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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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Adventures in Table Top

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Adventures in Table Top  Empty Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco 9/17/2014, 11:59 pm

So I am beginning my adventures with building some Table Top frames. For quite some time I have had ideas floating around in my head about what I wanted to build and have finally started constructing one. A couple of years ago, I had some early success with SFG using 2 - 4x4 boxes on the ground. That success only lasted about 1/2 the summer thanks to the fire ants, squirrels, cats and my dislike of working on the ground. 

I plan to build a 4'x4' TT about 32" off the ground. I am using 4x4 posts for the 4 corner posts and am trying to decide how high to go with them. Currently they are 8' but I don't think I want them that tall. I am thinking about cutting them down to 7' that way I can still reach the top without needing a ladder. I want all 4 corners to be that tall, so I can enclose it to keep the cats out, have built-in trellises and maybe even build in some sort of arbor on the top. (The general design would be similar to Chopper's

I have started the build and was able to notch out the 4x4's
Adventures in Table Top  Legs_123

More pictures and commentary to come.
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Post  Kelejan 9/18/2014, 12:08 am

Look forward to follwoing your progress, ralitaco.
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Post  sanderson 9/18/2014, 3:20 am

Kelejan wrote:Look forward to following your progress, ralitaco.
+1

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Post  tabletopper 9/18/2014, 4:43 am

my 4x4 is set on concrete blocks and I have no problem with neighbors cats.....or my 2x4's.......and will last a lot longer.............ants could be a problem.......try sprinkling dry cleanser powder around the supports.......works with RV's while camping.....also
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Post  ralitaco 9/18/2014, 10:18 pm

Making progress a little at a time after work:
Got the sides cut, but at the expense of my old circular saw (I let the smoke out of it and couldn't get it back in.) Fortunately, I was able to limp through the last 3 cuts and temporarily attach the sides to the posts.

Smoking saw:
Adventures in Table Top  Smoked11
Corner close up - Outside:
Adventures in Table Top  First_14
Corner close up - Inside:
Adventures in Table Top  First_15
4x4 TT frame:
Adventures in Table Top  First_16
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/18/2014, 10:24 pm

I'll be especially interested to see what you do with the top/trellis area.

Do you have much in the way of wildlife to be worried about?
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Post  ralitaco 9/18/2014, 10:41 pm

Me too...but I have several ideas and if they don't work out the way I hope, I can fire up the chain saw and cut them off and then I will have the legs for another TT. 

As for critters...squirrels and cats with the occassional deer
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Post  ralitaco 9/27/2014, 2:55 pm

So I ended up cutting the posts at 7'.
I went with 2 carriage bolts on the sides and a carriage bolt and 2 screws on the top. I felt like that would keep the box sturdy without having angle supports running to each leg. 

Just need to put the bottom plywood in and the plastic and ground cloth. 
Any suggestions on the thickness of the plywood. I am leaning towards 5/8" or 3/4" since the only support will be the 1.5" ledge it will be sitting on.

Here are some pictures (insert musical DaDaDaaaa now):

- Carriage bolts installed in sides

Adventures in Table Top  09_27_23

- Slightly offset so the bolts didn't hit each other in the 4x4 post
Adventures in Table Top  09_27_24

- Inside view of the carriage bolts for the side
Adventures in Table Top  09_27_25

- Deck picket for ledge for the plywood
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- Ledge for plywood
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- Top Corner with 1 Carriage bolt and 2 screws
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- Inside Top Corner
Adventures in Table Top  09_27_30

- Top of Top Corner
Adventures in Table Top  09_27_31


Ready for some WHITE paint because my wife won't let me paint it BLUE and trim it out like the TARDIS.


Adventures in Table Top  Tardis10


Last edited by ralitaco on 9/27/2014, 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added pic)
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Post  ralitaco 9/27/2014, 3:21 pm

Some things I learned so far:

1. This is very important...4 - 4x4x7' posts, 4 - 2x8x4' sides AND 4 - 2x4x4' top rim is VERY HEAVY.   Shocked

2. If I want a VERY HEAVY wooden structure in a certain spot in the yard...I should build it THERE not 50' away.  Mad

3. My brain and ingenuity are what separates me from...ummm...Honey what did you say my brain and ingenuity separate me from again?  thinking

4. I also learned that a dead push lawn mower with the motor removed, a 5' scrap of 2x6 and some screws come in very handy for items 1 and 2.   What a Face

