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Is this wood correct for building box? Toplef10Is this wood correct for building box? 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Is this wood correct for building box? I22gcj10Is this wood correct for building box? 14dhcg10

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Is this wood correct for building box?

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Post  wombocombo626 2/14/2017, 5:02 pm

I just finished reading the book and am now interested in constructing my own box. I never really worked with wood and building things with wood so I am pretty lost. I was thinking of going down to my home depot and getting some 2 x 6. I found something on the home depot website called 
2 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. Kiln-Dried #2 and Better Prime Douglas Fir Lumber
 on the home depot website and they have it in stock near me. I was wondering if those would be suitable. However they are 8 feet so I would probably have to cut it in half. Anyone know if home depot cuts them to the size I need for free? Thanks!
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Post  trolleydriver 2/14/2017, 5:08 pm

First, welcome to the forum from Ottawa, Canada.

The wood you describe should work but I don't know how long it will last in your climate. I do exactly what you are suggesting. I purchase 2x8 pine or spruce boards which are 8 feet long. I have them cut in half at the Home Depot store. Keep in mind that they may not cut them exactly at the 4 foot mark but close enough for garden work. I used deck screws to fasten the board together.
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Post  wombocombo626 2/14/2017, 10:00 pm

I am planning on placing the box on top of concrete. Will I still need to put a weed cloth underneath the box?
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Post  sanderson 2/15/2017, 3:53 am

Wombo, This is the 3rd time I have tried to reply!  Shocked  Must be the computer, right?

Yes, the wood is great.  But, I recommend buying the 2" x 8" version which will allow 6" of Mel's Mix and 1 1/2" of mulch.  Mulch is needed in CA and other hot dry summer regions.  Keeps the Mix and plant roots cool, and slows surface evaporation of your precious, rationed water.

Yes, you can place the box on concrete.  Yes, you have to line the box to prevent the  Mix from washing away.  I recommend the stronger commercial grade of weed fabric instead of the cheaper black plastic weed fabric.

Please feel free to join in the "Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?" topic.  What's a few 100 miles in CA? Wink https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t20189p850-northern-california-coastal-valleys-what-are-you-doing-this-month#260106

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Post  wombocombo626 2/16/2017, 11:14 am

It does get pretty hot over here in southern california during the summer months. The mulch will probably really help with water retention. I just started gardening a month ago so I never needed mulch. I was wondering what you would suggest for mulch. I've read so many different opinions about mulch. What has worked for you?
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Post  Kelejan 2/16/2017, 12:04 pm

glad you\'re here wombocombo happy hi 
from Kelejan in British Columbia  :canada: 

I am a great believer in mulch and try never to leave any of my soil uncovered.

I use mainly leaves gathered in the fall. Others plant cover crops and turn them under when spring arrives.

If you look at the top left-hand corner of this page you will something  called SEARCH. Insert Mulch and click Go and you will find 60 references to Mulch. That will keep you busy for a while; ask questions if you need more information and you will find it here with our members all ready to help you.
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Post  trolleydriver 2/16/2017, 12:45 pm

Kelejan wrote:glad you\'re here wombocombo happy hi 
from Kelejan in British Columbia  :canada: 

I am a great believer in mulch and try never to leave any of my soil uncovered.

I use mainly leaves gathered in the fall. Others plant cover crops and turn them under when spring arrives.

If you look at the top left-hand corner of this page you will something  called SEARCH. Insert Mulch and click Go and you will find 60 references to Mulch. That will keep you busy for a while; ask questions if you need more information and you will find it here with our members all ready to help you.

I use straw (not hay) for mulch but others may disagree with that approach especially in your climate.
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Post  sanderson 2/16/2017, 1:47 pm

I personally use bedding straw.  I chop to about 4-6" pieces, removing wheat heads when I see them. I put on more straw mulch when the plants get bigger.  When the straw starts to break down, 1 or 2 years, it goes into the next compost pile as "browns."Is this wood correct for building box? Mulch_11
Is this wood correct for building box? Mulch_10

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Post  yolos 2/16/2017, 1:53 pm

I also use straw.  But I do not remove the wheat heads.  I wait and see if they sprout, and if they do, then I pull the wheat plants while they are still small and deposit them on top of the mulch to dry out and add to the mulch layer.
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Post  sanderson 2/17/2017, 1:19 am

Maybe I don't need to obsess over removing ever wheat head. Embarassed

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Post  yolos 2/17/2017, 6:18 pm

sanderson wrote:Maybe I don't need to obsess over removing ever wheat head. Embarassed
All depends.  Pick them out as you cut the wheat stalks or after they sprout.  Your choice.
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Post  sanderson 2/18/2017, 2:27 am

For the Class Reunion, I bought a paper cutter (guillotine) thinking I could use it this summer to chop the bedding straw.

