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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS  Toplef10GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS  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.

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GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS

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GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS  Empty GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS

Post  Fishtell 3/11/2021, 1:09 am

Thanks to you all who responded to my previous posts; its appreciated.  Its my first time ever building any kind of garden.  

 I'm considering two grid designs  
 
     1.  grid screwed to tops of  cedar  2x6 boards  


     2.   Grids lay'd inside , up against the 2x6 cedar boards and sitting on top of the MM 


Questions/Comments: 
      *  Which method would be easiest to measure how much the compost reduction has lowered the level of the MM?  
      *  Are there any advantages or disadvagabes to either design.   

Thanks, 
Alan from Asheville, N.C.
Fishtell
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Post  markqz 3/11/2021, 10:04 am

Fishtell wrote:
     1.  grid screwed to tops of  cedar  2x6 boards  


     2.   Grids lay'd inside , up against the 2x6 cedar boards and sitting on top of the MM 
Grid on top is the traditional way, and some people  think it looks best. In my admittedly limited experience, having the grids on the surface might provide a hiding place for earwigs and other crawly things. Some people use grids on the surface while laying out their garden and then remove them once the plants start growing. I kind of like the look and utility of green clothesline -- self cleaning, blends in with the plants, and doesn't provide a hiding place for bugs.

If you're really concerned about the soil level ... and I'm not sure why ... then maybe use a grease pen and mark the level all along an inside edge. You could even annotate it with a date. Sort of like those wall charts we've all used in raising children, only in reverse.
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Post  Fishtell 3/11/2021, 10:37 am

Mark,
As as reminder... this is my first garden ever...  
My thoughts are to keep the 1/3 , 1/3 1/3 formula intact..... or do I really have to worry about that? 

Re: my concerns about the height of  what's in the bed and under the grids.... the SFG book says we should keep adding compost as we harvest the veggies... the book says the veggies keep using up the compost and compost is what has to be constantly replaced as needed.   My thought was if the top 6" of MM will be reduced by the amount of the Compost reduction by the normal growing of veggies, how do I know how much compost to add back.   Don't want to add too much or too little.   

The issue is does it make any sense to come up with a practical way to measure exactly how much the Mel's mix level (Compost) has been reduced in each box and add the compost in as needed.  

But that said... if I keep adding compost in as I see the level in the box has been lowered,  don't I have to make sure that the compost gets mixed in well with what's left of the existing compost ,  Vermiculite and Pete Moss and hope that the 1/3 formula stays intact ?   

I just thought of an idea: 
     1. Rest the grids on top of the MM, 
     2. Put mark of the grids height at start 
     3. Put a bubble level on the grid to make sure it's level
     4. Keep adding Compost as plants are harvested and keep a watch on the height of the grid. 
     5. If I'm guessing accurately on how much Compost to add back, the level of the grids will not change.  

Or am I over thinking this all and does it matter how much mulch I keep adding or don't add

Alan from Asheville
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Post  markqz 3/11/2021, 12:27 pm

Fishtell wrote:
As as reminder... this is my first garden ever...  
My thoughts are to keep the 1/3 , 1/3 1/3 formula intact..... or do I really have to worry about that? 
Hi Alan!   I've only been gardening the SFG way for 2.5 years now. But I've been learning a lot from others in this forum.

Um, I think maybe you're over-thinking this a bit. MM is a magic formula, but maybe not that magic. There has to be a little deviance from 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 because people are going to have compost with different levels of fluffiness and moisture. Remember that over time only the organic parts of MM are going to break down. The vermiculite will last forever. So by adding compost you'll effectively be restoring the original mix to something close to the original. If I were to speculate, I'd say it's the breakdown of the peat that puts an upper limit on the life of your MM.

Should you put the compost on top, or mix it in? If you follow Mel's steps for starting plants, and conserving seeds, then you'll be mostly transplanting. So it shouldn't matter too much whether the compost is on top or mixed in. By not mixing, you preserve the structure and microbes of the existing MM. But I don't think it's a hard science. Try it both ways and report back! GRID , DESIGN OPTIONS  1f60e

Re preserving the original mix. I've noticed that I often have leftover MM when first planting. If you set some aside, then when you refill a divot, you'll be replacing the hole with the perfect mix. But usually what I've been doing is to use a soil knife to cut out the plant. Then I whop (technical term) the root end with the back of the soil knife to dislodge any remaining MM back into the planter. So very little MM is lost.
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