's important to try to keep with the square foot grid (even if you are off a little bit) as all of the planting recommendations are based on that. When you plant 16 to a full square foot, for example, you are going to want to keep track of that spacing to make sure you don't crowd your seedlings.

Enjoy and happy gardening! flower

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Post  quiltbea on 2/19/2011, 7:14 pm

Welcome to the group Shirlgirl,

The others have already given you good advice.
Your width is just a little shy of 4ft wide but you can put fewer plants in the 9" left of smaller crops that require less space, like lettuce, radishes, turnip, spinach, chard, garlic, etc.

Or if the long length is on the proper side, north so the sun isn't blocked from the other crops in the bed, you can put up a trellis and use that 9 inches as your peas and pole beans area since they grow vertically and use less space on the ground.

Keep the others at 12" because on most crops you'll need the one foot square.

The length is terrific. As long as the beds are not beyond 4ft wide so you can reach in from either side, you have a winner.

Good luck.

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Post  shirlgirl on 2/19/2011, 9:18 pm

Thanks to all who responded to my post! Good advice and suggestions, not to mention a nice warm feeling of welcome. I didn't think it would be too big of a deal to "shrink" a square or two, so I'm glad to hear others would agree...also I like the idea of designing and orienting my block with the trellised plants in mind. Good idea! I can see that this forum is going to hold a wealth of information, and inspiration, as I start my SFG experiment. With the rising price of produce, I have to commit to making my garden a success this year. That is, if I intend to keep eating! Smile

I will try to post some before and after pics of my "adaptation" bed (or beds, as may be...). I am also thinking of doing a block of intensive succession plantings of carrots and beets, as a newbie juicer. I'm sure I can find some anecdotal insights about that idea as I read through the different threads in this forum. Great Stuff!

Happy Gardening (or maybe just dreaming, on this chilly winter evening)!

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