New SFG Gardener Build
I am brand new to Square foot gardening and have used this forum a great deal in my research to find out what to do. I thought I might contribute what I have done to this point to help others who might be in the same position I am.
Living in Orange County, Ca and being totally new to all this my main source for materials were home improvement stores and local nurseries.
To build the box I wanted to use redwood or cedar because its supposed to last longer than regular pine but I was concerned about the cost. I also considered treated lumber and after doing lots of reading on the newer treatment methods I felt it would have been a fine option. Once I finally went shopping I found 6' long rough cut redwood fence boards for $2.35 each at Home Depot. Needless to say, I was very pleased to find this relatively inexpensive way to build my boxes out or redwood. The boards are thinner than your traditional 2x6 but regular 2x6 redwood lumber is expensive. I just used some 4x4 redwood fence posts in the corners and on the sides to make up for the thinner boards. The dimensions on my box are 6' x 4' x 16". I know 16" deep is more than what is needed but I liked the idea of it being a little higher off the ground. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.
To fill the boxes I also relied on large home improvement stores and a local nursery to make my Mel's mix.
To fill the bottom half of the box I used Kellogg Garden Soil. Its a blended compost of Forest humus, Chicken manure, Worm castings, Bat guano, Kelp meal, Oyster shell, Lime & dolomite as pH adjusters. It cost $7.87 for a 3 cuft bag at Home Depot.
To fill the top 6-8 inches of the box I used Mel's Mix of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. For the compost component of my Mel's mix I used Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost. It came highly recommended from experienced SFG'ers on this forum and from others as well. It's a blended compost and meets Mel's recommendation to have 5 different types of compost. Its very similar to the Kellogg product above but also includes Gypsum and Mycorrhizae. This Gardener and Bloome Compost was $8.99 for a 3 cuft bag at my local nursery. Below is a picture the 2 different composts I used.
I picked up some peat moss at Lowes. It was $14 for a 2.2 cuft compressed bag.
I got my Vermiculite from a local nursery. I got a 3.5 cuft bag for $35. I probably could have gotten this cheaper from a different source. After I bought my stuff I found a vermiculite supplier database spreadsheet that showed better options.
To mix the Mel's mix I spread out a large tarp and combined the peat moss and the vermiculite together then after it was well mixed I added my Gardner and Bloome compost to that. It took a little effort to get it all mixed up well but it wasn't that difficult.
I've got my seeds started in a plastic starter tray. A few of them have popped up already. I'm looking forward to getting them transplanted into the garden and watching the square foot garden grow. I've never grown a vegetable in my life so if I can do it anybody can.
Thanks to all the contributors to this forum. I am looking forward to being a part of this SFG community.