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1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 4, MI (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 3, 09 at 16:27

In the revised edition of square foot gardening by Mel Bartholemew, he says that you only need a 1/2 foot (6") depth to grow vegetables in his boxes. This of course is referring to a 4' x 4' box.

However it's also been said (according to the book and people who are experienced with gardening) that for root vegetables the soil depth has to be deeper than 6"
to grow root vegetables.

His solution is to make 1' x 1' boxes with a height of 6", 9" or 12" tall. Unfortunately he doesn't give instructions on how to build these 1' x 1' boxes. He doesn't give a list of the materials you need to actually build these boxes, nor does he specify what the length and width of the wood needs to be to build these boxes.

I would love to build these boxes because I plan to
grow three types of root vegetables, and I want to make sure that the soil depth is deep enough for them to grow properly. I would build three 1' x 1' boxes because I plan to grow three different types of root vegetables. The root vegetables I plan to grow are carrots, turnips, and white radishes (which are also known and commonly referred to as icicle radishes, at least this is the description given for them on most seed packets).

I plan to use one 1' x 1' box for each variety of root vegetable I plan to grow. Would I still have to use the grid outline like you would for a 4' x 4' box? If so, then how many squares would a 1 ' x 1' box be divided into?
It fails to specify whether or not you need to divide the 1 'x 1' box into smaller squares like you do for the 4' x 4' boxes. If I do need to divide the 1' x 1' box into smaller squares and use the grid outline like you do for a 4' x 4' box how many squares do I need to divide the
1' x 1' box into and what would be the dimensions per square in a 1' x 1' box?

Essentially I could really use a set of instructions and a list of what materials you need to construct a 1' x 1' box. It gives a list of materials and instructions with how to build a 4' x 4' box. Unfortunately it is very vague with instructions and no material list with how to build a 1' x 1' box; nor does it specify what the length and width of the wood needs to be for constructing a 1' x 1' box.

My other question is that what does the minimum soil depth need to be for each of the root vegetables I plan to grow? What is the recommended soil depth for each
variety of vegetable I plan to grow? What would you recommend the height of the box be for each type of root vegetable I plan to grow (6", 9", or 12"). Just to clarify and recap, what I plan to grow is white radishes (these are also known as icicle radishes), carrots, and turnips. I plan to use one 1' x 1' box for each type of root vegetable I plan to grow. As a result I need the recommend soil depth for each individual root vegetable I plan to grow.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

Just stack extra boxes in the already built bed. There's no need to do anything fancy. Just create a little micro environment in that one section.

Look at the seed packet to determine the average root depth needed for that vegetable. Go a bit deeper than that.


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

No offense intended but this will be my very first time doing a square foot garden. In addition to this, I'm new to gardening as is.

Your idea of what to do with the already built boxes helps, unfortunately it doesn't solve my original problem.

I have never constructed anything in my life. It's going to be very difficult to construct these 1' x 1' square foot boxes when there was not a list of instructions given for how to construct the 1 ' x 1' boxes. nor was there a list of materials given for what I need to construct the square foot boxes.

As stated previously in the original post on this thread, there were no instructions given for how to construct 1' x 1' boxes. The suggestion is great in the book, but it's really vague.

If I at least had the measurements for the length and width required for the pieces of wood I need to construct the boxes, that would give me something to go by. Unfortunately that information isn't even given.


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buy kiln dried pine wood

I never made a raised bed myself. But on This Old House web site and Lowe's web side, if you search "raised bed", you will find videos of how to make it.

Buy kiln dried pine wood will be a lot cheaper than cedar.


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

Don't just build several 1x1 boxes. That will drive you nuts. If all you want is those few root crops, get some containers that are deep enough and forego the box building alltogether. You can still space at the SFG standards in your containers and not have the hassle of building the boxes.

If you want to do several other crops and the radishes etc are just a few of them, do the searches, especially on YouTube, to see how to construct the beds.


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

Um, 1'=12", so cut boards 12" in length. Then assemble as you would a 4'x4' box.


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

The spacing for each of the crops you listed is in the back of the SFG book.

You don't need a grid inside the 1' x 1' box. Just use the planting pattern suggested in the book, either 4 per square (2 "rows" of two), 9 per square (3 "rows" of three) or 16 per square (4 "rows" of four).


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

Well my friend gave the suggestion of constructing a 3' x 3' box and then dividing that box up into smaller squares like you would a 4' x 4' box. I could give this box a height of 12" which would give the box a depth of 12".

The reason I'm choosing to do a box with a depth of 12" (regardless of the length and width of whatever size box I choose to make) is because the rule of thumb with growing root veggies seems to be, based on what others have told me regarding growing root veggies "the deeper the depth of soil is for growing root veggies, the better". This makes sense to me because they ARE root veggies and they do grow underground.

My question is if I choose to do a box of 3' x 3' then since it's a bigger box should I divide this box up into smaller squares like you would do for a 4' x 4' box. If so how many 1' x 1' squares should I divide a 3 'x 3' box into
and how many "rows" should a 3' x 3' box consist of? How many squares should be in each "row" for a 3' x 3' box?


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RE: 1' x 1' boxes for root vegetables......

The key is to use what you have. Experiment for a season and adjust your next box to suit your needs. The one foot by one foot boxes I believe Mel intended to place on top of a 4X4 by 6 inch deep garden. That way a single square of the Sixteen square feet that are in a 4X4 garden can be enhanced to be taller. 4' X 4' = 16 square feet. Sixteen square one foot by one foot squares to put 16 different types of plants in. If you build a 3'X3' box your garden will contain NINE SQUARE feet. 3X3=9 Or Nine squares that are one foot by one foot in size. If the boxes you already built do not have bottoms you can put one on top of the other to get your desired height. or depth. Four foot boards nailed together will actually yield a garden that is a bit short of 4X4. That bothers me greatly but no one else. I expect that in europe they build their boxes on meter by one meter if that is what their wood is measured in. After one growing season you will be the expert of what size box is perfect for your garden.


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