Urban Garden Space
This particular DIY I can barely take any credit for as it was essentially 95% my husband’s doing. It was a rather quick project where he did the brunt of the work while I wasn’t home, so there are very few photos to show the stages of progress (I'm the one that tends to keep the camera rolling when we're in DIY mode). Also, by the time I was there to offer my helping hands, all that was left to do was stain the wood fence and staple up the wire caging, which we did together.
For starters, knowing that my husband wanted a large vegetable and fruit garden, I gifted him these beautiful hand tools as inspiration to make his garden dreams come true.
The process for this project involved letting the grass die where we designated the garden space, hacking down and digging up the olive tree in the corner that we rendered as useless to us and spreading dirt to level the space out as best as possible. Next, the hubby added fence posts to outline the perimeter of the garden and framed them out with cross beams. Corner hardware connecting each section and hinges for a swinging gate door were incorporated as well. Why fence the space in at all if it’s in our own backyard? Dogs. Before Duke passed away, we had two dogs that previously liked to help themselves to any vegetables they could get their mouths on. At our house in Texas they did it and they even stole from the planter boxes we had on our patio while we were living in an apartment. So, to prevent them from gorging themselves and saving some vegetables for us too, we thought it would be best to fence in the space entirely. Now that Dutch is an only dog we’ve loosened up on the rule of ‘no dogs in the garden’ and let her in from time to time. It’s such a treat for her to go inside the gate - she even begs to go in most days, always going straight to her favorite – cherry tomatoes.
Once the fence frame was in place, several yards of decomposed granite were spread, smoothed and compacted to provide a firm base below the raised plant beds. The raised plant beds are made out of untreated 2x4’s pine boards assembled together in various sizes for the plan my husband mapped out. Occasionally he built the boxes too large for one person to carry so I would step in to help move them into place (that was one other instance I felt helpful during this project).
He laid them out according to types of plants and also by how much sun each space would receive. The garden measures at 10 feet by 50 feet. One box is all leafy greens, one is all berry bushes and vines, one is for grapevines, another is for produce that grows on the ground, another box is strictly for herbs and another for plants that produce upright. In between several of the boxes are fruit trees. The two grapefruit trees that were established when we moved in we kept, but we added an avocado, a 5-in-1 citrus with a few types of oranges on it as well as lemons and limes. When we were shopping for trees to put in this space I begged and pleaded for a nectarine tree (my personal favorite!), which I got, but it was not included in the garden. It lives outside of the garden and is entirely my responsibility, but that’s fine by me! We opted to buy fruit trees that were a few years old so we wouldn’t have to wait too long for them to produce. Oh, and did I mention that everything is completely organic? Worm poop fertilizer and all.
My boys bonding over shared blueberries.
All that remained was adding a sprinkler and drip line system for tending to each plant’s needs. Some have not done so well – I’m talking to you soy beans. But for the most part things have really flourished. We’ve had eggplant, okra, red and green bell peppers, jalapeños, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cucumbers, watermelon, celery, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, green beans, carrots, grapefruit, rosemary, two types of kale, a handful of other lettuce varieties, three types of tomatoes and so much more. It’s practically like having a small farm stand in our backyard - what a bounty it has been this summer! In fact, just about anytime we go to a friend’s house we take a paper bag chock full of fruits and vegetables to share and the reviews have been great. We even have pending requests – our next batch of cucumbers is going to a friend to pickle. How fun is that?
One finishing touch that I added was these handsome copper plant markers. Aren't they just lovely? Of the few photos I have of this DIY project, here are some shots that show before and after comparisons of the space, a bit of the process and some of the reward we've enjoyed this spring and summer. Eat well and be well my friends!
A few of my favorite things.