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 RichenLosAngeles
Joined: 11/14/2010
Msg: 1
Square foot gardeningPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I have a good back yard that I want to convert from grass(not THAT kind) to food. Are there any container garden gurus out there?
What kind of materials did you build your boxes with, so avoid rot? I want to put mine on legs, maybe 3' , so I don't have to bend down.
What do you use for bottom material? wood, or maybe plastic?
 RichenLosAngeles
Joined: 11/14/2010
Msg: 2
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 1:15:31 PM
Yeah, my next-door neighbor lady has some sewed-up thingy that's like a shoe organizer, that hangs on a fence or wall. It has a bunch of compartments laid out vertically, and she grows strawberries, it's a cool thing because it takes no space.
I have never seen those for sale in L.A., I think I saw it in some online gardening company.
 Molly Maude
Joined: 9/11/2008
Msg: 3
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History
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 2:33:06 PM
my father-in-law was a carpenter so, of course, he made my boxed gardens of redwood ... huge big boxes on feet ... they drained into the existing soil ... the tops of the boxes were almost waist height so there was no stooping or bending involved ... I planted artichokes and they were so beautiful that I let them go on to become purple flowers instead of eating them!

our back yard was terraced ... the farther out levels were almost waist height ... he remembered to build wide enough walkways so that we could easily harvest ... it was really beautiful but, of course, the people we sold the house to inherited his work ...
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 4
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 2:35:04 PM
If you are referring to a raised bed, then I can't help you. I lack construction skills. If you want to know about container gardening or vertical gardening... then PM me. I'm a bit of a guru on this stuff.

Shoe organizer for herbs...

http://greenupgrader.com/8460/diy-vertical-herb-garden-with-a-shoe-organizer/
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 5
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 2:41:58 PM
Raised bed with concrete cinder blocks....

http://gardeningrevolution.com/index.html

Check out the photo gallery. This is my version of garden porn. LOL
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 6
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 2:49:04 PM
Cattle panel trellis...

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2879/

==========

http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Winter20082009/TomatoTrellis/tabid/1019/Default.aspx

Scroll down to the last pic. Shows just how easy harvesting is, plus it keeps the pickens off the ground, therefore less contaminated and less disease problems.
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 7
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 2:58:07 PM
Space saving VERTICAL growing....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjY3C81zSZM&feature=related

http://www.spacemagicgarden.co.uk/pages/planters.html

http://www.brucepostco.com/tower.html

http://www.superplanters.co.nz/

http://growpots.com/

http://www.gardensupplyinc.com/pictures.asp

http://www.stackandgrowplanters.com/features.htm

http://www.livingwallart.com/making-living-wall-art/a-german-vertical-garden-system/

I've got more links, but this is a start... just remember that many planters advertised as "strawberry planters" are because strawberry's have shallow root systems. So do most salad greens and onions. If you have construction skills, many of these can be a great DIY project.

Gutter garden for shallow roots....

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/gardening/gutter-garden-growing-your-food-in-a-small-spacejuneau-empire-083350
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 8
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 3:35:08 PM
How about a bunch of plastic bins on a table? You can get shallow 10 gallon bins cheap. But they are going to be HEAVY! Being able to support the weight is another matter. Just need to drill some drainage holes.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 9
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History
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/26/2011 9:50:23 PM
It depends on what you're growing. Tomatoes have deep roots-you need two feet of depth, and more is better. Twenty-gallon trash cans work well. I've had great luck with peppers in 5 to 7-gallon plastic nursery containers, and I've also grown some of the compact squash and cucumber varieties in 7-gallons. Most of the expense is in potting soil. I've found the Kellogg's with the bat guano and worm castings is the best, and it guarantees you lots of earthworms. Don't even think about using any regular dirt in containers, and make sure they drain really well.

The biggest concern is getting as much sun as possible--preferably from sunrise to sunset, with nothing shading the plants. It's late this year to start summer stuff. You might want to wait until October and grow the cool-season things like peas, beets, lettuces, cabbages, kohlrabi, etc. If you get the soil and the sun right, and use the right fertilizer, you can't miss. The Lilly Miller pelletized stuff for vegetables is a good one.
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 10
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/27/2011 8:07:48 AM
I notice you are from California. I could be wrong, so maybe other CA gardeners can chime in, BUT...

