Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

BABY STEPS - Getting the veg garden going

Today I read a quote that said "You don't have to go FAST, you just have to GO" which proved to be a very timely reminder (though for me, would be even better if the word "GO" was subbed with "START").

Everyone has their own motivation and ways of tackling issues; for me some things need to happen quickly otherwise I lose interest and momentum, while other projects can be maintained on a slow burn, providing I do at least one small thing a day towards the goal in question.

So what have I been procrastinating over? Well it's been some time since the trees and elephant grass were cleared for the area that is to be the organic vegetable garden. I have a ton of seed either gathered from other gardeners or purchased from the seed merchant during my recent trip to the UK.  So what's the hold up?

Ironically, in an effort to live more frugally and sustainably, the initial stumbling block is financial! Though I have no doubt that this is true for many who would love to leave their current lives and head to their own little homestead in the country.

Anyway - I had begun in earnest last year with my first crop of lettuce, arugula (rocket), chinese cabbage, pak choi, aubergines, carrots and tomatoes which were all doing quite nicely until the dogs arrived and brought proceedings to a halt. I take full responsibility! As puppies, they destroyed seedboxes full of seedlings, whilst I was busy taking cute photos of them doing so. In  the meantime, they were developing a perchant for fresh vegetables.  So, now to proceed with the garden means it must be dog-proof.

THE PROBLEM: The cost of fencing the entire area that I have earmarked for the vegetable garden is phenomenal and out of my reach.

THE SOLUTION: Instead of a huge garden measuring approx 150ft x 100ft, why not make ONE raised bed at a time and just fence it individually?  It would work and the fence would double as vertical supports for growing cucumbers, melons, squash etc., upright rather than along the ground. Eureka!

So, the man will come tomorrow to:

1. Dig a trench around an area 25 ft x 15 ft
2. Lay a base of concrete for block walls to sit on
3. Build a wall all around, three or four layers high (6" breeze/cinder blocks) and some steps up
4, Line with metal netting to keep out ground burrowing pests
5. Back fill with organic top soil
6. Add a 4ft fence to sit on top of the block wall and a gate to go into the garden-within-a-garden.

7. Add gravel boards and pea gravel to create paths between the beds

Et Voila!

So, by letting go of my original idea and considering another option, suddenly I see that there can be ACTION, which means there will be PROGRESS!  Seems so simple, yet I have been delaying making a start for many weeks because of this one single issue. I can't understand why I didn't think of it before??  I guess I just needed a kick in the pants and some motivation to truly apply myself to finding an alternative solution.


Views: 157

Comment by Caroline Malcolm on March 19, 2012 at 9:47am

Hi Yvonne! I love the quotation "You don't have to go FAST, you just have to GO." It's a good mantra to apply to most everything in my life! I finally got some seeds started, just in the nick of growing time, and I can't wait to see the results.

I'm doing some container gardening this year, nothing like a big organic garden, but I'm excited to start cutting lettuce! That's my favorite plant to grow -- there's something so satisfying about being able to snip some lettuce every day for a salad. 

Please share pictures of your new garden - it sounds fantastic. Good luck!

Comment by Yvonne on March 19, 2012 at 10:01am

Thank you Caroline. I'm glad you found the thought motivating.  With our temperamental weather conditions and voracious pests, there is no guarantee that my garden will be any more productive than your containers! I will keep you updated.....btw add to the weather and pests the fact that there is a "manyana" attitude here and the man who  was due to start the work this morning has not shown up!! Grrrr!

Comment by Caroline Malcolm on March 19, 2012 at 10:41am

Well, I hope that he gets there soon. Waiting is the worst part!

Comment by Julie Clark on March 21, 2012 at 10:01am

I took the fast AND easy way to build my raised beds. First, I compost year 'round. I shred and bag leaves in the fall to use with grass clippings, kitchen refuse, spent plants, etc. 

I decide where I want the raised bed, then lay down cardboard, newspapers, paper bags--whatever I have--right on the ground. No digging! Then I put down a layer of compost, a layer of bagged leaves, and another layer of compost. Then I let it sit all winter and plant in spring. I add more layers of compost and leaves as needed. Done this way, there is no cost unless you have to buy compost...so I keep my 6-9 compost piles going all year long.

Comment by Yvonne on March 21, 2012 at 10:19am

That's great Julia - thanks for sharing. When I was in the UK I did something similar based on the methods used by Bob Flowerdew, a UK organic gardener. I also saw another version yesterday where a gardener covered the area he wanted with bales of hay over winter, which gave him a clean, warm patch come spring. 

I have a couple of problems in the form of doberman/rott crosses who dig up everything, and eat anything, vaguely resembling food, so my issue is more about creating an area that is dog proof. Once this is done I can begin to use the kind of methods you describe.

Thanks for sharing and happy gardening.  Would love to see some pics once your garden starts growing.




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