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Post  donnainzone5 2/18/2017, 11:20 am

Sanderson,

What a great idea!  It might also work for chopping pine straw.
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Post  ralitaco 2/19/2017, 9:27 pm

Kelejan wrote:I am a great believer in mulch and try never to leave any of my soil uncovered.

I use mainly leaves gathered in the fall...
Kelejan, I have never used mulch but am thinking I will try this season. Are you saying you just put a layer of leaves directly on top of the MM? Don't they get slimy?


trolleydriver wrote:I use straw (not hay) for mulch but others may disagree with that approach especially in your climate.
TD, why straw and not hay? My DW has a couple of bales of ???? from halloween that I was considering using.
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Post  sanderson 2/20/2017, 5:06 am

RT,  Halloween bales are usually the cheap bedding straw.  Hay has the seeds attached as in oat hay, or like alfalfa "hay," the whole upper plant.  Hay is actually nutrition for animals.  Whereas straw is just the plain stalks and skinny leaves left behind after harvesting the seed heads, like wheat.

If you chop up the Halloween bales, there will be a few wheat seeds. You can either remove them or wait until they sprout and then pull them.

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Post  ralitaco 2/20/2017, 6:48 pm

Thanks Sanderson,
It sounds like the bales will be good for mulch.
How long before they breakdown?
Can they be added as browns to the compost pile?
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Post  yolos 2/20/2017, 7:28 pm

ralitaco wrote:Thanks Sanderson,
It sounds like the bales will be good for mulch.
How long before they breakdown?
Can they be added as browns to the compost pile?
Wheat straw takes forever to break down if used as mulch.  I put some down around my carrots last August.  Today I removed it to plant my potatoes.  It was slightly off color but still in about the same shape.  I usually use it as mulch for about a year and then throw it in the compost pile.
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Post  sanderson 2/21/2017, 4:42 am

RT, I've reused straw mulch when I know there's no disease from that bed. You might get up to a couple years from it, then add it to a compost pile. Very Happy

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Post  wombocombo626 3/3/2017, 12:26 am

I finally constructed my 4x4 garden and it came out a lot better than I expected. After putting it all together I now want to add the plywood on the bottom of the box so I can attach wheels to the bottom and move the box around. However, following the instructions on the book to constructing my 4x4 I noticed that the box is around an inch to inch and a half longer than 4 ft. I was looking at plywood and they only seem to come in 4x4 or 4x8 dimensions. Both being 4ft I see it being barely able to fit, but I am afraid the screws will be right at the edge. I don't really want to get plywood larger than 4x8 since they are quite expensive and I wouldn't know what to do with all the extra. Any ideas on what I could do?
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Post  sanderson 3/3/2017, 2:37 am

Undo and trim the box to fit the plywood. The slightly smaller size will not affect the plants. 11.2" instead of 12". You can make the MM 7" tall if you want to compensate Very Happy

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Post  ralitaco 3/3/2017, 12:36 pm

Wombo,
There are lots of options for you. The best is probably as Sanderson suggests and take apart the sides and cut them down to 46.5", then when you assemble them (staggering the corners) you will end up with exterior dimension of 48" and interior of 45" due to the 2 by's being 1.5" wide. 

Post some pictures so we can see your boxes...we love pictures on this forum.
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Post  wombocombo626 3/31/2017, 9:38 pm

So I went to got a bale of straw this past weekend to use as mulch. However, after seeing the picture sanderson posted of his straw mulch, his straw seems more like big pieces. I pulled a chunk from the bale I bought and it has a mix of long straw and tiny pieces. I am wondering if I bought the right stuff. The small tiny pieces blow away really easily in the wind. Here is how they look. Is this wood correct for building box? GkFv9IA
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Post  sanderson 3/31/2017, 10:42 pm

You bought the right stuff.  Very Happy   I would use what you show in the photo. I cut up mostly the long hollow stocks for mulch, trash the seed heads and fines.  Some of the light weight "leaves" go into the compost pile.  Once the straw mulch is wet, even with some of the "leaves", it stays in place.

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