FREE FOOD: AKA a nOObs Attempt at a Vegi Garden

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by 13, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. 13

    13 __________

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    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. :D

    Before
    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]

    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
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    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
    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    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.
    #1
  2. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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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
    #2
  3. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    Great idea, Chris. House is looking fantastic as well. I know what you mean about "inexpensive projects". :lol3
    #3
  4. 13

    13 __________

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    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.

    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.
    #4
  5. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Great curb apeal you added there!:deal

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

    Jim :brow
    #5
  6. biggziff

    biggziff Funk Soul Bruvah

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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.
    #6
  7. jgrady1982

    jgrady1982 Been here awhile

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    great thread
    #7
  8. 13

    13 __________

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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.
    #8
  9. TiPirate

    TiPirate Adventurer

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    Check out the Aquaponics movement. Very cool sort of setup for your side-yard.
    #9
  10. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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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
    #10
  11. SplitDitch

    SplitDitch Adventurer

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    This is where I buy my seeds johnnyseeds.com

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

    growingyourgreens
    #11
  12. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    Motorcycle tires make great raised beds... put squash, cukes (other individual plants) in each one.
    #12
  13. Tmaximusv

    Tmaximusv Been here awhile

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    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.
    #13
  14. wannaklr

    wannaklr Long timer

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    Nice job on the front of the house. I wouldn't have looked twice at it before your makeover. :clap
    #14
  15. Ko

    Ko Observant as never

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    Like the way you re-routed the downspouts :clap

    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 :lol3


    Ko
    #15
  16. 13

    13 __________

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    That aquaponics is pretty neat but way too much for me to take on.

    Great link, thanks. :thumb

    Thanks. It was real easy to get the neighbors to like us. Our house was the only eyesore on the street. :D

    Yup. Probably wont get to it this season but eventually I was to put a rain barrel at each end.

    Thanks for the feedback Hesaid. I was thinking about going up to our hunting land upstate and loading up my truck with soil but it would cost triple in fuel with my old truck than it would to buy it local. 6mpg isn't all its cracked up to be.
    #16
  17. 13

    13 __________

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    So I shopped around but HD had the best price and had it in stock.

    [​IMG]

    I left about a 1/4" space between the two planks and 1"at the bottom. I figure that I will line them with landscape material and the gaps will help with drainage and air circulation? But what do I know. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Both were supposed to be 12'. :huh
    You get what you pay for.
    [​IMG]

    I had my head in my ass when I was shopping and only got 2 12'ers instead of 4 so I got half of the long bed built and 2 of the 4x4 boxes.
    [​IMG]

    Tomorrows another day. :clap
    #17
  18. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Oh. 6mpg huh? Well then I doubt you'll want to drive out to my parents and get a truckload. Too bad, since I've been busy crafting a motorcycle track in the field, and have a few piles scattered about.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll see if I can find some pics of our setup. This weeks lessons have been about bird netting, as apparently some of our seedlings were too good for the birds to pass up :pissed. As was one of Shesaid's just ripening strawberries!

    MV
    #18
  19. 13

    13 __________

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    The only thing it wont pass is a gas station. :evil

    I want a 8N. I have been looking around for one to use upstate but nobody wants to sell 'em.

    So are birds a problem for all the plants or just the berry bushes? I have a few feeders in the yard so hopefully the will focus on those rather than the plants.

    Last year we had this brief problem
    [​IMG]

    But this guy chases them off.
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Shesaid

    Shesaid Been here awhile

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    Here are some pix from the horse trough garden:[​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The containers are big enough that roots don't crowd, soil/roots stay cool... almost as good as being in the ground. The height is nice, keeps the dogs out and most bugs. I put copper tape around the edges too, keeps snails and slugs from crawling up the sides.

    We put drainage holes in the bottoms too, I think the holes are mostly 40 and 38 caliber. Then added some river rock before filling with soil.

    The containers with bottoms also keep out critters like gophers and adorable little bunnies.

    Last year I lost all my carrot sprouts to birds. This year we covered them with bird netting. Birds only give me grief when the plants are just sprouting from seeds, when I have yummy red strawberries that they think are for them, and when my praying mantises disappear suddenly. I try to encourage the mantises, but I've had two years where they disappeared suddenly-- I blame the birds.

    My biggest problem is that I simply do not have enough room for the variety of things I'd like to grow. And when the garden is in full summer mode, it can be a challenge to keep it from escaping into the yard:

    [​IMG]
    #20