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Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden Toplef10Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden 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.

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Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden

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Marc Iverson
CapeCoddess
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FeedMeSeeMore
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yolos
mimsbuttons
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Post  mimsbuttons 5/31/2014, 11:32 am

I am new at gardening as an adult.  I have dared to sprout some tomatoes and cantaloupes.  I will need to set them out soon.  Does anyone know of any materials that I can repurpose to create an attractive looking garden design?  I have thought about old barrels cut in half, but I can't find any without spending an arm, leg, and a few fingers (LOL)!  I have also thought about using small kiddie pools filled with soil.  Any cheap (more free) ideas.  Photos are welcome!
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Post  yolos 5/31/2014, 11:41 am

Those bags you buy at walmart to keep from using plastic bags are said to work very well.  I do not know what they cost though.

Here is one sample of using the walmart bags.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iVBMBxvMsA


Last edited by yolos on 5/31/2014, 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  boffer 5/31/2014, 11:44 am

5 gallon buckets are free.

If you want pretty, paint them.
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Post  gwennifer 5/31/2014, 12:54 pm

yolos, nice find on that video!  Grow bags for $0.50 that air-prune and a kiddie pool for self-watering.  Cool.  Look at how he's even grown corn this way and is modifying his buckets to air-prune too:

mimsbuttons, have you checked your local craigslist or perused habitat for humanity stores for used materials perhaps?
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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 5/31/2014, 1:43 pm

boffer wrote:5 gallon buckets are free.

If you want pretty, paint them.


FREE 5 Gal. buckets??? Where would I get those?
(I thought $2 for a stinky pickle barrel from firehouse subs was a good deal.)

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Post  yolos 5/31/2014, 2:10 pm

Schools use 5 gallon pickle buckets.  Bakeries.
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Post  68carguy 5/31/2014, 3:11 pm

FeedMeSeeMore wrote:
boffer wrote:5 gallon buckets are free.

If you want pretty, paint them.


FREE 5 Gal. buckets??? Where would I get those?
(I thought $2 for a stinky pickle barrel from firehouse subs was a good deal.)

I got some from my local Food Lion, not sure they are in your area. The bakery department gets frosting in them...free for the asking. They normally have left over frosting in them you have to clean out but other than that....
Yeah I bought one of those pickle buckets from Firehouse Subs...never again....my my..... you can never get the smell out.
I would be afraid anything I grew in it would taste like it smells!!
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Post  Turan 5/31/2014, 4:05 pm

The expensive part is finding good composts and vermiculite or perlite.  The forms can be all sorts of repurposed bins/ bags/ mesh/ scrap lumber/ pallets/ buckets.  Look in alleys and behind businesses.  KNow any one with cats, those square kitty litter buckets with hole drilled in them are great.  Do not use burlap, it decays too fast but a roll of weed cloth would make a lot of forms.

Good luck with your scrounging  Laughing

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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 5/31/2014, 4:31 pm

@yolo
@68carguy

Thanks for the tips!
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Post  CapeCoddess 5/31/2014, 4:53 pm

I used someone's tossed out kitchen cupboards for my original boxes. 3 years later I'm still using them but they may need to be repaired or replaced the end of this season.

CC
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Post  boffer 5/31/2014, 5:01 pm

mimsbuttons wrote:..Does anyone know of any materials that I can repurpose to create an attractive looking garden design?..

We've seen some very nice cinder block boxes.
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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 5/31/2014, 5:28 pm

Our neighbor was building a new deck. DH caught him before he torched ALL the old wood in his backyard. We should have enough for at least 3 "new" boxes.
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Post  Marc Iverson 5/31/2014, 6:53 pm

Getting stuff that's both attractive and cheap/free can be tricky and require a bit of luck!

Many good suggestions have been posted in this thread for at least the cheap/free part. Re growing in bags, if you'd like to do that but don't want the sides to bulge out in a sort of random way, and want to make them easier to move, you might consider checking out your local dollar stores for wire baskets, or the plastic equivalents, to put the bags in. That will keep the bags upright and in a consistent shape, protecting the fine root hairs from micro-traumas like bending and tearing as the bags expand and contract, while also making it easier and less damaging to move the bags, should you need to as the sun changes its position during the season. It can also make growing in bags more attractive. The wire and plastic baskets tend to come in quite a few colors and a variety of shapes.