If you do decide to use containers, it is my understanding that with your CA sun, you will want to AVOID black/dark containers. Black absorbs heat and you will cook the roots.

Get white containers because the white will reflect the rays. Terra Cotta might be OK.

Hopefully other sunny south California gardeners can chime in on this one.

(Maybe using black containers during the winter months and white containers during the summer months could be a prime combination?)
 Bladesmith81801
Joined: 10/30/2010
Msg: 11
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/27/2011 11:00:25 AM
Sighs, I'm stuck in this apartment with this dinky 5x5 patio. Thanks to my ex, I'm addicted to gardening, so I had to grow something. Especially for my daughter, who at 6 loves to grow things.

I filled my patio with large size Tupperware containers, and they yielded a bumper crop of Roma tomatos, banana and bell peppers, jalapenos (Ok, so I like peppers, sue me.) lettuce and blackberries and strawberries.

A couple of holes for drainage, the right soil mixture and a regular dosing of plant food (The watering washed out the minerals and stuff in the potting soil.), and you can grow almost anything.

The only problem is the containers tend to brak down after 2-4 seasons, depending on the sunlight.
 123Enigma
Joined: 7/22/2011
Msg: 12
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/27/2011 3:21:33 PM
Because you live in such a dry climate, you will want to have plenty of peat moss added to your garden (whether it be in-ground or containers)....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum

This is used as a soil conditioner which increases the soil's capacity to HOLD WATER and nutrients by increasing capillary forces and cation exchange capacity (CEC). This is often necessary when dealing with very sandy soil, or plants that need an increased moisture content to flourish.
----------------

Also, just google.... peat moss for holding moisture.... that will give you plenty of links.
 GrandmaBooBoo
Joined: 12/30/2006
Msg: 13
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Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/27/2011 3:51:50 PM
I've never done "container gardening" but have tried the verticle gardening techniques though and enjoyed the results. The first time I tried it I was rather concerned that heavy veggies.....like cucumbers, zuchini etc would pull my wire fencing down or the weight of the veggie would cause it to come off the vine prematurely. I had no problems though and it is nice to not have to be bent over digging through vines to find your produce.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 14
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Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/27/2011 5:14:50 PM

it is my understanding that with your CA sun, you will want to AVOID black/dark containers. Black absorbs heat and you will cook the roots.


I guess that's possible, but I've never had any problem with it. In fact, when I grew melons I put down black plastic on the hills to make the root zone warmer. With a lot of steer manure in the soil, it got warmer still--some chemical reaction, apparently. And the melons grew like crazy.
 Natgoat
Joined: 3/24/2011
Msg: 15
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/28/2011 9:12:39 AM
I started my tomatoes in small containers...Egg-cartons worked well, but got soggy after a few waterings, but for sproutlings...were easy to transplant out-of...
I graduated up to coffee cans...then to Cat-litter-buckets.
They're quite sturdy and didn't decompose as fast as thinner ones in sunlight!
I just started my 'fall-crop' in washed-out 2-litre soda bottles...
They're on a homemade plywood table...attached to a southern-exposed window sill...
(With a small fence around it... to keep the cats from jumping up on it...)
 RichenLosAngeles
Joined: 11/14/2010
Msg: 16
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/31/2011 10:45:58 AM
Hey everybody - Good News !!
We're expecting!!
I took a look the other day, and my baby avocado tree has 2 fruits, about half-size now. Isn't that great?
I do have a long wall with excellent sun exposure, so a vertical planter array would be good there.
And I have a medium-sized square of grass that I want to use for above-ground boxes.
Stay tuned,,,
 jmark4
Joined: 7/3/2011
Msg: 17
Square foot gardening
Posted: 8/31/2011 11:50:24 PM
in california we use our yards; my uncle even used his front yard to grow things.

For what you want, you can use redwood and then treat it so it is safe from water/rain, wind. Then use thick plastic and then fill it with soil.

One thing that even chef Jaime Oliver does; we've done and it works great. Is take a great potato; like yukon gold; let it site until eyes start growing.

