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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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Hello From Pennsylvania Toplef10Hello From Pennsylvania 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.

Hello From Pennsylvania I22gcj10Hello From Pennsylvania 14dhcg10

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Hello From Pennsylvania

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Too Tall Tomatoes
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Hello From Pennsylvania Empty Hello From Pennsylvania

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 10/24/2011, 9:12 am

Hello Everybody. I've been lurking around here for a few weeks now and I finally decided to sign up.

I've been very interested in gardening since 2003. Since I moved back home to take care of my Mom, I do the majority of the gardening......she points, I dig. LOL. Anyway, back in July of this year, there was an article in my local newspaper about a man who grows tomato plants. They were 7 1/2 feet tall and there were pictures to prove it. In one of the pictures, he was standing on a step ladder to be able to reach the tops. I thought if he can do that, I can do that.

Shortly after that I decided to have a compost pile. Knowing nothing about composting, I did my research on the internet and that's when I came across this website. The more I was on here, the more that the concept of SFG appealed to me. I know that many of you will probably tell me to get Mel's latest book. Before I actually make the commitment to make a SFG and buy the book, I do have some questions.
If I understand the concept of SFG correctly, the SFG box(or boxes) sit on top of the existing lawn and no deep tilling is necessary. How can that work? I always thought that veggies need a deep root system. How can they grow when the roots can't go down more than just a few inches? Is it maybe the makeup of the MM that's in the boxes?
I'm a little hesitant to build boxes because when it comes to using tools, I'm an idiot.
Too Tall Tomatoes
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Post  camprn 10/24/2011, 10:57 am

GREETINGS and Hello From Pennsylvania 396615 to the SFG Forum!!!
Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:I know that many of you will probably tell me to get Mel's latest book.
Oh yes! This is actually the best advice. A lot of your questions will be answered in the book. You may actually have a copy available at your local library.

Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
If I understand the concept of SFG correctly, the SFG box(or boxes) sit on top of the existing lawn and no deep tilling is necessary. How can that work?
Yes, it's true. The only plants that may need deeper growing space, is any plant that has a tap root, carrots, parsnips and potatoes.

Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
I always thought that veggies need a deep root system. How can they grow when the roots can't go down more than just a few inches?
It is actually how you were taught, the images we see of farmers plowing and tilling. Row gardeners double digging. Mostly all these activities are required to loosen the dirt and add in organic matter for the plants you want to grow, not because the roots go that deep.

Too Tall Tomatoes wrote: Is it maybe the makeup of the MM that's in the boxes?
This is the main point, the fundamental component of the SFG model is the soil less Mel's Mix. This is why you don't have to go through the back breaking work of busting up the dirt then conditioning the dirt.
This is a great thread that you may find beneficial.
How Strong Is Your Backbone? <~~~ click

Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
I'm a little hesitant to build boxes because when it comes to using tools, I'm an idiot.
Call a friend, a neighbor, a boy scout, there's bound to be someone to help you. I have found pre-made boxes at a local machinist shop; machine parts are shipped in the wooden crates.

Good luck and please feel free to ask questions. But I do strongly encourage you to read the book first. Cheers!

PS: My tomatoes only got to 9 foot tall this year. Very Happy

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  southern gardener 10/24/2011, 11:26 am

building the boxes is easy! get 2 2"x6"x8' boards. Cut each one in half. You now have 4 4' boards. Nail them together to make a square. that's it!!
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 10/24/2011, 12:17 pm

I guess building a box isn't as difficult as I think......that's just the "tool idiot" in me talking.

Maybe it's a problem but where I want to put the SFG, the grass is slightly uneven. There's a very gradual slope. Would it be a good idea to level the area out? I will take a picture later on today and I'll post it so you guys and girls know what I'm talking about.

The closest library to me is about a half hour away. The bookstore is about 45 minutes away. I'll probably just wind up buying the book.

