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Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Toplef10Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden

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Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Empty Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden

Post  Cincinnati 4/2/2012, 12:44 pm

I planned on planting corn in a traditional row garden. Then it dawned on me, if I am planting corn 6" apart in rows, why not try the SQFT grid in the ground. I wanted to plant several hundred stalks and didn't have the budget to do it in raised beds yet. Plus our winds knock over corn growing in the ground, so I feared the loose, friable MM had a much less likely chance of supporting them. I didn't want to build a support system either. I put down a broadcast coverage of lime about a few weeks prior.

Using a 4x4 frame as a guide and boundary, I mixed compost into the soil, along with fertilizer. Then I planted 16 squares of silver queen, and prepared a second 4x4 for a staggared planting.

Here's a few photos:

This is my traditional gardening space that I have planted every year. I've changed my mind about planting it all traditionally this year. I've already started one 4x4 area in the far corner.

Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Img_2011

Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Img_2013

I want to do about 6 of these areas.

The rest of my garden is 14 Earthboxes, 6 SQFT beds, and traditional in the ground locations throughout my yard.

Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Img_2014

Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Img_2110

This Better Boy tomato in an Earthbox should be ready to eat within the week. I only got one tomato on the first truss. Two have survived on the second truss. Other trusses are forming. I transplanted this plant to an Earthbox on 2/2/12:

Using SQFT method in a non-raised bed garden Img_2111
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/2/2012, 1:33 pm

One of my customers dug out "boxes" and filled the holes with my version of MM. They are soil level which he thought would be best in his townhouse.

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Post  H_TX_2 4/2/2012, 1:41 pm

I think if you did this or dug the boxes into the ground where they were at soil level then it would be possible to water too much because the water doesn't have anywhere to go.
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Post  Chopper 4/2/2012, 1:50 pm

H_TX_2 wrote:I think if you did this or dug the boxes into the ground where they were at soil level then it would be possible to water too much because the water doesn't have anywhere to go.

It would go into the surrounding soil wouldn't it?
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Post  H_TX_2 4/2/2012, 1:57 pm

I think it would all depend of your soil. At my house we have lots of clay so basically you dug yourself a bowl to pour water into. In Mel's book he talks several times about the importance of air spaces around the roots to grow properly. I guess if you had sandy soil then the water would easily flow into the surrounding soil.
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/2/2012, 2:16 pm

What about digging deeper & filling in a couple inches of stone or sand?

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Post  H_TX_2 4/2/2012, 3:04 pm

I guess that could also work but you get to the point where doing that involves more labor than actually building the box above ground.
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Post  Cincinnati 4/2/2012, 4:08 pm

sfg4uKim wrote:What about digging deeper & filling in a couple inches of stone or sand?

H_TX_2 wrote:I guess that could also work but you get to the point where doing that involves more labor than actually building the box above ground.

I don't think I'd do SQFT gardening if I had to first remove and dispose of 8 Cu Ft of dirt for every box I wanted to use. I have plans for 13 boxes. That would be too much work.

We're investing a lot of money in MM. It's fairly easy to remove it from the raised beds and move them. I'd hate to put that kind of amendment into a hole in the ground.

In my limited experience with the raised beds plus the weed blocker fabric, they do seem to have less pest problems. My only issue has been fire ants building a mound over the side of the box. I think I may have solved that one too.
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Post  Turan 4/3/2012, 12:15 am

This site is already proven garden area, so it is known that the soil drains
well for vegetable growth. Mel's Mix is a fine amendment for garden
soil. So this plan will help organize and focus where the amendments
go.
If you plant the corn deep you can hill it some form the aisle ways. If
there is a lot of wind or drought that is a help. It makes more roots.
I have had good luck using SqF planning methods in regular garden spaces over the years. I did the corn in 16X3 foot plots though. With sunflowers at the ends.
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