Put soil in a plastic garbage can. Within about 6-8 weeks you will see small plants growing. Every time you see them peaking out you put more soil in. The potato plant wants to get to the sun so you are tricking it to grow more. We've gotten 30-40 pounds of potatoes; it's amazing. Potatoes are hearty too.

good luck; hope it all works out
 Natgoat
Joined: 3/24/2011
Msg: 18
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/8/2011 6:50:29 AM
I now have 11 new 'sproutlings'..!!
I'm really hopeful, that if I give them plenty of root -room (depth) they may do better than the summer crop!!
 pinkoleander
Joined: 8/16/2011
Msg: 19
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/9/2011 12:28:28 PM
My neighbor just gave me a bag of grapefruit. His citrus is delicious-especially his tangelos. This is OT I realize. Let us know what you plant. Never tried containers for veggies.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 20
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History
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/9/2011 4:36:32 PM
I used to get containers made out of pressed paper pulp. They were cheap, drained very well, kept the soil warm, and lasted at least two seasons. There were great for peppers, bush-type cukes and squashes, and the smaller tomato plants. But they seem to have disappeared.
 kari135
Joined: 9/1/2009
Msg: 21
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Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/9/2011 6:46:53 PM

The only problem is the containers tend to brak down after 2-4 seasons, depending on the sunlight.

Try garage sales, thrift shops, dollar stores, etc. Lots of used plastic things that don't have lids for very cheap. I've used everything from 5 gallon buckets on down, all food safe but recycled. Just be careful to keep your potting soil and not lose it when the containers start to degrade.

For anyone who has enough room, old tires work great, too. You can stack them in staggered rows, fill with dirt, and plant a fence. Or stack them to make a big strawberry bed. I had dozens in Alaska, the black rubber warmed up fast. In the south, you'd want to whitewash them, though.
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 22
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/9/2011 9:59:44 PM

I took a look the other day, and my baby avocado tree has 2 fruits, about half-size now. Isn't that great?

Yes it is great
Is it in a container? Guess it doesnt have to be since its a tree and wouldn't require bending to harvest.
How long has it taken to bear fruit?
What is the predicted size of the tree and the fruit after a few years?

Love the idea of a no bending garden unfortunately it has only been as an idea
 EastTexasMan65
Joined: 2/9/2011
Msg: 23
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Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:33:35 PM
Over the past years ( not this year) I have grown tomato plants, onions a.nd other.
I have 2 pear trees. and other fruit trees.
My orange tree died.

But the food bought in the store is cheaper than what I grow.
 RichenLosAngeles
Joined: 11/14/2010
Msg: 24
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/21/2011 12:51:24 PM
Today I spied an old wooden table at the curb for garbage pickup, and I stopped to look. The table top was of no value, but the four legs were just what I need to build my first waist-height planter section. I twisted it apart, and off they came with little effort. I can make a sweet 2X4 planter, to hold 8 planting squares. Now I need some planks for the sides, and a plywood bottom. I have time, because we're off-season anyway.
Easttexas, I'm a bit jealous, I can't grow apples or pears here because it's too warm and low. I may go for a Fuyu persimmon, which I adore.
My avocado tree is now about 6X6, it can grow to 15X20, but I don't think it has enough space to max out.
I learned something interesting today about avocados: The Hass(rough-skin) was originally planted 3 rows to 1 row of Fuerte(smooth-skin) for purposes of germination, then the Fuerte fruits were thrown away, until farmers were bothered by the lost revenue from the less-desired Fuerte fruits, so they invented "guacamole" to make use of the watery avocados, which became a huge success.....
 SpringsDiver
Joined: 7/2/2011
Msg: 25
Square foot gardening
Posted: 9/22/2011 10:47:59 PM
My containers are built of southern pine, and will likely only last a couple of years. I understand Cypress wood is a good choice, but it is pricy, and redwood is even more so. The expense of the soil, as mentioned by a previous poster, is indeed something to consider. I went to a nursery and bought some by the truckload, and it seems to be working well.



It depends on what you're growing. Tomatoes have deep roots-you need two feet of depth, and more is better. Twenty-gallon trash cans work well. I've had great luck with peppers in 5 to 7-gallon plastic nursery containers, and I've also grown some of the compact squash and cucumber varieties in 7-gallons. Most of the expense is in potting soil. I've found the Kellogg's with the bat guano and worm castings is the best, and it guarantees you lots of earthworms. Don't even think about using any regular dirt in containers, and make sure they drain really well.


Thank you for this great information!
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