First Vegetable Garden

At one of our previous houses I built a big vegetable garden in an unused corner of the garden in front of the shed. (Later I built the chicken hutch next to it.)

Overall it was a really sturdy and effective design that worked out really well. It was still going when we sold the house – I hope it’s working out well for the new owners.

The site before development

This is the site for the garden before I’d done any work – just bare WA black sand and a sad hibiscus. The tree next to the shed on the right is an apricot (also quite neglected).

Initial framing of the garden beds

I cleared everything out and built some level brick foundations for the walls, here I’m measuring up the treated pine sleepers for the edges. The corners used treated pine posts that were buried in the ground by about 30cm so that it wouldn’t move around too much.

The design was fairly simple: edges from 2 layers of 200mm treated pine sleepers (total height 400mm) bolted together with galvanised bolts. I shaped each bed in a U-shape that was only about a metre wide so that it would be easy to reach in to the garden from any side – that way we could garden/harvest without having to climb into the garden.

Starting to put soil in the garden beds

After the sleepers were cut and bolted together I brought in a lot of special vege garden mix from my local soil shop. I couldn’t get my car & trailer around the back of the house, so all of it was transferred by wheelbarrow. That was a long hot day.

Paving between the garden beds

In between the garden beds I put down a bed of yellow bricky’s sand and used some old pavers I had lying around to make a nice path. I wouldn’t want to be a full-time paver, but small jobs like this are quite satisfying.

First planting of the garden beds

The finished garden, including reticulation and first plantings.

Close up view of the reticulation

To reticulate I ran polypipe around the edge of the garden and put sprayers. The reticulation was linked to our automatic system so the vege garden was watered automatically every second day over summer just before dawn.

The intention behind that was so that I wouldn’t risk damaging the retic while digging in the garden. In retrospect it was a bit over-engineered, and a couple of well-placed butterfly sprinklers on metal poles around the garden would be just as effective and less expensive.

Our cat sitting in the sun looking at the vegetables

Here’s our cat Bugalugs admiring some cabbage and enjoying the sun. I think he is displeased there’s no catnip.

Vegetable garden after a few weeks of growth

After a few weeks it’s looking good - corn is tall and strong. I’ve added some trellises for the tomatoes and cucumbers.

Garden bed overgrown

A few weeks more and everything is growing really well – it’s a bit of jungle!

First harvest of corn

Here’s some corn and lettuce we got off the first crop. It was super tasty!