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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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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA

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littlesapphire
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cautery
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA

Post  cautery Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:50 pm

OK... I'm back, and am into the construction phase. There is a ton of work to make my space useable and make it fit into a long-term expansion plan for the whole yard. So, I am going to use this thread to document the construction.

(Click any image to see the full size image in a separate window.)

Day 0 - Materials for Mel's Mix that have been patiently waiting for me to get busy.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Mm_materials_sm

Day 0 - Completed boxes that have been sitting idle for a year.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Sfg_boxes_sm

Day 0 - Had some extra time at the end of the day, so I decided to go ahead and stake out the first four boxes. I had to plot the property line and then reserve space along the fence for a row of 2-foot boxes, and a 3-foot (standard) walkway between rows. It's not evident here, but grade on the yard is awful... Right where I am starting has poor drainage and holds water after rains.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Initial_plot_day0_sm

Day 1 - Began raising the grade for the first 4 boxes using a pallet of top soil I had sitting up front... what you see is 54 each, 40-lb bags... (saved six to fill in and smooth the grade on this portion.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Day1_end_sm

The easy dirt work is over... From here on out, I will be digging the fill dirt from the front yard, and hauling it around back.... estimating 444 wheel barrow loads to take front yard down 8 inches. (replacing front yard soil to re-grade and make something grow)

This is a combination gardening project and physical fitness journey! And it is going to be a LONG one!! affraid
cautery
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Post  cheyannarach Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:09 pm

Clay, I found the pics and it looks like an awesome project. I love the wood for your boxes! I can't wait to watch your progress and good luck! okay
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Post  littlesapphire Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:23 am

Wow, good luck to you! That sounds like an amazingly hard job ahead of you but also totally worth it.
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Post  cpl100 Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:38 pm

Wow! I am impressed by your undertaking. You will be very strong after this!
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty 7 months later...

Post  cautery Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:48 pm

Got "prioritized" out of my gardening again, but I am back.... again!

Got 2 of my 4'x4' boxes planted finally today... still have to move dirt to get the other two boxes down. Considering having a couple to 5 yards brought in to make it faster... I really need to get the 4 boxes in, and the wife wants permanent strawberry and asparagus beds....

And the boy wants to grow potatoes....

Anyway... don't have time for pics right now, but I'll post up when I can.

Tried the "lay-down" tomato tip/trick today with some 10" store bought Red Beefsteak Heirlooms... 6" underground/4" above... sitting straight up in less than 4 hours!!

Put in some Jalapeno and Hot Banana peppers... store bought (needed something green to make me pay attention to the boxes.

Seeded in Kentucky Wonders, Purple hulls, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, romaine, carrots, etc. directly in the box...

Setup seed starts in vermiculite for cucumber, pumpkin, okra (2 kinds) oregano, cilantro, et al.... (Now I HAVE to get the other two boxes done ASAP.

Later folks...
cautery
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty New plan...

Post  cautery Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:31 pm

Stripping sod and digging dirt from the front yard is 1) really, really hard, and 2) slow!!!

So, I had 16 yards of fill dirt dumped in the driveway today and have begin carting it to the back 1 wheel barrow at a time. Wish I owned a small loader... At 8 or so loads per yard, it's still gonna be a lot of work. Smile

I've got to get the other 2 boxes in ASAP, 'cause I'm getting pressure to get to work on...

1) Enough strawberry pyramids to supply our yearly requirement of frozen strawberries (over 50 lbs)
2) Same for blueberries...
3) Blackberry bushes...
4) "When are you going to get the front yard dug out (8"), irrigation put in, replacement soil, sod, and landscaping done..." Wink
And in your spare time... I'd like the herb garden, garlic, etc, etc....

AND, now it appears that I have a group of cats who've decided to make my 4x4 boxes their personal dance floors at night... (direct sown squares may be completely hosed.)
cautery
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Post  camprn Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:10 am

Clay, try fabricating some chicken wire boxes to go over the sown beds to keep the cats out until the plant get bigger. I think there are some good pics in one of the cat in the box threads.

Beware the strawberry towers. The mix tends to settle, dramatically. Also consider putting a fenestrated tube in the towers for watering and fertilizing.

Hang in there. It's a lot of work, but if you do the homework and provide what each type of plant needs your result should not be disappointing.

We need pics. Very Happy

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Post  cautery Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:15 pm

camprn wrote:Clay, try fabricating some chicken wire boxes to go over the sown beds to keep the cats out until the plant get bigger. I think there are some good pics in one of the cat in the box threads.

I've decided to try the Scarecrow Sprinklers first... I'd prefer not to have to deal with the covers and storage of the covers, et al... Maybe this will work...

camprn wrote:Beware the strawberry towers. The mix tends to settle, dramatically. Also consider putting a fenestrated tube in the towers for watering and fertilizing.

I'm going to do all kinds of homework before I make a decision... I was wondering about the settling problem with the hollow center, no level bottoms deal...

camprn wrote:Hang in there. It's a lot of work, but if you do the homework and provide what each type of plant needs your result should not be disappointing.

