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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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Adventures in Table Top

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Post  sanderson 4/12/2015, 4:54 am

No, but you can have strips of heavy plumbers tape or three 1" x 4" ready to screw underneath to the 2" x 6" at each side and one in the middle. Paint the ends and both edges white. Anyone crawling underneath will just have to suffer looking at the tape or unpainted 1 x 4! Very Happy I think the general guideline is a support every 2 feet.

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Post  jimmy cee 4/12/2015, 7:52 am

ralitaco wrote:Just wondering if I messed up by not putting any support under the plywood except along the edges. 
Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 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

A couple of pieces of angle iron underneath fastened securely to the sides would do it.
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Post  llama momma 4/12/2015, 9:09 am

Ralitaco
Maybe one option in the future is to simply stack stained cinder blocks with another stack in the center for support.  Don't know if you saw mine.  It looks like this new and I've had it for 3 years in all four seasons.  The bottom plywood is still holding up just fine. The box is covered with a tarp in winter. I like to think it helps with box longevity from snow and ice.  A wood stand is probably more visually pleasing but you can't beat the durability of blocks. 

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Post  ralitaco 4/12/2015, 11:04 am

Thank you ALL for your replies.

sanderson wrote:No, but you can have strips of heavy plumbers tape or three 1" x 4" ready to screw underneath to the 2" x 6" at each side and one in the middle.  Paint the ends and both edges white.  Anyone crawling underneath will just have to suffer looking at the tape or unpainted 1 x 4!  Very Happy  I think the general guideline is a support every 2 feet.
Sanderson...I was thinking about the "plumbers tape" because, I think I could fairly easily attach it to the sides and snake it under the plywood and up the other side. 

As far as the 1x4's, how would you run them? I would think they would have to be run on edge to give any kind of support. Also, I cannot picture the layout of "at each side and one in the middle"

jimmy cee wrote:A couple of pieces of angle iron underneath fastened securely to the sides would do it.
Mr. Cee...How would you suggest I secure the angle iron? I haven't worked with it but would be interested. If I am thinking correctly, the angle iron is "L" shaped so no way to attach it directly to the side, so I would have to mount a piece of angle iron to the 2x8 to provide a shelf for the support piece to attach to...correct?

llama momma wrote:Maybe one option in the future is to simply stack stained cinder blocks with another stack in the center for support.  Don't know if you saw mine... A wood stand is probably more visually pleasing but you can't beat the durability of blocks.  

Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 Sam_0810
Llama, I had not seen yours but I did read about stained blocks and wondered what they looked like because someone mentioned pastel colors and I couldn't picture that. Having seen yours, they are nothing like I imagined they would be. While they do appear very sturdy, it is not the look my wife is going for. Besides, I used to do stucco work and those blocks are just begging for some.  Smile


Now on a funny side note, Llama Mama...I just had an AHA moment when I looked at your picture...There are LLAMAS in the background...I'm more than a little slow at times rofl 
Good thing they aren't Alpacas
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Post  llama momma 4/12/2015, 11:23 am

ralitaco
I am the first to admit the industrial block look isn't pretty.
A couple hundred pounds of wet Mel's mix does need very sturdy support. This is my only table top so far out of ten beds. Not sure what I'm going to do in the future to help my fast aging joints.
Just wish Someone would design a stand like large wooden Legos!!  LOL - for non wood working types like me.  Just Pound it together and be done with the blasted thing already.
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Post  ralitaco 4/12/2015, 12:18 pm

I have been pondering how big of a fiasco this may be. Having that plywood span 4' in both directions with no support seems to be a mistake. I am thinking that if I split that in half, I will resolve my issue/concerns. From looking at other TT's that have been done, I believe I have seen a lot of them 2' wide by 4' long with no support in spanning the 2' width (The exception being Sanderson who had supports every 16")

So I think I may just need to split one of those 4' spans in half and I am thinking of 3 options that may be the easiest to install.

