SFG: How much does it cost to make a 4x4 box? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-07-2007, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a question for any square foot gardeners out there.

I am hoping to put together one or two 4x4 SFG boxes together to make a garden this year. The house I am living in has chipping lead paint on the windows, so I don't trust the soil at all. I'm thinking of making my boxes and filling them with Mel's mix.

The problem is, I haven't any idea how much this is really going to cost. Have any of you made boxes from scratch, and if so, how much did it cost to build one?

I am thinking of doing 4x4 foot boxes with 8 inches of soil. I know he says 5 inches is fine, but I think I will go a little bit deeper as I know I won't be around for parts of the summer to water as consistantly as I should.

Thanks for your help!
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#2 of 10 Old 04-07-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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It's going to depend on several factors. What do you plan to make them out of? Pine? Cedar? Redwood? Do you want to use a 2x8 or 2 2x4s? Will you have the lumber precut to size, or will you cut it yourself? What part of the country are you in (since lumber prices are regional)? All of those things will effect the price.

Regardless of all of the above questions, a pair of 4x4 boxes that you build yourself will not cost a ton... you can buy the kits in that size from SFG for $35-$80 depending on material, so you should be able to make them yourself for roughly the same amount.

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#3 of 10 Old 04-08-2007, 05:15 AM
 
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I may be able to help. I built 3 last year and I am expanding this year. These are the prices for Southern California.

I purchased the wood at Lowe's. They will cut it for you for Free.

Redwood is more money, the pine is cheaper of course but I would like them to last a little longer. I went w/ 2 x 6's, the 2 x 8's jump way up in price.

Here is the break down on the prices.

$30.00 for 16ft of Redwood so enough for 1 box
$ 6.00 for Screws
$30.00 for roll of Heavy Duty weed block
$ 9.00 per bag Peat Moss (2.2 cubic feet)
$14.00 per bag of Vermiculite (huge bag from Nursery)
$ 3.00 per bag of Compost from Lowe's (1.5 cubic feet)
$ 4.99 per bag of Compost from Armstrong's (1.5 cubic feet)
Purchased more from Landscape supply company since Mel suggest getting from different sources
$1.72 each ~ wood for grid
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#4 of 10 Old 04-08-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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My dad just built two SFG boxes for me yesterday, and the materials for two 4'x10' boxes built of untreated pine 2x8s, with vertical frames, came to $70. Organic soil, compost, and vermiculite to 8" deep will be another $60 or so. That's doing it up pretty nicely for me.

Last year I built two beds, 2'x8' and 2'x10', for about $50 total, using untreated scrap wood and other found materials. Most of the cost was buying organic soil, with the rest going to seeds and a LOT of netting to ward off our resident groundhog family.
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#5 of 10 Old 04-09-2007, 01:14 AM
 
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Funny you should post about this topic....I'm starting my sfg as well this year! I live in Texas, by Fort Worth. Went to Home Depot and picked up 12" X 8 ft cedar boards for $20 a board....so with two boards, I was able to make a 4 X 4. I haven't been able to put it all together yet (we had a cold snap here) but the weird thing is, I can't find any vermiculite here....swear to ya, I've hit up several nurseries and for some reason, they just don't have it. Going to have figure this one out on-line.....
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#6 of 10 Old 04-09-2007, 01:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utuss View Post
I can't find any vermiculite here....swear to ya, I've hit up several nurseries and for some reason, they just don't have it. Going to have figure this one out on-line.....
I can only find it at Osh (Orchard Supply & Hardware) or other big box stores that have nurseries. The small nurseries here stopped carrying it because of an asbestos scare a few years back. You can also check pool supply companies.

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#7 of 10 Old 04-09-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utuss View Post
Funny you should post about this topic....I'm starting my sfg as well this year! I live in Texas, by Fort Worth. Went to Home Depot and picked up 12" X 8 ft cedar boards for $20 a board....so with two boards, I was able to make a 4 X 4. I haven't been able to put it all together yet (we had a cold snap here) but the weird thing is, I can't find any vermiculite here....swear to ya, I've hit up several nurseries and for some reason, they just don't have it. Going to have figure this one out on-line.....
You can use vermiculite and pearlite interchangeably in most cases.
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#8 of 10 Old 04-09-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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Hi,

I'm glad that you mentioned using perlite....I looked that up on-line at the SFG website and it doesn't recommend it (this is a quote from the website): I think I am going to order it eventually on line....figure its just one of those start up costs (not to mention that Home Depot only has small weenie bags of Perlite...)

"Dear Doris, I don't like Perlite for the following reasons. I've heard that Perlite does not hold as much water as Vermiculite but even more important, I don't like it in my soil mix because it's rather coarse and it feels gritty and unnatural to the touch. It looks unnatural, and it floats to the surface when you water making it an unsightly garden soil. Besides all that it's dusty and makes me sneeze.

So, because it doesn't feel good when you're working with the soil mix and it doesn't look good with all the white specs on the surface I much prefer Vermiculite.

I'm sure you can find Vermiculite in the 4 cu. ft. bags if you get out your phone book and call all of the nurseries and building supply stores like Home Depot, Lowes and even places like K-Mart that have a garden department, they may have to order it for you but it will be well worth the wait. You should also call all the wholesale suppliers and users.

I hope that answers your question . Of course, many people do use Perlite instead of Vermiculite and in fact, most of the commercial mixes are made with Perlite and I'm quite sure that one of the reasons is that it's less expensive than Vermiculite. They may not care what it looks or feels like, but we do in our gardens.

Yours truly, Mel B. "
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#9 of 10 Old 04-09-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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Nice To see you
We are doing SFG this year also. My dh works at construction sites, so luckily he snagged us the boards.
I know you are supposed to use different kinds of compost, but I found out my city's waste programs sells compost. My city sells a bulk (at least 8 cubic yd) for $10/cu yd. So just a tip, you might want to look into if your city has compost for a local option that's comparable to big stores. We are estimating about $70/box Hopefully we will make that back in veggies!
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#10 of 10 Old 04-12-2007, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE:

I went and got the supplies to build a 4X4 box with 8 inches of soil. 6 inches just didn't seem like enough!

I spent about $75 total.
$12: 2X10 pine lumber (2X8 was cheaper, but the stuff they had in stock was all split and warped for some reason)
$32: 4 cu ft vermiculite
$8: 2.2 cu ft compressed peatmoss
$20: 5 cu ft assorted composts. I ended up getting an extra cu ft for mulching the seedlings later. You can never have too much compost!

I'll spend a bit more to make a lattice, and I eventually want to put up the PVC pipe "greenhouse" so I can extend my growing season this winter. So all told I'll probably spend about $100 on this box.

I really would like to do another 4X4 foor box this year, but I think I'll have to wait till my next paycheck to see if I can really justify spending $200 plus seeds and starts this year. if I wasn't renting I would do it in a hearbeat, but I'm reluctant to pour money into a bigger garden since I don't know if we will be here two years from now.
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