Adventures in Table Top  09_27_32

Adventures in Table Top  09_27_34

Still very heavy but I was able to lift the end without the mower and push it across the yard with relative ease. I plan to modify the lawnmower deck so it is flat or so the board stays on top where the motor would sit. As it is now, the right side is lower than the left and that caused some slight issues as the frame slid to the wheel on the lower end.
A second mower deck on the other end would nice too. Especially if the wood is connected to the mower deck, then I may be able to steer  
Time to put on my thinking cap...thinking
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Post  sanderson 9/27/2014, 7:28 pm

No one can say we aren't a clever bunch! Very Happy

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Post  ralitaco 1/27/2015, 6:46 pm

So several months have passed and all I have done is paint it white...so many months have passed that I think I need to repaint it, but that's what happens when people expect me to work my FT job. 

Any way, I am hoping to get some plywood this weekend and put a bottom in. If I am doing the math correctly...since a 2x8 is actually only 7.25"... and the ledge I installed is 1.5"...and the plywood is .75"; that will leave ONLY 5" from the top of the side to the bottom for the MM. I am wondering if that will be too shallow. If so, I am thinking I can find some metal bed rails to use for my ledge instead...any thoughts.

Adventures in Table Top  09_18_13 (top pieces not in place yet in this photo)

Next: As you can see from the pictures, I have a 7' tall TT with "trellis" at the top. I am still not sure what I will do with them right now, but for now I was thinking about draping clear plastic over the entire thing...2 - 4' wide strips and tacking the edges to the vertical posts about 2/3 of the way down and weighing down and securing the bottoms in such a manner that I could easily lift them up to access the plants. 

Another option is to attach some 2x4's closer to the soil and draping the plastic from there in order to have a smaller area to heat.

In either case, I am not sure what to do to the bottom. I can enclose it with some plywood or put some syrofoam sheets under the plywood...any thoughts on either.

Thanks in advance,
Jim
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Post  jimmy cee 1/27/2015, 10:10 pm

I've found tanglefoot keeps any crawling creatures away from a raised area.
Just swab it on without leaving a space, nothing will pass.

Especially good on hanging  hummingbird feeders.
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Post  has55 1/28/2015, 4:46 am

jimmy cee wrote:I've found tanglefoot keeps any crawling creatures away from a raised area.
Just swab it on without leaving a space, nothing will pass.

Especially good on hanging  hummingbird feeders.

thanks for the note on tanglefoot. I didn't know it work that well.
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Post  ralitaco 4/8/2015, 10:10 pm

Ok So I built my TT in September and let it sit around until January when I painted it white. It has been sitting in the same spot since then but seems to have developed a mold issue. Not sure why this happened...thinking maybe since I only painted the one side or just because of the way the sun hits it there. Any thoughts on the cause and a solution? I am thinking of painting over it ENTIRELY with KILZ and running 6 mil plastic up the sides to prevent any contact with the soil...let me know your thoughts. Thanks

Adventures in Table Top  0112aa11 Adventures in Table Top  0171de10 Adventures in Table Top  0195ad10 Adventures in Table Top  015ca210 Adventures in Table Top  014df410 Adventures in Table Top  01c58c10
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Post  ralitaco 4/8/2015, 10:12 pm

One more thing...the supports I put on the inside to hold the plywood are only 1.25" thick so with the plywood in place, I will have 5.25" of Mels Mix so that is what I am going to go with for now.
Adventures in Table Top  01c58c11
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Post  ralitaco 4/11/2015, 9:57 am

OMG...the Row Gardening devils are conspiring against me Evil or Very Mad ...I cleaned the mold last night with Hydrogen Peroxide. I am on call this weekend but didn't have any calls come in and was planning on painting my Table Top again this morning, then while that was drying prepare the plywood for the bottom and hopefully add the Mel's Mix that has been sitting in my shed for several years. I looked outside about 7 am and it was clear and sunny BUT NOW IT IS RAINING!!!! I already missed the window to plant cool crops and it looks like at this rate I will miss the rest too....ugh
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Post  yolos 4/11/2015, 12:02 pm

ralitaco wrote:Ok So I built my TT in September and let it sit around until January when I painted it white. It has been sitting in the same spot since then but seems to have developed a mold issue. Not sure why this happened...thinking maybe since I only painted the one side or just because of the way the sun hits it there. Any thoughts on the cause and a solution? I am thinking of painting over it ENTIRELY with KILZ and running 6 mil plastic up the sides to prevent any contact with the soil...let me know your thoughts. Thanks

