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Old 04-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
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FREE FOOD: AKA a nOObs Attempt at a Vegi Garden

So we are coming up on our second summer in our home. It was a rat hole when we moved in so most of last summer was spent fixing everything and getting the house presentable from the curb. Got real good at working with cement blocks.

Before


After


Now money has dried up and I'm down to low budget projects. We threw some plants in the ground last year but never had the time to dedicate to a garden.

I have a few reasons for starting a vegetable garden.
  1. I want to grow my own food.
  2. I want my kid to understand that vegetables come from the earth and that if it doesnt come from our garden someone has to put in a lot of hard work on a farm to get it to us.
  3. I need an inexpencive hobby.
  4. I need to get outside more and do some work. I hate my job and need something rewarding.

I dont have much experience growing plants or vegetables but There is a great nursery nearby. If you go there midweek they will be happy to chat with you for hours. Then theres always google and the web.

So the area I'm working with is along side my house. Its 10' x 25' and was previously covered with hedges and weeds. We pulled all the hedges when we moved in. Most of the roots are still in the ground though.

Plan is a few raised beds and fill in with potted herbs and flowers to attract pollinators. The walkway will be brick and everywhere else will be pea gravel.

Not to scale


The beds in front of the window wells will be around 44" x 60" and the long bed along the fence will be about 15' x 18". The one against the back fence will be 48" x 24"ish.

I started working today. This is how it started.



The area gets full sun on the left 4' to 6' feet and shade from the fence on the right. I have been saving pallets from work and I plan on using them to make some benches and maybe a potting table.

Something like this which I saw at the nursery.



Cleared all the stuff laying around and pulled the brick which I plan to reuse. Its about 35 square feet worth.



Pulled out all the grass and weeds that had already started growing. Then loosened up the soil and graded it away from the house.



The window wells were in sad shape so I cleaned them out, layed some weed mat, and covered with 2-3" of pea gravel

Before


After


Once the wind kicked up I figured it would be good time to lay the weed mat by myself.



So the plan is to got to the lumber yard tomorrow morning and get some cedar to build the beds and start getting them together. Im working all weekend so Im hoping to get them built tomorrow and thursday so I can schedule a topsoil delivery for next monday or tuesday.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:02 PM   #2
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Looking good. We do our gardening in containers, mainly steel livestock water troughs. We expand a little every year. This year we should have a good plan going with cool weather veggies giving way to warm weather crops, letting us use the same space twice.

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Old 04-02-2013, 11:10 PM   #3
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Great idea, Chris. House is looking fantastic as well. I know what you mean about "inexpensive projects".
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:14 AM   #4
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Looking good. We do our gardening in containers, mainly steel livestock water troughs. We expand a little every year. This year we should have a good plan going with cool weather veggies giving way to warm weather crops, letting us use the same space twice.

MV
I thought about using troughs but the wife was concerned about it looking to "commercial". My big concern was filling them with topsoil.

Hope fully we'll be able to do some cool weather veggies too but not till the fall.

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Great idea, Chris. House is looking fantastic as well. I know what you mean about "inexpensive projects".
Thanks. "Inexpensive" is becoming a relative term. I crunched the numbers on the cedar last night and its probably gonna be about $300 in lumber. I'm gonna call a few lumber yards and see if I can find a better price than Home Depot. Then I need to get about 2 yards of topsoil and a few bags of compost/cow crap. Finally some gravel to fill the walkways.

I was really shocked at the price of started plants. The nursery was getting $4.20ea. for 6" plants. I think I'm going to starting seed in the house over the next few weeks to avoid that cost.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:05 AM   #5
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Great curb apeal you added there!

I'll be following your garden. I am doing something similar.

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Old 04-03-2013, 06:24 AM   #6
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Take a look at gardening by the square foot web pages. Another idea that's similar is pallet gardens. Lots of yield per square foot.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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great thread
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:08 AM   #8
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Take a look at gardening by the square foot web pages. Another idea that's similar is pallet gardens. Lots of yield per square foot.
Yup. I have already been reading.

Anyone have a good online seed source? I just cruised Burpee for a bit and they have some nice stuff.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:37 AM   #9
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Check out the Aquaponics movement. Very cool sort of setup for your side-yard.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:29 AM   #10
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Not much time to respond before work...

Filling raised beds/containers wasn't too hard. Rocks/gravel in the bottom to promote drainage, then topsoil and compost. My parents have a few acres, and were not opposed to us shovelling a truckload of dirt out of their field. The compost was from a program our city/county was doing every so often. They recycle green waste into compost, and from time to time have an event where you can bring in a truckload of green waste and trade it for a yard of compost. We also prowl our local gardening stores for "open bag" type specials where they'll practically give you a torn bag of peatmoss or the like. We also mix in sand that we get from the city's sandbag program they run any time a storm is expected (we go after the storm, don't want to take sand from anyone who might actually need it). Most of the soil and rock is fairly cheap to buy also, as long as you can haul it yourself. We've found it's often a better deal to buy 1/2 yards at a time, rather than the full yard. The price per yard would not reflect this, but the reality is, the guy running the front loader only has one size bucket on the front, and tends to scoop generously. Pay for a yard, get a yard. Pay for 1/2 yard, get 7/8 yard...

Also, get a soil test kit, it's fun, and can be handy to know your soil's PH and nitrogen content.

MV
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #11
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seeds

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Yup. I have already been reading.

Anyone have a good online seed source? I just cruised Burpee for a bit and they have some nice stuff.

This is where I buy my seeds johnnyseeds.com

This guy does a lot of work with raised beds on youtube,

growingyourgreens
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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Motorcycle tires make great raised beds... put squash, cukes (other individual plants) in each one.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:29 PM   #13
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Motorcycle tires make great raised beds... put squash, cukes (other individual plants) in each one.
Haven't done it yet, but potatoes are good candidates for this method. Just keep adding tires as the plants grow up. Take tires off when you want to harvest.

Have you considered your own compost bin/heap. With the pallets you've been saving you could make one in a quiet corner. Reduces your trash bill, too.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:16 PM   #14
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Nice job on the front of the house. I wouldn't have looked twice at it before your makeover.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:06 PM   #15
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Like the way you re-routed the downspouts

Will keep an eye here, moving soon to a new house, plan on getting a garden going- it's been almost 15 years since I had one. I suspect there were few changes since then


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