Evolution of my Veg Garden

My large back yard was calling for a vegetable and herb garden, so I laid out a plan in an area that was pretty dull and featureless. My inspiration was drawn from pictures my sister-in-law showed me of large trellises made from heavy metal cattle fencing panels. I was immediately drawn to them and started roughly planning. It was a lot of work but is thankfully behind me now. As a first-time vegetable gardener, I’ve learned a lot and have ideas of what I’ll do differently next year. My most successful vegetable was the English cucumber, and therefore I also learned how to make refrigerator pickles. The zucchini were large and delicious but not nearly as prolific as I expected. I’m now seeing endless pole green beans and Roma tomatoes, though. All in all, I’m super happy I made the garden! ~SueBee

Before and After – The first two pictures below were taken this past May, while the third picture shows how the garden looks currently. The shed also transformed during that time, becoming my Beach Shack.

Work in Progress – This next gallery, below, shows the process as I built the raised bed planters and put the trellises in. It took me five trips to the big box hardware store to get the cement blocks. I was glad to have my rolling cart to move the blocks from the garage to the planter area. The trellises were another problem altogether. They’re heavy, 16′ long and the store didn’t offer delivery. Lucky for me, at that same time, my oldest daughter, Angelika, and her partner, Baldur, arrived from California in a small rental van to store some things at my son’s home while they move to Berlin, Germany, for a few years. Using the van and Angelika’s help, we picked up the trellises and transported them in the van. Angelika and Baldur’s visit was very brief, so once they left, I was back in the garden. I didn’t purchase any potting soil or anything to fill the beds, instead using leaves, cardboard, and dirt that I dug up in various places around the yard. The trellises are secured in place by long, steel fence t-posts that I had a fun time pounding in the ground. That was more muscle-building work, I tell you! I plan to put cement caps on the blocks next year after I fill them with a bit more dirt.

Trees – This next set of pictures shows the two crabapple trees I planted and a surprising resident of the garden. These pictures are from the end of June into early July. During this time it was really hot (upper 90s to low 100s), and I found myself hand watering the garden and the rest of my plants in other parts of the yard at least four times a day. The soil here is sand and dries nearly instantly. It was becoming exhausting.

Drip Irrigation – After hearing me complain (probably far too many times), my friend, Aranka, living in the desert in Pahrump, Nevada, sent me the wonderful gift of a starter kit for an automatic drip irrigation system. I then purchased a 500′ roll of 1/2″ tubing. It was a nightmare of tangles as I attempted to lay it out. Aranka suggested I spread it, and the 100′ of 1/4″ tubing she’d sent me, in the sun to soften, in hopes it would be easier to handle. It wasn’t! Trying to plan and lay out all that tubing nearly sent my brain into lockdown. It was an incredible feeling once I got it all done, though. I did a test run and was pleased water was coming out of the emitters, and not places it shouldn’t. I then installed the solar timer (more brain power needed to program it) I’d purchased, as suggested by Aranka. In the meantime, I’ve added and changed emitters in a few spots, but overall, I’m so pleased, and I must say, very proud of myself.

Harvest – This final set of pictures shows some of the vegetables I harvested. While I’m a bit disappointed in not having more zucchini, I’m really pleased with some of the others. At the bottom of this post is a list of what all I planted… clearly, far too much for the space. But, I learned and will adjust next year. ~SueBee

Below is a list of all the things I planted, for anyone interested and still reading this extremely long post. The majority were planted in the two raised beds, but I ran out of space and planted in three other areas in the yard. I therefore, had to run the drip irrigation to those spots as well. All the seeds and seedlings were purchased from various nurseries around town. I never bought soil or fertilizer or anything other than the building materials and seeds / seedlings. I started a compost bin during this period, but it will be next year before anything useful comes from it. For the record, the watermelon and sweet pea never produced, the acorn squash produced just one very small squash, the spaghetti squash produced three, with three from the eggplant. As of a few days ago, I picked 42 cucumbers, 12 zucchini, well over a hundred green beans, and two dozen tomatoes. The tomatoes are really starting to turn red so that number will be growing. There are a few more cucumbers ready soon, and lots more green beans.

From seeds: watermelon, zucchini, pole green beans, sweet pea

Herbs from seedlings: sage, oregano, mint, dill, lavender

Vegetables from seedlings: acorn squash, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, eggplant, Roma tomato, English cucumber, jalapeno pepper

Flowers from seedlings: passion flower vine, trumpet flower vine

In other parts of the yard, I also planted two crabapple trees, four lilac bushes, two honeysuckle vines, and numerous perennial flowering plants. I’ll be curious to see how they hold up over the winter.

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Categories: Gardening, Photography


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2 Comments on “Evolution of my Veg Garden”

  1. Sep 20, 2022 at 4:58 pm #

    A fantastic start. You have done amazingly well.

    • Sep 20, 2022 at 8:46 pm #

      Thank you. I’d feel better with the overall look if not for the blistering, endless heat we’ve had that kept me from putting finishing touches on. Hopefully some cooler weather is on the way!

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