Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Make a SFG grid Toplef10Make a SFG grid 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.

Make a SFG grid I22gcj10Make a SFG grid 14dhcg10

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Make a SFG grid

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Post  rbarna 2/13/2021, 9:56 am

Hello,
I am brand new to SGF - my first season coming up! I'm so excited! I don't want to nail the grid into the garden box since I want to store the grid for the winter. 
Any suggestions on how to secure the grid without a hammer and nail? Thank you!
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Post  OhioGardener 2/13/2021, 10:58 am

Rbarna, I made a portable grid to use on my beds, which allows me to lay the grid on top of the bed for planting, and then store away after the bed is planted. I just used 1" wide plastic moulding from Lowe's with pan head screws at the folding points.

This is the grid open and laying on the bed for planting.
Make a SFG grid Grid_o10

This is the grid folded and ready for storage.
Make a SFG grid Grid_c10

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Post  rbarna 2/13/2021, 11:54 am

Thank you for sharing! Do you get a lot of winds? Our area gets high winds during some storms. I thought about laying the grid on top of the box, but concerned it would blow off. Thank you for replying!
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Post  OhioGardener 2/13/2021, 12:02 pm

@rbarna wrote:Thank you for sharing! Do you get a lot of winds? Our area gets high winds during some storms. I thought about laying the grid on top of the box, but concerned it would blow off. Thank you for replying!

Yes, we get very high winds, often 40 to 50 mph, especially in the spring during tornado season.  I only lay the grid on the bed for the purpose of planting either seeds or plants, and then remove it and store it in the garage, so it is never left laying on the bed. It would not stay there during high winds since it is very light weight.

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Post  rbarna 2/13/2021, 4:49 pm

Oh!!! That clears up a LOT of things. I thought the grid was left on the box for the entire growing season. Thank you SO much!
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Post  yolos 2/14/2021, 1:46 pm

@rbarna wrote:Oh!!! That clears up a LOT of things. I thought the grid was left on the box for the entire growing season. Thank you SO much!
A lot of gardeners leave it on all season.  I used to use very strong string to make my grids and just replaced them when the string deteriorated.  Now I do not use grids I just mark the 1 foot increments on the wooden sides and I use these to measure the planting.  Here is a picture of one 4 x 4 bed that I used string as a grid.
Make a SFG grid 4_x_4_10
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Post  rbarna 2/14/2021, 2:34 pm

Thank you! This is starting to make much more sense to me now. What is the advantage of keeping the string or the grid on the box for the entire growing season?
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Post  Mikesgardn 2/14/2021, 6:57 pm

@rbarna wrote:Thank you! This is starting to make much more sense to me now. What is the advantage of keeping the string or the grid on the box for the entire growing season?
Well, Mel Barthomew was a civil engineer like myself.  We like order. Smile
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Post  rbarna 2/14/2021, 9:14 pm

Thank you! Guess I'll learn some order! Very Happy
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Post  markqz 2/14/2021, 10:19 pm

There was an older forum that someone pointed out where Mel used to respond to questions. My take-away was that Mel considered the grid to be nearly essential in order for a garden to be considered an SFG. He was reluctantly considering other materials for the grids, but definitely didn't approve of string because it rapidly becomes unattractive.

My own feeling is that the lattice as described in the book is overkill, with 27 pieces of fasteners per garden. Also, bugs and slugs can hide beneath the laths. I like this green clothesline, which is attractive, I think, and is essentially self-cleaning, doesn't discolor, stores in a small box, and should last for years.

Make a SFG grid Green-everbilt-clotheslines-65025-64_1000
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Post  rbarna 2/14/2021, 10:55 pm

Thank you for that idea about the clothes line!  I like that and it makes sense that the critters would hide underneath the wood grid. I was concerned about the grid becoming wet and ugly. Last thing I want for my plants. Definitely putting the clothes line on the list. I am beginning to feel less intimidated by this project! How did you secure the clothes line so that it didn't sag? Thank you everyone!
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Post  markqz 2/15/2021, 10:06 am

@rbarna wrote: How did you secure the clothes line so that it didn't sag? Thank you everyone!

