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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
~SFG is something I've wanted to do for almost 10 years but the costs involved in the start-up scared me. This post will probably scare you all too. :crackup:
This year I decided I was going to make the investment and not freak out about how much it cost. It's an investment.

Compost: $35
Vermiculite: $89
Peat Moss: $9
Lumber: $36.50
Hardware:$9
Weed cloth: $20
=$198.50 for 3 4X4 beds

If I can get each square in my garden to produce $5 worth of produce I will come out ahead this year. ;)
I have my own compost going now and I have plenty of seeds so the next 10 years of gardening should be free or nearly free.
My beds look so awesome that I'm really annoyed I waited so long to do this.
Lettuce, peas and spinach will be planted tomorrow. Green beans, sunflowers, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, dill and chives will follow in a couple of weeks.
I'd love tips from anyone who uses this method!~
 

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Gardening can be a serious investment. But the feeling you get when it pays off is priceless :) There are ways to cut costs as well. Check into Lasagna Gardening - it takes more time to build the soil up this way, but you can incorperate the two methods very nicely.
Also, look on your local Free Cycle and Craigs List for discarded lumber and supplies to build the beds with. Just make sure not to take any treated lumber.
You can also easily/cheaply turn a raised bed into a cold frame to stretch a few extra months from your garden. This year, we're making arches with PVC pipe and covering it with heavy clear plastic.
Good luck and enjoy!
 

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Hi nuisance;
I'm going to try this for the first time this year; maybe we can use this thread to discuss our findings. Just for your info if you will need it; I had a really hard time finding coarse vermiculate. I finally found it at a place that does landscaping. I've been picking up a little at a time. My dh made the wood part this weekend. I also went to amazon and found trellis netting at a place named BIC for the cheapest price.

Pam

PS Do you have the all new square foot gardening? Reason I ask is because there is no digging. 10 new extra ideas.
 

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This is my third year of square foot gardening. I have four 4 ft. square boxes, a 2-foot wide strip along the fence, and a deep box for root veggies. I've done away with the sq. ft. markers and use a ruler if I need to measure anything. It looks as if this will be the best producing year so far. Already harvested radishes and chard twice, and the peas are just now getting pods. There's a bean coming up - more to follow, and the tomatoes and peppers are growing nicely. And it looks like I'll have a good potato crop, too. I have squashes, cukes, and cantaloupe planted and looking good. When the radishes are done, I'll plant more green beans, and after the peas I'll probably plant more chard and maybe some okra.
The initial investment in both money and labor is high, but the soil stays loose, so there's no plowing and tilling, weeds are very manageable, and I plant things closer together than I would in a dirt garden. I do have to water more often, since most of the garden is only 6 inches deep. Making my own compost from shredded leaves, coffee grounds, and tea leaves saves a lot of money, and I use pine straw, which is abundant here, as mulch.
I grew herbs in the garden the first year, but now I grow them in hanging baskets outside my kitchen. Much more convenient and they stay in bounds.
I hope you enjoy the garden as much as I do.
 

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This is going to be a great thread to follow and hopefully inspire me to do .....anything.
 

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i have also been wanting to do this for years and haven't yet. Just before I came here tonight, I looked at the Home Depot ad online. They have 4 x 4 cedar frames for gardens for $35.00 I think. I want mine to be raised because I'm lazy and don't want to dig...another reason I haven't done it yet. I have no idea if that's expensive or not? Good luck with your garden :)
 

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i have also been wanting to do this for years and haven't yet. Just before I came here tonight, I looked at the Home Depot ad online. They have 4 x 4 cedar frames for gardens for $35.00 I think. I want mine to be raised because I'm lazy and don't want to dig...another reason I haven't done it yet. I have no idea if that's expensive or not? Good luck with your garden :)
Hi,
The new square foot gardening book has 10 new tips. One of them is NO DIGGING. Borrow the book from your library. Thought I'd let you know that to encourage you. I'm not sure but I thought cedar required taking care of it in some way. My dh made 3, 4 x 4 boxes with just plain 2 x 6 for $25 plus some screws. You make up the frames and fill them with dirt after putting weed block down first. You do need to make them deeper for root crops. Hope this encourages you to join us

Pam
 

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I too am doing the SFG this year. Forum : Square Foot Gardening is their forums which does offer quite a few resources.

I purchased way too much vermiculite but plan on redoing all of the beds in the back yard.

BJ's has a 4x4 raised bed with a section that is higher that I might invest in so I can have more space for carrots and potatoes. I like that I can stack their boxes so potatoes might do very well in the front of the house. For the back of the house we purchased cinder blocks to set into the ground so I only need to dig 2-3 inches deep then fill it with Mel's Mix.

I'm planning on getting out in my garden this week to get things underway. I have my box of seeds that will be started indoors too. I look forward to seeing how this system works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi nuisance;
I'm going to try this for the first time this year; maybe we can use this thread to discuss our findings. Just for your info if you will need it; I had a really hard time finding coarse vermiculate. I finally found it at a place that does landscaping. I've been picking up a little at a time. My dh made the wood part this weekend. I also went to amazon and found trellis netting at a place named BIC for the cheapest price.

