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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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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Post  Cherbear 6/8/2017, 10:15 am

My SFG boxes are rotting. They are getting punky inside, and crumbling. Should I replace them this year? I didn't paint them or anything and they are plain pine. I think.


Last edited by Cherbear on 6/8/2017, 10:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post  trolleydriver 6/8/2017, 10:30 am

Cherbear wrote:My SFG boxes are rotting. They are getting punky inside, and crumbling. Should I replace them this year? I didn't paint them or anything and they are plain pine. I think.
How old are they and how badly have they rotted?  If it is only on the inside and they are not painted (as you say), then I don't think you need to replace them right away unless you think they will break and the MM will spill out. Do you already have the boxes planted?  If so you may want to wait and replace them in the Fall or next Spring. Otherwise you can do it now.  I use softwood lumber for my boxes as well and expect to have to replace them every few years.
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Post  Cherbear 6/8/2017, 10:49 am

Thank you trolleydriver! It is mostly on the inside. They aren't planted yet, but I think the season is moving along so I'd like to put something in them. I guess I will replace them in the fall.
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Post  trolleydriver 6/8/2017, 10:51 am

Cherbear wrote:Thank you trolleydriver! It is mostly on the inside. They aren't planted yet, but I think the season is moving along so I'd like to put something in them. I guess I will replace them in the fall.
That is what I would do. You can even wait until next Spring which will give the new wood some extra life.
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Post  sanderson 6/9/2017, 3:13 pm

Cherbear, You don't have to replace them until they start to fall apart, that is, when the screws fail.

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Post  Turan 6/9/2017, 3:46 pm

And even when the screws fail you can get one more season by driving a few stakes in along the outside walls to hold it all together. A cloth bag being used to grow in for a season demonstrates just how little structure the beds need to provide. Just don't step on the side walls. Laughing

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Post  Cajun Cappy 6/9/2017, 3:59 pm

We been squarefoot gardening (sorta) for 17years now.  We have replaced one box the original and will replace the next one in the spring.  One thing we learned that helps is to buy those corner screw brackets at a hardware store.  We put them on top and on bottom of the 2x12 boards we use WE put 3 3inch screws in each corner then the straps on to[p and bottom using 1 1/2 inch screws on top bottom and both sides.  Sounds like over kill I know but the corners are always the forst to go and those corner straps really help
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Post  camprn 6/9/2017, 4:39 pm

Yes, time to replace them. I have to do the same.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 6/9/2017, 6:17 pm

If they are holding the MM, I would go ahead and plant!  I have some really old window boxes that I am re-purposive to SFG, and they are pinky and sort of unstable, but still holding together, and they are planted!  I actually like their dimensions, not their location, which it too wet.  I say PLANT AWAY!!!!  

I would wait to build new until Spring, that way the box doesn't have to weather the winter.
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Post  Judy McConnell 6/11/2017, 9:38 am

Turan - I'm with you.  Have several that are OLD and the sides and corners were bad. Using metal rods along the sides to hold the boards up (some "soil" needed put back into beds), I added wooden stakes to the corners to hold in the "soil" - these beds will work this summer but next spring - who knows!  Would love to get one more year from them but this might not work!
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Post  ctrysg 6/12/2017, 6:09 am

Great ideas on staking and corner brackets. I have a few brackets that haven't been used yet. For what it's worth I prefer 2" cedar-  3 years and no  corners coming apart . A slight bit of crusty edges at the bottom  that's completely in the dirt.  I'm expecting a good six years from mine.  Hope that  helps somebody.
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Post  SQWIB 6/30/2017, 9:51 am

I used coated and Galvanized screws and hardware

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Tops are capped and uprights are added, the corner uprights are screwed into each other so if the corners rot at the hardware, the corner uprights will help keep them together

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Post  AtlantaMarie 6/30/2017, 1:29 pm

SQWIB, I LOVE your boxes!!! Those are gorgeous!!

Are the drawer pulls functional or just decorative?
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Post  SQWIB 6/30/2017, 2:27 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:SQWIB, I LOVE your boxes!!!  Those are gorgeous!!

Are the drawer pulls functional or just decorative?


LOL, That is awesome, they do look like drawer pulls but they are in fact low voltage lighting.


Moonrays Low Voltage Lighting


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Post  trolleydriver 6/30/2017, 2:31 pm

SQWIB wrote:
AtlantaMarie wrote:SQWIB, I LOVE your boxes!!!  Those are gorgeous!!

Are the drawer pulls functional or just decorative?


LOL, That is awesome, they do look like drawer pulls but they are in fact low voltage lighting.


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Beautiful SQWIB. Work of art. Would win a top prize in any SFG bed contest.
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Post  SQWIB 6/30/2017, 2:48 pm

trolleydriver wrote:
SQWIB wrote:
AtlantaMarie wrote:SQWIB, I LOVE your boxes!!!  Those are gorgeous!!

Are the drawer pulls functional or just decorative?


LOL, That is awesome, they do look like drawer pulls but they are in fact low voltage lighting.


Moonrays Low Voltage Lighting


boxes falling apart 27881196101_44670d1d90_b

Beautiful SQWIB. Work of art. Would win a top prize in any SFG bed contest.

Thank you kindly.
But I would be disqualified as they are Hugel beds.

Sorry for the hijack


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Post  sanderson 7/1/2017, 2:04 am

Work of art. boxes falling apart 3170584802

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Post  AtlantaTerry 7/15/2017, 12:13 am

Cherbear wrote:My SFG boxes are rotting. They are getting punky inside, and crumbling. Should I replace them this year? I didn't paint them or anything and they are plain pine. I think.

This is exactly why I never use wood. I create the perimeter of each SFG with cinder (cement) blocks. They can be found at any supplier of building products; I get mine at Home Depot and Lowe's.

I place them in rows on the ground with their holes facing up to create a 2x8 SFG grid. In a few of the upward facing holes, I grow Marigolds to help ward off some bugs. In the rest of the holes, I grow garlic, herbs, chives, onions, etc.

In order to keep the perimeter of blocks stable, I pound in rebar or pointed steel bars every couple feet. If you plan ahead, you can put hoops over the rebar from which to suspend fabric or netting.


Last edited by AtlantaTerry on 7/15/2017, 12:17 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Cleaning up my prose.)
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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/15/2017, 8:02 am

I'll either do that or poured concrete IF I don't raise them (the next time I need boxes)...
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