  1. I could cut out a part of ledge I installed and attach 2x hangers and 2x2's like you do for the hardware cloth setup. I would just have to "jack up" the plywood and MM to access the 2x8 to screw it into it. The downside to this option is having to lift all that weight high enough to install the hangers.
  2. another option would be to put a 3rd leg on 2 opposing sides and run a 2x4 on edge under the plywood. I don't think I'd like the look of that but it may be the easiest to do.
  3. The other option which I am leaning towards would be to install 1 or possibly 2 eyelets into the 2x8's on each side and run steel cable through them. The question would be what size cable would I need. I'm thinking either 3/16" or 1/4". According to the Big Blue Box's website, the safe working load for the 3/16" is 840# & the safe working load for the 1/4" is 1400#. I believe the 3/16" would be sufficient because I think the screws holding the ledge in place or the 2x8 would give out before the cable. 
  4. Of course, I could just drill a hole through the 2x8 and run either the cable or a piece of steel conduit, too. (this one just occurred to me and I haven't really thought it through)


any thoughts?
Thanks again for helping
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Post  boffer 4/12/2015, 12:35 pm

ralitaco wrote:...The other option which I am leaning towards would be to install 1 or possibly 2 eyelets into the 2x8's on each side and run steel cable through them....
This one's a definite non-starter for me.  Steel flexes and stretches. You'd never be able to get the cable taut enough to prevent sagging.

ralitaco wrote:...Of course, I could just drill a hole through the 2x8 and run either the cable or a piece of steel conduit, too. (this one just occurred to me and I haven't really thought it through)
I like this one.  I had a thought this morning about using a dowel, broomstick, or shovel handle in that manner.  But I like your idea of using EMT the best: easy to do, clean looking, and cheap.
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Post  ralitaco 4/12/2015, 4:57 pm

boffer wrote:
ralitaco wrote:...The other option which I am leaning towards would be to install 1 or possibly 2 eyelets into the 2x8's on each side and run steel cable through them....
This one's a definite non-starter for me.  Steel flexes and stretches. You'd never be able to get the cable taut enough to prevent sagging.
I thought about that too, never getting it tight enough, but I was thinking it would just be there to catch the wood if it falls.

boffer wrote:
ralitaco wrote:...Of course, I could just drill a hole through the 2x8 and run either the cable or a piece of steel conduit, too. (this one just occurred to me and I haven't really thought it through)
I like this one.  I had a thought this morning about using a dowel, broomstick, or shovel handle in that manner.  But I like your idea of using EMT the best: easy to do, clean looking, and cheap.
Cheap is good...So what were your thoughts on how to best install the EMT. 
I am thinking I could use 2 lengths of EMT cut 4'3" long and bore a couple of holes on opposing 2x's. then I could slide the EMT through the holes, putting collars on the inside of the 2x's right next to the 2x to keep the EMT from moving out. I would then cap the ends of the EMT. 
I think that would be very simple to do but I am not sure how useful it would be...would it be strong enough to support much weight?
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Post  boffer 4/12/2015, 5:11 pm

I'm headed out to put some chicken on the grill. While it's cooking, I'll do an experiment and post the pics later this afternoon. (my time zone!)

My major concern is how close the holes can be to the edge of the 2x.
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Post  boffer 4/12/2015, 7:54 pm

Let me back up for a minute.  Several years ago on the forum, we attempted to theoretically calculate the weight of a 4x4 TT made of 2x6's and full of properly saturated MM.  Water is by far the heaviest component.  Only one person had the interest and patience to measure the water used to saturate new MM.  She figured roughly 20 gallons.    There's too many variables to obtain a small accuracy range: initial moisture of the wood and MM components plus an accurate description of 'properly saturated'.  We settled on a gross weight of 250 lbs +/- who knows how much!  We agreed that if a good size man could sit in the middle of an empty TT, then the TT was safe to fill with MM and water.

