Jul 5, 2011

Pimp Your Garden...Sq Ft Style

Hey all!  Welcome back to our Adventures in Square Foot Gardening.   Last week we got our beds made and filled with B's Mix (aka soil) so today we are building our grids!  This is the easiest step to the Sq Ft Gardening method and the most inexpensive.  Consider this step "Organization" for the garden.  You can use a sq ft grid on any type of garden - raised or not - to simplify your plantings, make the most of your space, and add a bit of dimension to what would otherwise just be a patch of dirt!  :)

 You will need:

  • Wood Laths (ask at your local lumber store) 
  • 1 1/4 nuts and bolts
  • drill
  • measuring tape & pen - to mark hole locations
  • possibly something to cut the wood with and, if so, some clamps to hold still while cutting
  • Some tunes to keep your work flow movin'!

If you are doing 4x4 square boxes or grids then you don't need a wood cutting device as the wood laths are sold in 4 ft lengths.  Just measure and drill a hole in the center every foot.  I had to cut some of my pieces down as I was pimping my 2x8 and 3x8 squares...


1.  If cutting wood, measure the width of your box and cut the wooden laths to size.  For an 2 ft wide by 8 ft long box I need (7) 2 ft crossbars.  I took 4 wood laths, clamped them together, and cut the laths in half to get 8 2 ft pieces.   Since I was too lazy to go downstairs I brought my Dremel out to cut them in half...

2.  Drill holes at 1 ft intervals for the nuts/bolts to attach.  QUICK TIP - You can do more than one at a time by stacking them...

 When you are finished you should have a pile that looks a bit like this...

Time to move to the garden...

The next part is very simple.  Take your hardware and screw the grids together...

For the 8 foot long boxes I added a large washer to secure two grids together...

Finished!  Here is the grid all put together...

When the summer is over you can easily collapse and store your grids for winter by pushing the ends inward to collapse them like so...

Now all you have to do is add your grids to your boxes by resting them on top.  If you would like, you can screw them to the actual boxes to keep them from moving though I skipped that part and they haven't moved much.

Now that your boxes are all pimped out you can get to planting...or, transplanting in my case.  below you can see our romaine lettuce, some caged tomatoes, and a bunch of not so flourishing pepper plants.  In the box behind it is more tomatoes and more peppers...we have 16 tomato plants in.  Overkill?  Probably so...

Some things NOT to transplant?  

Wop Wop.  Sadly, my zucchini which was once huge and full of nice strong leaves has since been reduced to a piddly 4 leaves and 0 flowers.  Boo...

Budget Breakdown:
  • Wood Laths - I picked up a whole bunch of them (50?) at HD - $11.97
  • Washers, nuts, and bolts - $7
Total w/ 9.5% tax = $20.77 for the 2 2x8 boxes & the 2 3x8 boxes with plenty of wood laths to spare!

Our total cost for the entire garden thus far (minus seeds and plants most of which were from last year) = 

Boxes and weed clock - $175.22
Soil - $251.44
Grids - $20.77

TOTAL = $447.43 which is equal to $5.59 for each square foot of gardening space or $22.36 per each 4x4 grid...  Remember what I said on Day 1 about what a 4x4 square foot grid could yield?  Here it is again to refresh your memory:

  • 1 head of cabbage

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 4 heads of romaine

  • 4 heads of red lettuce

  • 4 heads of leaf lettuce then 16 scallions after the lettuce is out

  • 4 heads of salad lettuce

  • 5 lbs of sugar peas

  • 8 bunches of Swiss chard

  • 9 bunches of spinach then 9 turnips

  • 16 small ball carrots

  • 16 beets plus 4 bunches of beet greens

  • 16 long carrots (you will need a deeper box for those - 12 inches as apposed to 6 in)

  • 32 radishes

  • Let's think about this...  If you were to buy each of these items in the organic produce section I can more than guarantee you the cost would be at least double (maybe triple!) the $22.36 cost per each 4x4 grid not to mention the fact that building these boxes is a one time cost that you would be able to benefit from year to year!  Yippee!! 

    From the first pic above you will see that my pimped out garden is also tricked out with home made trellises as well as PVC pipe bed covers.  I plan to share those tips with you in an upcoming post but, for now, I need a break from all the garden talk to sit back, relax, and enjoy my weed free garden plots for a bit!!

    So what have you guys been planting?  Anyone else going to do grids in their garden?  Feel free to leave a comment with your latest garden ideas and projects!  If you blog, make sure to leave a link so I can check it out!!  :)

    **Update**  See what started it all HERE, See how to choose a layout and build your beds HERE, See how to make Mel's soil mix HERE, and See how to grid your garden HERE!are f

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