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Longevity of Table Top Boxes Toplef10Longevity of Table Top Boxes 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
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.

Longevity of Table Top Boxes I22gcj10Longevity of Table Top Boxes 14dhcg10

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Longevity of Table Top Boxes Empty Longevity of Table Top Boxes

Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2012, 12:56 pm

I have a friend in Oregon who manages a community garden. I keep telling him he's working too hard. When he recently e-mailed that 30" is a lot of dirt, I responded with pictures of our TTs. Of course, I'm trying to convert him to Mel's Mix, or at least straight compost.

His response was to say that he could easily build somthing similar (true), but that he thought the bottoms would only last about three years.

What is the experience of those in the PNW?
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Post  martha 4/9/2012, 1:00 pm

Boffer, where are you? You are needed!
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Post  gwennifer 4/9/2012, 1:10 pm

I know boffer says he uses hardware cloth lined with landscape fabric for his box bottoms instead of plywood because of our climate. You have to have supports for the hardware cloth to keep it from sagging still of course.
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Post  boffer 4/9/2012, 1:56 pm

Donna, if your friend is thinking about plywood bottoms, I agree with him.

Like gwennifer said, all my TTs have hardware cloth/weedblock bottoms. My oldest are five years old and going strong. I tried to get a picture of the bottom, but they're covered with a layer of moss! No biggie, it will die off this summer.

Here's a few ideas about how to make them. More importantly, some pictures of what not to do.
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Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2012, 2:23 pm

Boffer,

Thanks a million!

However, I have a dumb question: what is hardware cloth? Does it drain?
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Post  Hoggar 4/9/2012, 2:40 pm

Donna this is Hardware cloth.

Longevity of Table Top Boxes Eavesscreen2
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Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2012, 3:14 pm

So.... Hardware cloth + weed cloth = solid-enough bottom for table-tops? I just want to make sure I understand correctly.

Thanks again!
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Post  Hoggar 4/9/2012, 3:50 pm

My boxes are on the ground but I have the Hardware cloth / weed cloth combo
on the bottom and it held when I had to lift my boxes up on blocks to put plastic
under them to stop the Star of Bethlehem weeds in my yard from coming up
through the bottom.
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/9/2012, 7:56 pm

donna

My TT are very similar to boffer's wooden ones. I have no sagging at all. (I don't have access to welding equipment, yet)

Hardware cloth plus weedcloth plus 2X2 supports across the bottom of the TT will easily hold fully saturated MM and plants.

Here on the Southern Oregon Coast, we had 20.1 inches of rain in March and the TTs are doing great.
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Post  gwennifer 4/10/2012, 7:29 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:So.... Hardware cloth + weed cloth = solid-enough bottom for table-tops?

No, you need supports for the hardware cloth so it won't begin to sag. You line the hardware cloth with landscape fabric to hold in the Mel's Mix. Furbalsmom has some great pictures of how she built hers I thought? And boffer's link too shows you the do's and don'ts of table tops.
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/10/2012, 10:50 pm

This particular box was made of cedar, 4 ft X 4 ft by 10 inches high. The box was built with tenon legs made of treated 4X4 sign posts. Cedar 2X2s were used for cross supports, secured in hangers like you use for joists.

Longevity of Table Top Boxes 2_tt_s10

Then installed hardware cloth on top of the cross supports attached with screws and big flat washers. Weedcloth was added once the TT was placed in the garden area. Weedcloth was stapled to the inside of the box.

Longevity of Table Top Boxes 5_deta11

Finished box

Longevity of Table Top Boxes Dome_t10
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Post  donnainzone5 4/11/2012, 12:51 pm

My friend Walt in Oregon says, "Thanks for all the info! With the detailed photos and instructions, I could now make those boxes easily." Longevity of Table Top Boxes 3170584802


I hope he will do so. It's difficult to teach row gardeners new tricks. He has seen my low-light SFG and declared the results to be marvellous.
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Post  boffer 4/11/2012, 1:20 pm

Neato!

Step 2: get him to read the book

Step 3: get him to join the forum!
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Post  plantoid 4/11/2012, 6:13 pm

Step 3 :- Get him to read the section for " Experienced gardeners " on the right of the home page and click on the link at the end of the paragraph ..it will save him lots of heataches.
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Post  donnainzone5 4/12/2012, 11:26 am

I've been trying to get him to read the book for some time now but think he may be about ready to do so.

He's been to the forum recently, so I'll certainly encourage him to join--if he hasn't already done so.

Hopefully, he will become an apostate row gardener!
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