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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.

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My Table Top Project Down Under

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Post  Rambo 9/7/2013, 2:25 am

G'day, I'm from Qld Australia, Sunshine Coast Region. Inspired by the OP 
of this thread, Boffer, I've set up a few raised TT boxes for a SFG. My reason for TT is the area where I have the best available sun is prone to flash flooding up to 12" high in high rainfall, it's like a river and runs very 
fast. Here is the location and a few of the boxes I've built so far, they are 4x4, 8" high and made of pressure treated pine with 4" wide, 3/4" thick fence pailing bottoms. They are also lined with heavy grade Black plastic sheet.

My Table Top Project Down Under  P1020110

I particularly wanted to follow Mels new book to the letter however found Verticulite quite hard to find here, so my plan is to use an Estonian 
Spagnum Peat Moss (supplied composted and PH balanced), coconut coir and a 5mix of organic fertiliser and compost. 

The Estonian Spagnam Peat moss is highly regarded here in OZ by 
Organic Vegetable growers, info on it can be obtained here 
mikskaar.com/en/products-peat-mixed-peat (add www dot to url)

The plan is to use 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 coir and 1/3 compost/fertiliser eventually supplying my own compost blend after the first harvest. 

If anyone has any suggestions they would be graciously received, this is all quite new to me.
Many thanks to the generous people on this forum for all the valuable info,
I've been reading for weeks and read the book twice. Looking forward to planting in a few days.


Cheers Rambo
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Post  Rambo 9/7/2013, 3:02 am

Some more pics as the original post wouldn't allow me to include them.

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Post  sanderson 9/7/2013, 4:15 am

Rambo,  Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here 

Good to see you have already read the book, and twice at that!

Don't forget to drill drainage holes in the plastic and wood bottoms, one in each corner and one in the center of each square foot (or equivalent).  Then line the bottoms with weed fabric to keep the MM from falling through!  The wood looks nice and thick.  However, once the MM is in the box and is wet, it will be quite heavy.  You may want to add horizontal braces underneath the edges that are screwed into the legs.  Good thinking about the possibility of flash floods.

And thanks for posting the photos.  We love photos!  Very Happy
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Post  Rambo 9/7/2013, 6:03 am

sanderson wrote:Rambo,  Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here 

Good to see you have already read the book, and twice at that!

Don't forget to drill drainage holes in the plastic and wood bottoms, one in each corner and one in the center of each square foot (or equivalent).  Then line the bottoms with weed fabric to keep the MM from falling through!  The wood looks nice and thick.  However, once the MM is in the box and is wet, it will be quite heavy.  You may want to add horizontal braces underneath the edges that are screwed into the legs.  Good thinking about the possibility of flash floods.

And thanks for posting the photos.  We love photos!  Very Happy

Thanks, holes are drilled as per the book, the legs have a number of 6" high tensile batten screws fixing to the boxes but I have extra timber on hand if the weight becomes an issue. Oh the flash flood is a given, a whole hillside on the other side of the fence drains into that part of the yard, it's a small river sometimes, on ground beds were not even a consideration. Ok next post will be mix in boxes and seeded.

Fabric is on hand for placement over the plastic, then the top edges of the boxes will be capped with a timber slat.

Any thoughts on the peat/coir mix?
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Post  RoOsTeR 9/7/2013, 7:15 am

Sphagnum peat is the suggested product to use. If you do decide to go with coir, the recommendation is to use no more than 1/3 coir for the required amount of peat.
Welcome to the forum. sunny

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Post  Rambo 9/7/2013, 7:38 am

RoOsTeR wrote:Sphagnum peat is the suggested product to use. If you do decide to go with coir, the recommendation is to use no more than 1/3 coir for the required amount of peat.
Welcome to the forum. sunny
I'm using coir and sphagnum peat moss together, the coir is replacing the Vermiculite which is difficult to get here.   Do you see this being a problem?

BTW, sorry for the original post formatting, it locked me out of editing.
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Post  bnoles 9/7/2013, 7:41 am

Is perlite available in your area?  It would be a far better substitute. Coir would be the substitute for peat.
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Post  RoOsTeR 9/7/2013, 7:51 am

Agreed. Coir nor peat is a substitute for vermiculite. Omitting the vermiculite and adjusting the values for compost and peat would be a better option.
Settings in the editor allow a 1/2 hour for post editing.

