This photo gallery shows the development of my primary vegetable garden from an unused patch of grass with poor drainage and soil quality to healthy level garden beds. The area is not large so I grow up – not out whenever possible and mix attractive productive plants such as fruit trees and herbs amongst the ornamental beds i.e. front yard garden.
A fence was constructed using wire mesh and tent poles (found in council clean up) to keep my very naughty little dog out.
Everything used in construction of the beds was ‘pre-loved’ and headed to land-fill (apart from the screws and top edging). The beds are constructed of used corrugated iron fencing with hard-wood offcuts used to join corners and support long pieces. Beds were edged with angle as the cut corrugated iron was very sharp. Hose pipe cut down one side length-ways or hardwood timber would also work. More info
Outer beds: The soil under the grass was very poor with very little organic matter. To improve the soil quality initially, compost, aged manure and good quality garden soil was added to outer beds so that I could start growing in them immediately.
The inner beds: These were quite low on soil. To improve the soil quality and top the soil level, the grass sods cut from the space were turned upside down and covered well with newspaper to prevent any light getting to them, this was then topped with a combination of manure (free from a horse in our local area), green trimmings from plants in my garden, autumn leaves.
Each layer was hosed down well before adding the next layer and covered with plastic and left to decompose until next spring. The result, beautiful, rich soil that would now hold moisture.
Maintaining healthy soil
To maintain the soil quality of the beds, compost is added regularly, Every winter 2 beds get a rest and a cover crop of mustard or clover is planted then dug back into the soil come spring to add organic matter. Beds are always mulched with either leaves or purchased pea straw or lucern which adds organic matter as it breaks down. Crops are regularly rotated to prevent disease build up.
A drip irrigation system was added the following year and operates on a timer system.