Washers (3/4 inch) and the same patio nails (screws) I had purchased for the laths. The nails are more like screws and can be turned out or tightened as needed. Just be sure to put enough line around the end, about an extra inch, running it under the washer clockwise. Then as you drill down the line tightens. You may have to tighten up the cord once a season, if you want it to look tight. My mistake on one box was to not use enough line to run around the screw, and they loosen up quicker.

You can reverse drill the nails on one end of the line and flip it out when you want to have unobstructed access to the box.
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Post  rbarna 2/15/2021, 6:18 pm

Got it! Thanks! I am feeling a lot more confident about this project! Now I'll start to plan my gardens!
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Make a SFG grid Empty I use nails and cotton string.

Post  AtlantaTerry 2/27/2021, 12:49 am

I went to one of the big box home improvement stores and bought a bunch of really L-O-N-G large galvanized nails. I used my thumb to stick them into the perimeter of my SFG at 1 foot intervals. Being galvanized, they are not going to rust so will last for many years.

Then every spring, I tie white cotton string onto the heads of the nails and pull the string across to the opposite corresponding nail and secure it there as well. In doing so, I quickly form a grid. Because the nails are long, they do not pull out as shorter ones would.

During the season, the cotton string succumbs to UV light, rain, etc. and returns to the soil.
 
If you wanted to, I suppose you could use clothes line, rope, wire, or anything else available.

Terry Thomas
Brookhaven Gardens
Atlanta, Georgia USA
USDA Zone 7B
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Post  crankyoldman 2/27/2021, 10:39 am

I chose a simple grid, string. When I retired I was left with a 2500 foot roll of electrical pull string, I use the string to mark out the grid. I used roofing nails in the edges of the beds to guide the string around. Simple but effective and the string does not interfere with the growth of plants. If the grid gets damaged it is simple to repair or replace even if the beds are full of growing plants.
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Post  markqz 2/27/2021, 10:25 pm

"Whoa. NO no NO.
Where did you ever read or hear that you could use string? Let me give you a little history: the original book, 1981, that was 30 years ago, said you could use string to make your grids. But then we found out that string sags, gets dirty, breaks easily, and just doesn’t look very good. So the ALL NEW book (2007) said, DO NOT USE STRING! We have found that people that do use string, as soon as it breaks or gets dirty, don’t replace it and then they don’t really have a Square Foot Garden. Believe it or not, they actually start planting rows in thier Square Foot box. Do not be one of those people or we will come and get you.

(Mel Bartholomew, Feb. 9, 2013, Archived at the Wayback Machine)
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Post  sanderson 3/8/2021, 4:04 am

Using durable grids is really the best way to go, says the woman with both durable grids and string grids.  Embarassed  

I really like the newer PVC composite screen lathing from Home Depot.  This photo was taken at night with just the white Christmas lights.
Make a SFG grid Garden87

This photo shows the both the original wood screen lathing and the newer PVC composite lathing from Home Depot.  After 5-7 years, the wood ones started breaking down and were replaced with the PVC ones. Make a SFG grid Garden88

I still have 3 newer beds with string wrapped serpentine style around round-headed screws.  To clean and amend the beds, I undo the string and flip the drip irrigation out, and restring in a minute or so when done.
Make a SFG grid Grids_16

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Post  Xtin 3/26/2021, 10:15 pm

The PVC composite lathing from Home Depot option looks great. How did you cut it? Do you know what kind of hardware you used to connect them?
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Post  jimmy cee 3/26/2021, 10:52 pm

in My previous beds I used white plastic clothesline. It was inexpensive, easy to work with and replace in needed, flexible, stayed clean. and long lasting....Make a SFG grid Spring10
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Post  sanderson 3/29/2021, 12:48 am

Xtin, #10 machine screws with nuts.

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Post  GardenFairy 4/5/2021, 10:12 am

@rbarna wrote:Oh!!! That clears up a LOT of things. I thought the grid was left on the box for the entire growing season. Thank you SO much!
My grids are from thin strips of wood that are screwed together. They lay on top of the box and even hit two of the boards to hold them above the dirt. I just leave them even though I live a short distance from the water. We often have wind and so far I haven't had any trouble with them moving around or blowing away. You might be alright either way.
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