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Post  camprn 9/7/2013, 8:51 am

bnoles wrote:Is perlite available in your area?  It would be a far better substitute.  Coir would be the substitute for peat.
+1 I used perlite instead of vermiculite and it worked wonderfully.

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Post  walshevak 9/7/2013, 1:42 pm

I have tabletops because of bad knees and bending problems and I love them.  I put 2 supporting pieces of wood across  each bed and made the bottoms out of 1/4" wire mesh hardware cloth, which I lined with weed block.  No problems with drainage or rotting bottoms.  But I do think I need to water more often as there is air on top and bottom.

I have to second the suggestion on perlite.

Kay

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Post  Marc Iverson 9/7/2013, 11:30 pm

I love your connected multi-level bed. Nice idea!

I guess you're going to need a trellis or two?
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Post  murarrie25 9/8/2013, 12:21 am

Try Fernland agencies in Nambour Or Boxsell hydroponics in Burbank.for vermiculite.
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Post  Rambo 9/10/2013, 2:20 am

murarrie25 wrote:Try Fernland agencies in Nambour Or Boxsell hydroponics in Burbank.for vermiculite.
Thanks, got some Vermiculite from Fernland, the coarse one, grade 4.

Thanks everyone else for all the suggestions.

R
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Post  Rambo 9/10/2013, 3:24 am

I'm thinking about placing 1/2 inch polystyrene sheet covering the inside bottom of the boxes ( over top of the plastic) to retain heat. Anyone see any issues with this?
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Post  Rambo 9/11/2013, 12:53 am

Sweet mix in the boxes now, I ended up with the following mix.

1/3 mixture of half coarse coco coir and half fine Sphagnum Peat Moss.
1/3 Vermiculite.
1/3 mix of Organic Xtra, chicken manure, worm castings, blood and bone, fish meal, seaweed, natural minerals, mushroom compost.

Light, fluffy and stinks.

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Post  Rambo 9/12/2013, 2:21 am

Acquired all my seeds today, I feel like a proud father to be, quite stressful really but exciting at the same time. Is this normal?
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Post  Goosegirl 9/12/2013, 8:30 am

Rambo wrote:Acquired all my seeds today, I feel like a proud father to be, quite stressful really but exciting at the same time. Is this normal?
darn funny darn funny darn funny   Yes, it is, as far as 'normal' can describe any of us once the SFG  obsession grabs us!

GG
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Post  walshevak 9/12/2013, 3:39 pm

Yep, welcome to the club.

Kay

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Post  bnoles 9/12/2013, 4:26 pm

Rambo wrote:Acquired all my seeds today, I feel like a proud father to be, quite stressful really but exciting at the same time. Is this normal?
Normal????? I'm not sure there is anyone "normal" among this bunch rofl 
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Post  sanderson 9/13/2013, 12:26 am

Ditto on what everyone replied.  You are normal as defined by all of us.  Just wait until you start taking photos and showing everyone. Very Happy
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Post  Rambo 9/13/2013, 4:09 am

This is what I've planted in the 3 Table Tops.

The rest of the squares will contain Cabbage, Cauliflower and various Herbs, plus Garlic and Ginger

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Post  Rambo 9/13/2013, 6:52 am

I followed Mel's rules from the new book ...

1. Companion planting is optional.
2. As is plant rotation.
3. Tall plants South end of the boxes ( don't forget we're different Downunder)

6 ft Trellis goes up next.

It must be funny watching us "Newbies" discovering the joys of SFG.
rock on
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Post  Rambo 9/15/2013, 6:27 pm

Wahoo.. Radish from seeds in less than 3 days, I must be doing something right...or Mother Earth rather.

100+ days here with hot winds, toms and lettuce transplants wilting badly, fixed that with 50% shade cloth.

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Post  Kelejan 9/15/2013, 7:43 pm

Rambo wrote:I followed Mel's rules from the new book ...

1. Companion planting is optional.
2. As is plant rotation.
3. Tall plants South end of the boxes ( don't forget we're different Downunder)

6 ft Trellis goes up next.

It must be funny watching us "Newbies" discovering the joys of SFG.
rock on
Rambo, not funny but heartwarming. I am sure we all remember the excitement of our first attempts and wanting to tell everyone.
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Post  sanderson 9/15/2013, 8:00 pm

Rambo, Not funny, but Fun.  It's fun to watch someone else experience the joy of success, even if it's a tiny seedling. bounce  We all went through it and you just help us relive the joy.
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