We need pics. Very Happy

I'll try to get some pics soon... Not much to look at right now... Just started moving dirt, et al... Maybe I'll shoot a pic today after I figure out how I'm gonna save the tomato and pepper plants from the next three days of near freezing overnight temps... Shocked
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty Update... April 2013

Post  cautery Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:42 pm

OK... still don't have pics, but will soon.

  • Got enough fill dirt moved and compacted to get the 3rd and 4th boxes in place.

  • Ordered another 32 cu. ft. worth of fresh MM ingredients... used the same composts as before, but also added 20lbs of REALLY nice (and expensive... ouch!) worm castings to each 8 cu ft of new mix. (Mixing 16 cu ft of MM at a time by yourself is still hard, but it's much, much easier and faster with dry ingredients!!) Wink

  • Filled and populated 3rd and 4th boxes with 2 types of tomatoes, 2 types of corn, 2 types of okra, bell peppers, cucumbers, oregano, cilantro, dill, basil, water melon, cantaloupe, et al.

  • Began back-filling from the boxes towards the fence so I can put in the 2' x 4' boxes 2' off the fence line. Put a small loop of fill around existing boxes to try and halt erosion from under 4' x 4' boxes in current Row #1.

  • Built a make-shift potato bed in the rear right-of-way using landscaping fabric bottom and bricks to plant 5lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes.

  • Got to 63 of 64 populated squares today as a result of a nuclear attack on an unknown disease likely started in grow station.

  • Completed first (partial) pruning of tomato plants in Box #1. Kinda wish I'd chosen string supports rather than netting for the tomatoes, but I'll make it work this year. Going to train the Beefsteak Tomatoes to two vines per plant.

  • Purchased, installed, and setup a Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus with 24 hour FARS in the garden, and am working on putting the station online. (Future additions will included soil moisture remote station for use with existing ET setup to control irrigation system for garden.)


Other than that, I've just been "sittin' around" and lolly-gagging... Wink
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty I've got pics...

Post  cautery Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:54 pm

Still don't have an overall shot, but I'll get one soon...

In the meantime, here are some I took today (Click on the ACTUAL image for the high-res images, NOT the white bar...):

Tomato Blooms!!!

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Tom_bloom_800

More Blooms!

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA More_tom_bloom_800

And bunches more...

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Tom_fruit_800

Pumpkin recovering nicely after removing the diseased seed leaves...

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Pumpkin_800

Kentucky Wonders doubled almost over-night... will need to make the first tie-up soon until it puts out tendrils.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Ky_wonder_800

Think the Jalapenos and Banana Peppers are putting on flower buds, too!

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Jalapeno_800

Here's the tater bed with Yukon Golds in...

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Tater_bed_800

And look who's waking up... It's.... "tater-face"!

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Tater_face_800

And finally, here's the "Autery's Garden Weather Station":

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Autery_garden_2_800_tall

And another shot... See my signature for the link to the online station.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Autery_garden_800

Back to hauling dirt tomorrow!
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty Adding a border to the SFG...

Post  cautery Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:47 pm

Hauled another 13 wheelbarrow loads of fill dirt to the SFG yesterday, and looking at what the rain is doing to the borderless and uncovered fill dirt convinced me I needed to "do" something.

So today, I began adding a 2" x 10" border around "phase 1" of the garden. It will contain the fill dirt while it settles and until I can add the rest of the boxes and pathway covers.

As always... click on the image proper to see the high-res version of the photo. Photo is being taken while standing ESE of the garden facing "generally" WNW.

Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Fill_border_opt_800

The south wall will continue east toward the house, and I will continue digging it in until it "disappears" into the current grade, which removes the requirement to add a border on the east end.... though I will likely place SOME kind of border to mark the "end" of the garden and beginning of the turf grass area (some day I'll get that replaced).

I will also likely go back and excavate along the fence (north side) to add a staked border to keep the fill from "bleeding" through the fence into the neighbor's yard.

The enclosed area of "phase 1" will yield enough square footage to net a total of 10 each 4' x 4' boxes, and 5 each 2' x 4' boxes with 3' wide pathways between boxes, a 3' path around the three "non-fence" sides, and a 2' set-back off the fence to allow for future installation of a privacy fence behind the 2' x 4' box row.

Phase 2 will likely involve extending phase 1 toward the back fence to add additional 4' x 4' and 2' x 4' boxes to within 10' of the rear property line (there is a 10' utility right-of-way that I don't want to put permanent construction over).
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Garden Construction - cautery in NW LA Empty You're killing me...

Post  kat51415 Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:58 am

I am out of breath, just from reading this thread! If hard work equals results, you'll have plenty of product at season's end. As a side note, we visit your area somewhat frequently as we go to Camp Minden alot (at least, we did until the detonation and following scandal pale ). The Pilot is always our fuel stop before we leave town. C'mon down and visit some time. I'll buy ya a cup of coffee...you could probably use the break and the caffeine LOL! Very Happy
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Post  plantoid Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:22 pm

cpl100 wrote:Wow! I am impressed by your undertaking. You will be very strong after this!

Either that or totally wrecked Laughing
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