Backyard Garden

At the beginning of spring a mate of mine and I decided to grow some veggies on vacant land at the back of mums place. The block is big enough that we were able to till 3 beds, 10m long by 1.5m wide, which was a great size for us to experiment with. The veg are growing organically to save us money on chemicals and to reduce the risk of chemical residues in our food.

Three trips to the race track and free manure. So far $0 to set up veg beds

Three trips to the race track and free manure. So far $0 to set up veg beds

The first step was to take a trip to the nearby jockey club where we were fortunate enough to be offered free horse manure mixed with saw dust. After 3 trips we were set to mark out beds and add a top layer of horse manure (good carbon:nitrogen ration, no composting needed).

3 Veg beds 10m long x 1.5m wide and enough room between to fit a lawn mower

3 Veg beds 10m long x 1.5m wide and enough room between to fit a lawn mower

We made a mistake though. We added too much manure, which, when hoed in, was too thick to penetrate through to the lawn layer. Instead we had to scrape the manure to the side, hoe the old lawn in deep, replace the manure and hoe that into the soil.

It took 10-15 runs per bed to create a fine tilth

It took 10-15 runs per bed to create a fine tilth

The first run

The first run

A few full days of hand digging could have finished the beds, however we didn’t really have the time, therefore the motorized hoe was the way to go. The hoe hire ended up costing about $125 so not too expensive.

Finally we set up a drip irritation irrigation system equipped with a cheapo automatic tap timer, allowing us to water without being there and also allowing us to adjust the regularity and length of watering.

A pretty simple vegetable garden, set up in a patch of lawn, in a regular city suburb with little cost and a few days of physical labour.

Drip irrigation is an efficient way to water a garden. The water is available to the roots, where little evaporation occurs and risk of leaf disease is lessened.

Drip irrigation is an efficient way to water a garden. The water is available to the roots and little evaporation occurs + the risk of leaf disease caused by too much water spray is reduced.

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5 comments on “Backyard Garden

  1. Steve says:

    Great job guys. My only observation would be the length of 10 mtrs is a bit long. For weeding, planting and general maintenance you might find 5mtrs (ish) or 3mtrs better still. The temptation to “jump” the beds will be too great at 10 mtrs. Smaller beds will also help with record keeping and stock rotation.
    Bon courage
    Steve
    Lubersac
    France

    • Raelands Farm Barrington says:

      Hey Steve, thanks for your suggestions. So far we have found 10m to be fine, it allows us to have only 6 vertical watering lines with 2 header pipes for the irrigation (much easier and cheaper than multiple sets for each small bed), also the beds are only 1.5m wide, which work well for us as we have found that we don’t need to walk into wider beds (compacting the soil). In terms of record keeping we use a simple sheet of paper with the plots marked and plantings recorded so next season we don’t plant the same cultivars in the same spot.
      Thanks again for your comment 🙂

  2. Looks great. Nothing beats the 100 yard foodshed 🙂

  3. tompostpile says:

    Something I learned from an old gardener. Put that manure on real thick — a good foot deep, even two, towards the end of your summer. Plant oats on top to hold the “soil”. Winter cold will kill the oats. When the weather is warm, next spring, you plant things like tomatoes or squash…they’re plants that will grow in almost pure manure. (if you don’t have winter, don’t plant that cover crop) By the end of the tomatoes growing season, the foot or more of manure will have decomposed to just a few inches, and can easily be tilled in. If you have time, and access to lots of manure, this is a great way to start a garden plot. The market gardeners around Paris adored horse manure, and applied it at the rate of 100 to 400 tons per acre per year. (!)

    • Raelands Farm Barrington says:

      Thanks for the tip, We might give that a try at the end of summer. Thats the best thing about horse manure, its a good C:N ratio straight out of the horse so wont burn any plants. Not many places in Aust get cold enough over winter for winter kill to occur, rather we could till a green manure of oats in before seed set. Thanks again, that info about the French market gardeners was very interesting.

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