Adventures in Table Top  0112aa11 Adventures in Table Top  0171de10 Adventures in Table Top  0195ad10 Adventures in Table Top  015ca210 Adventures in Table Top  014df410 Adventures in Table Top  01c58c10
I work for a company that manufactures wooden pallets.  We always have a mold issue if the wood is not cured enough and just because we live in a high humidity area.  Wood has moisture in it.  That moisture, maybe high humidity, heat, no air movement, not enough sun, will all help to produce mold.  What we do to kill the mold on the pallets is to spray them with a mixture of water and household bleach and then let them sit in the sun and allow for proper air movement.
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Post  ralitaco 4/11/2015, 1:44 pm

Thanks Yolos, 
That makes sense. I went back and I looked at the original pictures and didn't see any mold on the sides that have mold now. So there must have been moisture in those pieces...they may have been from the same lot. The back side that didn't have mold may have been from another lumber lot. 
Either way, I scrubbed them down with Hydrogen Peroxide and got out there and painted over them. Hopefully that will take care of the issue, if not there always Plan B...no wait...C or is it D? I didn't use Bleach because of some things I read on the Internet AND of course *everything on the Internet is true, right?  Very Happy

So the SFG gods decided to smile on me today and they stopped the rain. So I went ahead and put a coat of paint on. If it rains again, I will look at this coat as a primer coat.
 
Adventures in Table Top  016ee910

I also was able to cut the bottom and get it in place...WOOHOO   Laughing

Adventures in Table Top  01993c10

Next I need to lay out the plastic to keep the MM from contacting the painted surfaces and the weed cloth to keep the MM from falling out the holes. Then I get to empty my shed so I can get to the MM that is stored in the very back corner.

Any suggestions on how much NEW compost I need to add to "re-activate" the old MM?

*Bon Jour,
Your friendly French Model  Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 4/11/2015, 2:07 pm

Don't forget to drill the drainage holes in the plywood. Very Happy

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Post  ralitaco 4/11/2015, 5:41 pm

Thanks Sanderson...1 hole per square plus 1 in each corner (1/4" holes)
Doesn't look like enough but that's what the book says so...
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Post  jimmy cee 4/11/2015, 10:48 pm

Plant when you can and be happy doing it...We really cannot depend on weather any more
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Post  ralitaco 4/11/2015, 10:56 pm

A Picture is worth a 1,000 words...so let me use about 8,000...

6mm Plastic to help protect the plywood and to act as a buffer between the MM and the Paint
Adventures in Table Top  01121510 
Weed Cloth to keep the MM from going out the holes
Adventures in Table Top  011c1910 Adventures in Table Top  01bb8d10
Now where did I store those bags?????
Adventures in Table Top  013b2510

And FINALLY after starting this project back in September 
(Click to PLAY MUSIC)
Heeeeeeeeeere's MEL'S MIX  Adventures in Table Top  3170584802   rock on
Adventures in Table Top  01fd9f11 Adventures in Table Top  01c80f10 Adventures in Table Top  017bc810 Adventures in Table Top  0134e510


I still have to put in my grids and I am going to put a cap along the top edge of the box. 2 reasons for that: 1. so I have a shelf to sit my drink or tools, etc AND 2. to give me a little more height on the sides. By the time I put in ridge for the plywood to sit on and the plywood, I only ended up with 5" to the top of the box. While I think that will work, I want a little more height.

Almost forgot, I did get that MM soaked pretty good in its new home and just as advertised...the excess water drained off out the little holes. However, I did find out that I forget to do one thing before I added the MM; I forgot to level it out. One corner had a steady stream running out of it, but nothing I can't go back and fix...it'll just be a little more work.
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Post  ralitaco 4/11/2015, 11:01 pm

jimmy cee wrote:Plant when you can and be happy doing it...We really cannot depend on weather any more
As far as depending on the weather, we never could and we never will. Except that it will do exactly the opposite of what we want when we want it.
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Post  sanderson 4/12/2015, 12:08 am

Ta da!

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Post  ralitaco 4/12/2015, 1:26 am

Just wondering if I messed up by not putting any support under the plywood except along the edges. 
Adventures in Table Top  0171de11
I am thinking I could run some metal straps or steel cables under the plywood if needed.
Of course I think of this AFTER I put in the MM.

Has anyone else built their 4x4 TT with support just along the edges?
Anyone have any horror stories of the bottom falling out?

Thanks
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