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Post  CFo on 4/25/2011, 6:24 pm

Has anyone tried planting a Square Foot Garden on a 2nd story (or higher) deck?

What have you used to create a bottom for the boxes? How do you keep them from leaking mud/water on the deck below?
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/25/2011, 8:16 pm

There are several buildings in Portland, OR, that have set up salad gardens on rooftops. An article in The Oregonian newspaper a couple of years ago showed some, caught my eye because some were planted in kids' wading pools--which doesn't sound like a long-term way to go, but as an experiment, why not? Mel's mix is very light, so good for container growing, unlike some commercial mixes which have sand added. Do you have room for some, say, 2' x 4' boxes?
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Post  CFo on 5/2/2011, 2:56 pm

Thanks for replying. I only have room for a max of two 3X3 boxes.

I love the idea of a kiddie pool to collect the water/mud run-off. (that's what you mean, right? - you'd still plant in wood boxes, I assume?)
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/2/2011, 3:17 pm

Actually, the roof garden featured said they planted salad greens in childrens' wading pools. With past experience, I'd be skeptical of how long a kiddie pool would last. Using it as a protection under your planting box probably would be a good idea.
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Post  Lindacol on 5/2/2011, 4:38 pm

Search for self watering or self wicking containers. There have been several discussions on these. I think that would work in this situation.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/2/2011, 5:01 pm

I've seen an SFGer here that uses a rooftop garden. Drainage? No idea, but that would be in interesting dilema.

Maybe do a search here because I don't know the member's name.
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Post  Old Hippie on 5/2/2011, 5:43 pm

One of our Canadian gardeners over on the east coast has a rooftop garden. I haven't seen her post in a while and unfortunately I can't remember her name. I will try to find out for you and PM her to see if she can shed any light on the subject.

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Post  middlemamma on 5/3/2011, 12:46 am

Hi there!!!

From what I understand to keep the dirt in the box and still allow the water to drain you would put a plywood bottom on the box (with holes drilled in it for drainage of water) and line the inside of the box with weed fabric. The weed fabric holds the dirt in so there is no mud, you would just have water run off.

No mud. Smile
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Post  walshevak on 5/3/2011, 6:36 am

@middlemamma wrote:Hi there!!!

From what I understand to keep the dirt in the box and still allow the water to drain you would put a plywood bottom on the box (with holes drilled in it for drainage of water) and line the inside of the box with weed fabric. The weed fabric holds the dirt in so there is no mud, you would just have water run off.

No mud. Smile

Or hardware cloth (metal) lined with weed fabric. Slightly lighter in weight if that is a factor on the balcony.

Kay

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Post  dstubbs on 5/3/2011, 1:23 pm

Hi,

I'm the person with the rooftop SFG, as you can see in my avatar picture. My boxes have bottoms made of plywood (1/2" thick, if memory serves). These are drilled with 1/4" holes every foot, as suggested in Mel's book. The boxes are raised up a few inches on little wooden feet (wood offcuts) for drainage.

If I was to do it over, I might line the boxes with weed cloth as someone suggested above (in order to keep the Mel's mix from coming out the holes in the bottom), but really I haven't lost all that much soil and it seems to be working pretty well for me.

Hope this is helpful!
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Post  dstubbs on 5/3/2011, 1:30 pm

Me again! I just realized I didn't completely answer your question about keeping the water and dirt from going onto the neighbour's decks below. In my case it's a roof, so I don't have exactly the same issue. My excess water runs off into my rain gutter, so no big deal. I suppose you could build some sort of shallow pan below your boxes? There shouldn't be a lot of run off after watering, but heavy rain might make it a bit messy at times. There shouldn't be a lot of mud involved, though, especially if you use the weed cloth as suggested above. Let us know what you come up with for a solution!
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Post  Hoggar on 5/3/2011, 2:05 pm

You could put a washing machine pan under it and just be careful not to over water.

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Post  CFo on 5/4/2011, 6:00 pm

Wow! Great ideas, fellow farmers.

I think I'll put all your ideas together:
build wood boxes
put screen (hardware cloth) on the bottom
line with weed fabric
raise on little wooden "feet"
put in a washing machine pan

... watering it should be no problem since there is no deck above mine.

I'm pretty far north, so I won't be doing this for a few more weeks, but I'll send pictures.

Thanks to you all!
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