The EMT is supported at 47 inches.  40 lbs. hanging at the center.
Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 Dscn5512


The deflection is less than the diameter of the EMT, slightly less than 3/4 inch.  It just occurred to me that I should have tried distributing more weight across the entire 47 inches.  Oh well, too late now!
Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 Dscn5514


Drilled holes close to the edge.  90 lbs. hanging on the EMT.
Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 Dscn5610


I was aiming to make the hole edge 1/4 inch away from the edge of the wood, but I goofed and ended up 1/8 from the edge.  There was no indication of pending failure with 90 lbs, so I decided that was a good place to stop!
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Post  jimmy cee 4/12/2015, 10:39 pm

Raliitco
Just notch where you want it to be and it will lay flat
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Post  ralitaco 4/13/2015, 12:28 am

Thanks Boffer and Jimmy Cee for your replies.

And thanks Boffer for the awesome test.
I think I am going to put in 2 pieces of 3/4" conduit for now.
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Post  ralitaco 4/15/2015, 9:18 am

Almost ready to plant. So here is what I am thinking I will use:
VegetableSquares# per
Square
Celery11
Cucumbers - Slicing12Trellis
Edamame29
Lettuce - Leaf14
Lettuce - Leaf14
Lettuce - Leaf14
Lettuce - Leaf14
Pepper - Bell Green11
Pepper - Bell Yellow11
Squash - Zucchini20.5
Tomato - Cherry or Grape21
Tomato - Slicing21

Any advice on companion planting and location (eg - put the Trellis on the North side or Be sure to put the lettuce South of the tomato, etc.)
Also, I am not sure about the Edamame...sounds like very little yield, but I love that stuff and it is expensive in the store.

thanks as Always
PS - I am in zone 8, I think...zip code 28443 about 5 miles from the ocean as the crow flies.
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Post  yolos 4/15/2015, 9:50 am

Can you really grow lettuce in the summer in NC.  I hope Kay can address that question. 

I grew Edamame and it was very productive for me.  More than English Peas.
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Post  ralitaco 4/15/2015, 6:10 pm

yolos wrote:Can you really grow lettuce in the summer in NC.  I hope Kay can address that question. 
I thought you could.  I am planning on it so we'll see
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Post  walshevak 4/15/2015, 6:19 pm

ralitaco wrote:
yolos wrote:Can you really grow lettuce in the summer in NC.  I hope Kay can address that question. 
I thought you could.  I am planning on it so we'll see
My spring crop of lettuce is always great.  Starting in late May/early June,  I move to 2 cement mixing tubs under a filtered shade tree. (I have mine up on cinder blocks)  I plant one tub and then 4 weeks later I plant another.  Lots of water needed.  As soon as the first tub starts to taste too bitter to eat, I pull it up and replant.  Same with the second.  I kept lettuce going until late Aug last year doing this.  Swiss chard will keep producing all summer and I like pole beans on a trellis to replace the spring lettuce in the bed.  Chard can take the heat. 

Kay

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Post  ralitaco 4/15/2015, 6:26 pm

Ok, 2 pieces of 3/4" conduit installed as support under the 4x4 plywood.
I drilled 7/8" holes but probably should have gone with 15/16" holes. I had to make the holes a bit bigger to get the conduit through, but they are in there and they are snug. Very Happy

 Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 2015-011 Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 2015-012

I did pretty good with the placement of the holes. Of the 4 holes, 2 were about 1/16" below the plywood with enough room to easily slide the hose clamp in place. 1 hole was right against the plywood and I learned that 8 cu feet of MM is very, very heavy. I tried to lift up on the plywood to slide the clamp in place and I failed. In my defense, I was sitting under the bed and trying to push up with my head and one hand while moving the clamp with the other. I did finally get it in place though. The last one was the victim of me not keeping the drill level and it ended up about 1/4" down from the plywood. Oh well, I had to remind myself that I was putting these in as a safety precaution to hopefully prevent losing the MM if the plywood rots all the way through at some point. 

Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 2015-013 Adventures in Table Top  - Page 2 2015-014

And btw, I put hose clamps to make sure the pipes didn't slide one way or the other, but seeing how hard it was to get the conduit in place, I don't think it will be an issue, but I already had them so I figured I'd use them.

All I have left to do is plug or cap the holes and paint them covers white.

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Post  ralitaco 4/15/2015, 7:48 pm

walshevak wrote:My spring crop of lettuce is always great.  Starting in late May/early June,  I move to 2 cement mixing tubs under a filtered shade tree. (I have mine up on cinder blocks)  I plant one tub and then 4 weeks later I plant another.  Lots of water needed.  As soon as the first tub starts to taste too bitter to eat, I pull it up and replant.  Same with the second.  I kept lettuce going until late Aug last year doing this.  Swiss chard will keep producing all summer and I like pole beans on a trellis to replace the spring lettuce in the bed.  Chard can take the heat. 

Kay

Thanks, Kay. I have never tried chard, but sounds like I might soon.
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Post  sanderson 4/15/2015, 9:53 pm

Ralitaco, I also feel better now that you have the EMC in place. Shocked Thank you, Boffer for your test.

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Post  ralitaco 4/16/2015, 12:28 am

I am really, really hoping/needing to get some plants and/or seeds in the ground otherwise, I think it may be too late. So since I have the one box pretty much done, I figured I needed to get it going with what I know I will eat and what I think I can grow successfully. 

So here is what I think I will plant, where they will be planted and how many per square. I think I have selected the right plants for summer. I think I will need to buy transplants vs starting from seed at this point.

Let me know your thoughts, concerns, suggestions, etc. 

South corner                                                          West Corner
Grape Tomato 
x1
Leaf Lettuce
x4
 Grape Tomato 
x1
 Leaf Lettuce
x4
 Leaf Lettuce
x4
Bell Pepper
x1
Swiss Chard
x9
Grape Tomato 
x1
Leaf Lettuce
x4
 Grape Tomato 
x1
Bell Pepper
x1
Zuchini
x0.5
Pole Beans
x9
Pole Beans
x8
Cucumbers
x2
Zuchini
x0.5
East Corner                                                             North Corner

Thanks in advance.


Last edited by ralitaco on 4/16/2015, 12:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fix beans)
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Post  sanderson 4/16/2015, 12:39 am

2 x 9 pole beans or 2 x 9 bush beans? Or did you mean 2 x 8 bush beans? Very Happy

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Post  ralitaco 4/16/2015, 12:54 am

sanderson wrote:2 x 9 pole beans or 2 x 9 bush beans?  Or did you mean 2 x 8 bush beans? Very Happy
I meant Pole Beans / 8 per square.
I don't really know what the difference is as I have never grown them...or much else for that matter. 
Maybe I should do 1 sqare of each and find out?
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Post  yolos 4/16/2015, 9:51 am

ralitaco wrote:
sanderson wrote:2 x 9 pole beans or 2 x 9 bush beans?  Or did you mean 2 x 8 bush beans? Very Happy
I meant Pole Beans / 8 per square.
I don't really know what the difference is as I have never grown them...or much else for that matter. 
Maybe I should do 1 sqare of each and find out?

The major difference in terms of where to plant the beans, pole beans grow 5 - 10 feet high depending on the variety and need a trellis.  Bush beans don't need a trellis, just something around the squares to keep the bush beans from falling over into adjacent squares.
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Post  sanderson 4/16/2015, 3:54 pm

Some folks slightly over plant to allow for seed mortality. If you end up with too many plants, you can always snip the extras.

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Post  ralitaco 4/16/2015, 11:00 pm

yolos wrote:The major difference in terms of where to plant the beans, pole beans grow 5 - 10 feet high depending on the variety and need a trellis.  Bush beans don't need a trellis, just something around the squares to keep the bush beans from falling over into adjacent squares.

Wow 10' high!!! I would love to see that. 
Can they go up and then back down or just up?
ralitaco
ralitaco

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