Pam

PS Do you have the all new square foot gardening? Reason I ask is because there is no digging. 10 new extra ideas.
~Yes, I put a hold on it at my local library and read it through last week. Before that I perused the forums at the site Ceashels posted. ;) ~

i have also been wanting to do this for years and haven't yet. Just before I came here tonight, I looked at the Home Depot ad online. They have 4 x 4 cedar frames for gardens for $35.00 I think. I want mine to be raised because I'm lazy and don't want to dig...another reason I haven't done it yet. I have no idea if that's expensive or not? Good luck with your garden :)
~I checked these out in store and the differences between the kit and homemade are that the kit has thin side walls(looked about 3/4 inch to me)and decorative corner posts. If you just plan on flowers or herbs or need it to look extra pretty than go for it. But sturdy 2"X6"X8' lumber boxes are cheaper in comparison and will hold up much longer. I don't think the extra SFG things like cold frames and lathe grids would work well with the kit because of how much less sturdy it is.~

Wow! $89 for vermiculite? Why was it so expensive?
~It's mined in areas where governments control the process. I believe the occurrence of asbestos in one of the mines has greatly hindered the mining.
Vermiculite is a mica rock. Out in the sun it looks like sparkly fool's gold. It's really light and lovely!~
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
~I had to get my coarse vermiculite on Ebay so $33 was shipping for two large bags(8 cubic feet). I checked about 15 places in my county first. Ace had it in stock but just 8qt bags and would have cost $150. But it is nice to know that they have it JIC.~
 

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I found vermiculite at a "higher end" garden shop 15 mins away from me. It was $35 for 4.4cubic ft bag and worth it since the next place I could drive to find it was 2-3 hours away.

The service at that store is totally awesome and they keep the course vermiculite in stock or will order ANYTHING for you if they can find it. :D
 

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I've had good luck growing potatoes in large pots. I also put several hills in an old washer tub.

You can see by the rock in this picture why plowing up the ground and having a conventional garden is not an option where we live. Since standing bent over to tend a garden is not something we're interested in doing anymore, we've opted to raise most of our gardening to a more comfortable height, which is why I knocked together a small stand from scrap lumber for the washer tub to sit on.

We're doing SFG in a tabletop garden. The downside is it dries out quickly. We've only used it one season without much luck but it was neglected. This year will be better! We made an identical table garden for my mom two years ago. She is handicapped and conventional gardening isn't an option for her. She has had great luck with hers and grows all kinds of small crops like lettuce, greens, radishes, etc. It's easy for her to tend and it keeps out destructive critters like bunnies. We made both gardens with an old panel door on the bottom and scrap lumber for everything else. The squares are marked off using some lawn edging I got cheap at a rummage sale and cut to fit. It's hard to see with all the wild raspberries behind it, but the garden is full of various peppers and brussels sprouts.
 

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I have used the SFG method for about 6 years, I use the soil mix in all of my containers as well.

What I love that the weeds are few and far between, I only add compost now at the beginning of the new growing season and my harvests are awesome. So I guess I would say I love everything about the method, especially the soil mix!:tay:

We built the raised beds out of various materials and were able to find the vermiculite at a place just west of us about 45 minutes. Dh was going to be by there so he picked up a big bag of it for about 35 dollars. Well worth it in my opinion! Our ground is mostly clay and would take years to be good enough to produce anything but dirt clods and rocks!
 

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I've had good luck growing potatoes in large pots. I also put several hills in an old washer tub.

You can see by the rock in this picture why plowing up the ground and having a conventional garden is not an option where we live. Since standing bent over to tend a garden is not something we're interested in doing anymore, we've opted to raise most of our gardening to a more comfortable height, which is why I knocked together a small stand from scrap lumber for the washer tub to sit on.

We're doing SFG in a tabletop garden. The downside is it dries out quickly. We've only used it one season without much luck but it was neglected. This year will be better! We made an identical table garden for my mom two years ago. She is handicapped and conventional gardening isn't an option for her. She has had great luck with hers and grows all kinds of small crops like lettuce, greens, radishes, etc. It's easy for her to tend and it keeps out destructive critters like bunnies. We made both gardens with an old panel door on the bottom and scrap lumber for everything else. The squares are marked off using some lawn edging I got cheap at a rummage sale and cut to fit. It's hard to see with all the wild raspberries behind it, but the garden is full of various peppers and brussels sprouts.
I went to some garden talks this weekend and they had a watering system that you attach to your hose that waters 10 pots; maybe you could look at that and make something similar to that to water table top. It was really small tubing (which I think might slowly water) or what about the soaker hoses (like a regular hose with small holes) I'm either buying that or
Frame It All Mini Sprinkler Irrigation System
16 Sprinkler Heads Irrigate the Soil in a 32 Square Foot Area
Item # 570636
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$25.99
Shipping & Handling included
The estimated delivery time will be approximately
7 - 10 business days from the time of order.


Picture didn't come up; go to Costco.com and put in sprinkler.

Just some suggestions to possibly help.
 
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