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Post  ArmySoldier on 6/3/2011, 5:26 pm

hi all, I am a career active duty soldier, and I live in colorado Springs.

I have purchased a house at the end of 2008 but deployed shortly there after so never had time to start anything.

i am home and my fiance will be moving out here soon.

i opened my mouth and promised her a raised garden so we can grow our own veggies and such.


my area to work with is 20' X 23'

[img]http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/Colorado Springs has found a New SFG Garden11[/img]


My questions are:

1. Has anyone in colorado built a raised SFG?

2. Has anyone with a raised SFG used Wicking Bed to keep them watered?

3. Does anyone have a good idea te layout i should build?



thanks

Chris
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Post  Joan N on 6/20/2011, 10:28 am

A couple things I notice from your photo; the tree is creating shade. You need 6-8 hours of sun for vegetables so you may need to trim that tree.

Give yourself 18" or so to walk around the raised beds.

Plan big and start small. Lay out your plan but just start with two or three beds not greater than 4' across (easy to reach) maybe 4'x4' or 4'x6'. Don't frustrate yourself with doing more than you can handle. Fall is a great time to prepare the vegetable beds here in Colorado so that they are ready to plant in the spring. If you have a good experience, you can add more beds. If not, you can add a garden room, plant flowers instead and sit to enjoy a glass of wine.

You can find a LOT of help here in Colorado Springs: Colorado Master Gardeners through El Paso County and CSU Extension focused on education; Pikes Peak Urban Gardens focused on community gardens and raised bed gardening.

Best to you!
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Post  boffer on 6/20/2011, 10:58 am

Hi Joan, welcome to the forum. Thanks for catching this thread; we hate to let posts go unanswered

@ArmySoldier wrote:
1. Has anyone in colorado built a raised SFG?

2. Has anyone with a raised SFG used Wicking Bed to keep them watered?

3. Does anyone have a good idea te layout i should build?

1. We have other members in Colorado.

2. SFG and wicking boxes are a good match, but very few members use them. Some folks are using the Rubbermaid tote wicking boxes for just a few plants. I've been playing with a SFG wicking box, you can find some if here:
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t3068-sfg-wicking-boxes
Kay, in SC is trying wicking ponds this year, you can find her stuff here:
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t5716-experiment-to-deal-with-pure-sand-and-high-water-bills#49172

3. Starting with a good size blank canvas can become overwhelming in a hurry. Start small. No two people garden the same. It will take a couple years of experimenting to see what you like and don't like, what grows well and what doesn't, and to what your interests are. I would physically lay out boxes and pathways to get a better visual. You could use objects like sticks, garden hoses, bricks etc to outline boxes, or just use some garden lime to sprinkle lines for the boxes. Most of us think 3 feet is good for pathways between boxes. When you get down on your hands and knees, or when everything is in full growth and hanging into the pathways, a smaller pathway becomes a pain.


Everything I know about veggie gardening, I learned in the ALL NEW SFG book. Get it; read it; don't loan it out; refer to it often. Actually, I learn a lot everyday by reading this forum! So stick around, and keep us posted with your updates.
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Post  ArmySoldier on 6/20/2011, 2:59 pm

thank you both for your replies. My SFG books arrived a week or so ago. So i read the new and improved SFG first.. and now I am reading MEL's 1976ish book. It seems to go into some other things I was unsure of like companion plants.

@ Joan: I totally plan to take it one step at a time.... I am one of those .. do it all now.. and then realize later.. OOPS there is a better way. 8-)

The tree is on the north side of the garden area, so I will becareful what I plant there and I may move that planter our a bit more. Trimming is always a necessity 8-).

I will look into both of those sources of info you provided. Thanks.

@ Boffer: I have both those threads bookmarked. They are what got me thinking of wicking beds.

But I was wondering if anyone has built raised SFG in CO. Especially COS, with our higher than normal winds. I have a bad back and knees from years of Army life, so gardening on my knees or a low laying planter is not going to be good for me.

Thanks for the idea.. I have a plan on paper.. going to post pic in a sec... I will physically lay it out and see if it works. I have a little deconstucting to do first. But it needs to be done 8-)

thank you both for your insights and replies.
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Post  ArmySoldier on 6/20/2011, 3:16 pm

The Diagonal Line on the left is the other neighbors fence. I forgot to label it.

And the Split Rail Fences are north side of garden Area.

Colorado Springs has found a New SFG Garden13



My Plan is to Start in the NE corner and build that 4 X 8 SFG with Wicking bed first.