Growing in bags with Mel's Mix works very well, by the way. Doing so can cost you a bit more in water, as the bags increase evaporation from the soil. But MM's high water-retention properties counter that near perfectly.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 5/31/2014, 10:03 pm

Do you have Craigslist.com available in your area?  And you might do a google search for free & your area.

Sam's bakery is where we get our free frosting buckets.  They're supposed to send them to the recycler, but apparently this one particular store didn't get the message... lol.
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Post  Goosegirl 6/1/2014, 7:24 am

yolos wrote:Schools use 5 gallon pickle buckets.  Bakeries.

+1 I was just going to add bakeries. Their frostings and other edibles come in buckets, so they are definitely food grade.
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Post  Goosegirl 6/1/2014, 7:27 am

68carguy wrote:...
Yeah I bought one of those pickle buckets from Firehouse Subs...never again....my my..... you can never get the smell out.
I would be afraid anything I grew in it would taste like it smells!!

Definitely for pickling cukes only - they may grow smelling pre-brined! Wink 
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Post  yolos 6/1/2014, 9:21 am

The smell doesn't bother me.  It goes away real quick.  leave it outside in the air and rain and the smell goes away.  Anyway, if you use it as a planter, you are going to fill it within an inch of the top, so you shouldn't be able to smell any pickles after that.
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Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden Empty Wonderful, space saving idea!!!! Cost Effective a Well!!! thanks!

Post  mimsbuttons 6/1/2014, 4:48 pm

gwennifer wrote:yolos, nice find on that video!  Grow bags for $0.50 that air-prune and a kiddie pool for self-watering.  Cool.  Look at how he's even grown corn this way and is modifying his buckets to air-prune too:

mimsbuttons, have you checked your local craigslist or perused habitat for humanity stores for used materials perhaps?
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Post  mimsbuttons 6/1/2014, 4:52 pm

yolos wrote:Those bags you buy at walmart to keep from using plastic bags are said to work very well.  I do not know what they cost though.
thank you so much for this link!  I was able to get more and more cheap ideas of a self-watering system that I can build for less than $50 bucks!  I really appreciate this!  I welcome any future tips you may run across as well.
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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 6/5/2014, 12:49 pm

We're trying this idea out for a couple of tomato plants. Empty dog food bags. This particular brand is makes a tarp like bag. I wiped it out with some diluted dish soap on a rag and that was all. I've been saving them for something just wasn't sure what.

Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden June_512
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Post  boffer 6/5/2014, 12:56 pm

Nice re-purposing.  Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden 3170584802 

Be sure to give us a follow up at the end of the season.
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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 6/5/2014, 7:43 pm

Will do Boffer. Those are the only store bought 'maters. The rest were from seeds.
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/6/2014, 11:50 am

FeedMeSeeMore wrote:We're trying this idea out for a couple of tomato plants. Empty dog food bags. This particular brand is makes a tarp like bag. I wiped it out with some diluted dish soap on a rag and that was all. I've been saving them for something just wasn't sure what.

Newbie seeking inexpensive ways to structure my garden June_512
LOVE it!  What a fab idea.  Did you put holes in the bottom?
CC
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Post  FeedMeSeeMore 6/6/2014, 11:59 am

@CapeCoddess
LOVE it!  What a fab idea.  Did you put holes in the bottom?
CC.


Yes I did cut some holes in the bottom. Should have mentioned that.
Just trying to save any way we can so we can add some more square foot beds next year.
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Post  tank55 6/6/2014, 9:59 pm

I do not know your area, but i have a cedar sawmill close they sell 3000 lb stack of cedar ( they call them miss cuts) for $50. they have 1/2" X 4" x 8' up to 6" X 6" X 8' and ever size  in between. Mine had a lot of 12" X 1" X  8" they did not have square side but they work well. hope this helps
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