9ft tall tomatoes camprn?? lol! ..now I'm really jealous
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Post  squaredeal 10/24/2011, 12:42 pm

Roots don't necessarily go straight down. When I pulled my tomatoes and cukes I was surprised to find a very long tap root which took a "left turn" when it reached the weed barrier. I had great cukes, and, after the heat broke, great toms.
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Post  gwennifer 10/24/2011, 1:14 pm

Hello there and welcome!!!

If you don't want to use tools, build them with cinder blocks. Or, if you aren't trying to go as cheaply as possible, then simply buy a pre-made box somewhere. Just about everywhere sells raised garden beds nowadays. Is craigslist active in your area? That's a great resource for materials and labor.

Mel's book also covers placing boxes on a slope (yes, you'd want to dig into the hill side some to create a level space for the box - the result is really pretty, actually).

And Mel explains that plants only need to send roots deeper into the soil because they are looking for nutrients. If you provide them all the nutrients they need, 6" is fine. As others have noted, they can send their roots laterally if they want to spread out some more.

You can buy just the book here on Amazon.com with free shipping if you're a Prime member, or get free shipping if you buy enough eligible items to get up to a $25 order. Or, on the same website, pay a little less for a version you can read instanly on your computer! Also on the same website, you'll see a link where you can read the first chapter for free!

Glad you stopped lurking and joined in on the fun! I love it here!
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Post  Kelejan 10/24/2011, 2:21 pm

southern gardener wrote:building the boxes is easy! get 2 2"x6"x8' boards. Cut each one in half. You now have 4 4' boards. Nail them together to make a square. that's it!!

Too Tall, if you can't make the boxes I can make them for you for FREE. Just send me the air fair to Pennsylvania.

For some reason no one has taken me up on my offer, but I do have an invite to visit and give a hand to one of our members in case I am ever passing that way.Very Happy

Seriously, as southern gardener says, it's easy and I agree. The plants won't care how expertly you make them or how pretty, they just need MM.

Anyway, Hello From Pennsylvania 396615 Too Tall.
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Post  boffer 10/24/2011, 2:36 pm

Kelejan wrote:Too Tall, if you can't make the boxes I can make them for you for FREE. Just send me the air fair to Pennsylvania.

Too Tall, if you don't want to get dirty making your Mel's Mix, I will personally deliver, and you can have, my high quality 6 blend compost Mel's Mix for FREE. Just send me the air fare to PA. lol!

glad you\'re here

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Post  Kelejan 10/24/2011, 3:16 pm

Darn. Outbid. Sad



Just a minute, does that include making the boxes?
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 10/24/2011, 3:29 pm

Tell you what.....

In addition to supplying the airfare, I'll provide you guys the food and beer too. lol!

I took some pictures of the area I'm talking about and you'll be able to see where I want to put the SFG boxes. I'll post them tonight. Do I need to put my pictures on a website like photobucket?


Last edited by Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/24/2011, 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added more info)
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Post  boffer 10/24/2011, 4:34 pm

Kelejan wrote:Darn. Outbid. Sad
Just a minute, does that include making the boxes?

Oh no. I don't work that cheap! The boxes are yours. Very Happy Now if somebody can make and deliver, for FREE air fare, custom, one of a kind grids, we can have a party in PA. In eastern PA, would that be a pawty?

I took some pictures of the area I'm talking about and you'll be able to see where I want to put the SFG boxes. I'll post them tonight. Do I need to put my pictures on a website like photobucket?
A photo hosting website is an option.

But the forum does have it's own hosting site; directions are here:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t129-how-to-post-a-picture-located-on-your-computer
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 10/24/2011, 6:26 pm

Party in PA! Hello From Pennsylvania 53366 Hello From Pennsylvania 53366 Hello From Pennsylvania 53366

I'll get those pictures posted by this evening. I got some chores to do before I'm back online
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 10/24/2011, 7:45 pm

Thanks for the posting info Boffer.
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