My Fiance wanted a sitting area and I think I can accomplish that 8-)... one day ...

One of the 2 compost bins is already build and started.

I have not decided what to cover the area with... I am leaning towards mulch.

And I have not decided what to do with the paths.

I might use edgers to mark it off and then either rock / gravel or maybe jsut rectangle pavers in center of pathway to act as stepping stones.



So let me know your thoughts.
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Post  boffer on 6/20/2011, 3:24 pm

I wasn't 100% sure what you were referring to as a 'raised' bed, so I didn't say anything. It appears you mean what we call a table top? I have a few of them myself-luv 'em!

Every Novemberish I get 50-60mph winds out of the south, that when accompanied by heavy rain, blow down 100 foot firs on my property. I haven't had a TT SFG move an inch in five years.

Nice to know: a 4x4 SFG box full of properly saturated Mel's Mix is going to weigh in the 200-250 pound range. I would think that if your fence goes all away around, that wind shouldn't be a problem, barring tornadoes! Maybe you can design some air foils to go around the sides of the boxes! Wink

oops you beat my post
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Post  ArmySoldier on 6/20/2011, 3:36 pm

Thanks boffer, thats the kind of info I was looking for.

Now to figure out a nice base that looks "Pretty".....

I was thinking cinder block, maybe some paint on them will make it not too ghastly...

I know I can make a good looking wood base, but thats expensive and will it last 20 years 8-).


OHHHHH some of those old cable spools.... could be a VERY cool looking base.
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Post  boffer on 6/20/2011, 3:47 pm

@ArmySoldier wrote:

OHHHHH some of those old cable spools.... could be a VERY cool looking base.

Yup! Nobody said a SFG box has to have corners! You'll just end up with some half squares along the sides when you lay out your grids.

I believe Wardinwake, another TT proponent, has a spool table TT.
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Post  walshevak on 6/21/2011, 10:32 am

Thought I'd weigh in here on the tabletops. Empty, one blew off its stand, but once they were full, they all went through 60mph winds in an open yard and didn't budge. Even my tulle "bug nets" survived. That's at the Northeastern NC tabletop garden. http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t5250-i-m-making-progress-and-gardens#43850

The Southeastern NC gardens are the pond beds and my son just sent me new pictures in an email. Unfortunately, I'm on a government computer and can't down load and move to the forum, but I'll tell you that all but one of the pond beds are producing well in the NC heat. The one failure has 4 Philippine edible gourds planted and after they got started we found out that they are planted by the river banks in PI because of the amount of water they need. Dang things sucked the pond bed dry every day and the cukes and maters couldn't keep up. There are some green maters still hanging on, but the cukes bit the dust.

I love my tabletops because I have bad knees.

Kay

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A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
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Post  ArmySoldier on 6/21/2011, 11:01 am

Kay,

I loved your post, I was viewing it yesterday, and I sent it to my fiance. It gives some very interesting ideas for us to use.

One word for it. Amazing. 8-)

I also sent her Christines post http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t6264-here-is-an-update-on-my-garden. It gives me some fun ideas for automating the watering when i am off on some event or both of us are out of town.

another awesome garden with TTs 8-).

We are discussing which way to go with the TTs. I liked your idea. Since I am going to do Wicking beds also, I thought if I could find a way to decorate or cover the cinder blocks and add a 3rd or 4th set of rails in the middle of the beds it could work.

The other thought was the Giant wood cable spools. Those things can hold some weight 8-)
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Post  walshevak on 6/21/2011, 2:16 pm

I'm considering adding lattice around the beds, backed with plastic to prevent the winter wind from blowing under the beds and the summer wind from drying them out. I want to try for late crops. First frost is not until early Nov. and hard frost doesn't usually come til around Christmas. Even then it seldom gets below 20*. If you go for wicking beds you will not have this problem. And I thought it might look nice.

My son is also contemplating adding to his boxes and is trying to come up with a wicking tabletop that he likes. He wants to add 4 more beds in the pond garden area and convert the "babysitting bed" to flowers next year. He has a large family to feed. I left 5 different composts for him to blend this summer for adding when he plants fall crops, but his wife took all 5 and some scrap trim from old doors and made herself another flower bed. Can't argue with her method though. Use what you've got.

Kay

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Post  Furbalsmom on 6/21/2011, 7:26 pm

ArmySoldier

Just wanted to give you a link to Boffers TABLE TOP IDEAS

While the info is on standard table tops, not wicking beds, it will give you some building options.
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