Thursday, September 30, 2010

A new vegetable garden - in progress

When we first bought our place we started renovating the inside, then the exterior of the building, the front garden and now we are concentrating on our backyard. As we live on a sloping block it is a little tricky, but the previous owners had pretty much terraced the land and we now have three distinct levels to work with. We have decided to deal with each area bit by bit, which is what we have done with the whole house. An area is chosen, decisions are made and then we set about working on that project until it is done and then we move on. I find that this system works so well for us. It is a large property and if we had bits and pieces started all over the place it would all look like a big mess and feel even more endless. This way we get to enjoy the areas that we have done and look forward to approaching the next space.
I have mentioned that clever husband is working on a new project and I thought that I would give you a sneak peak!

This is the first terrace directly behind our house and has been one of my least favourite. It's been a bit of an eyesore for a long time and we have had trouble deciding what to do with it. Well, it does receive the most sun and I need a bigger vegetable garden, so the decision has been made to turn it into a series of raised vegetable beds.
Using some corrugated iron sheets that were scattered all over the property when we bought it and some recycled hardwood that Dave got from work (he works on building sites and is always bringing things home that were going in the skip) Dave is fashioning what I think are the most beautiful raised beds. So far all we have spent is the cost of some nails and it is going to cost a bit to fill all of them with compost and manure but considering the area that we are dealing with, overall it is a cheap project.

There are still two more beds to come but as Dave builds them I start to fill them. I am doing a no dig method which means that I am placing distinct layers within each bed that will give the vegetables good drainage and layers of goodness to spread their roots down to. I start with a thick layer of newspaper to suppress any weeds, then I add a good amount of branches and sticks which will help with drainage, then a thick layer of lucerne straw, a layer of manure and then finish it off with a good layer of compost. I am buying in all these items, except for the newspaper and sticks but the difference it makes in having good quality soil is incredible. I have already planted one box and the seeds germinated so fast and are growing really well. I don't have enough compost to initially fill the boxes but will have enough to top them up in the future. Once you harvest a crop you just add another layer and plant again. It is a little work now but later there won't be hardly any at all, there will be no weeding and I just have to keep planting which is the fun and easy bit!

Between each bed I am layering newspaper and cardboard to suppress the grass and weeds and then will layer mulch that we got free from the local council. I wouldn't put this mulch on the garden but it is perfect for pathways, I used it on Jonty's playground and it has done a good job and looks great. Basically the council chops down branches and trees, puts it through the chipper and uses it for council gardens or drops it on the side of the road for people to take. We will then have even pathways (important for little toddler feet) that will need no mowing (yay!) and it will look all neat and tidy (important for me!). I will show you the area again once we have finished.

The end of a good day's work, now time for a nap!

1 comment:

  1. Wow these are fantastic. I want these beds! Love them.