Building a Square Foot Garden Box (Vinyl Kit)


My SFG planted

Since I was setting up my garden by myself, and had limited time before I needed to plant, I took the easy route of ordering my square foot gardens from Mel’s website Since I live in Utah, they were kind enough to arrange a pickup, which saved me shipping costs. Here is what I paid:

  • $75.95 per 4×4 vinyl box, including weed mat, posts, rails, caps, and grid. This included a 5% volume discount, since I ordered three.
  • $28.45 per tomato tower, including rebar, pipes, connectors, and nylon netting. This also included a 5% volume discount, since I ordered three.
  • $4.95 handling fee

The total cost (purchased April 2007) was $318.17 for 3 garden boxes with tomato towers, $106 each.

Putting this together was easy as pie! I did some major preparation (dug out sod, moved sprinkler heads, etc.), but that isn’t always necessary. To assemble, I just snapped the rails into the posts, put caps on top of the posts, and the boxes were made. I put down the weed mat, laid down the box, and was ready to fill it up. Once I had filled with Mel’s Mix (see other post), I built the grids by laying them out and using the snaps that came with them to hold it all together.

The tomato towers were equally easy to assemble. First I put it together with the corner connectors and a screwdriver. Then I pounded the rebar halfway into the dirt, and set the tower over the rebar. A push on each corner shoved it a little ways into the ground, and it was stable. Then I tied on the nylon netting.

I want to emphasize how EASY this was, but it was also probably the most expensive way to build. I have plans to double my gardens this year (add the equivalent of 3 more boxes), and I’ll make them myself. Once I do, I’ll post the costs here.

As a side note, I have found the nylon netting at Home Depot for less than $3.00 for a 6’x10′ piece (or something like that).

Happy Gardening!

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9 Responses

  1. Micki says:

    Any experience with using old tires to garden in, either vegetables, herbs, or flowers? Any cautionary tales? Any methods to NOT fill in, or use non-soil materials in tire cavity which will not actually grow stuff?
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Emily says:

    Lori Ann–You do not want to use plastic. Weed mat is simply a thin dark fabric that does not allow light to penetrate, but that does allow water to drain. Some people say you can use newspaper as an alternative (lay down in sections, or several pieces on top of each other). It prevents weeds by keeping them from the light, but allows the plants you grow to drain easily.

  3. Lori Ann says:

    Do you know what “weed mat” is made of? I live in China and have never heard of it or “landscape fabric” which is often recommended for the bottoms, but I want to build these boxes. Could I just use plastic sheeting?

  4. Emily says:

    I imagine you could build a box and place it on concrete–I think you’ll find the drainage from watering will leak out and discolor the concrete, though. Some like to garden on earth because it allows the roots to continue growing down (theoretically, anyway). Weed mat will slow this at first, but eventually breaks down.

  5. MJF says:

    Can “square foot gardening” be done on a slab of concrete as long as the soil is deeper? And then, I assume, you do not need a weed mat.

  6. Emily says:

    GR–no, I used weed mat on the bottom, that’s all.

  7. GR says:

    Did you fasten a bottom to these boxes, or are you just using some sort of ground covering?

  8. Nikki says:

    I got my vinyl kit in the mail but they’ve change it. No more just snap together. They sent corner brackets so I have to use a drill to assemble and no screws included. to do it. So a trip to the hardware store to buy screws. Otherwise it looks easy and I like the snap together grid. I tried string before and it deteriorated in the hot Louisiana sun in no time. Hopefully the grids will hold up better.

    Thanks for all the great information. I found you on Youtube and was happy to see you had a blog.

    Good Gardening

    Nikki in Ponchatoula La

  9. jmmoore321 says:

    Here is the link to my garden plan from last year. I think we could make something like this in photoshop and just post as an image.