Here is my beloved vegetable garden (see the image gallery)
When we first moved to our small property (2.95 acres) we were pretty happy to inherit a blank canvas. The previous owners had done nothing to the backyard for the past 15 years except plant an orange and mandarin tree.
Down the back - The very bottom of our property (about an acre) was heavily treed with rubbish saplings, lantana (large thorny weed), and fallen debris. Not wanting to introduce heavy machinery and ruin the natural landscape, I cleared the bush-land by hand - it was a tough job and took me 12 months. It is now home to our chickens, ducks, and quail.
Back to the vegetable patch - Central to the backyard the previous owners had erected a trellis made from reo mesh (we suspect it was to grow something on) and to hide the underground treatment plant from view. Initially, we planted passion fruit and they grew really well; however, we always wanted more from our food garden so being central and getting sun all day it was the perfect spot to expand our food plants and create our vegetable garden dream patch.
Built the beds first - Essentially, I built the raised vegetable gardens first out of pine and hardwood sleepers making one long bed at the front (where the original trellis was) and another two narrower long beds in the middle making trellised tunnel which could be netted.
In between the two long beds we have a further long rectangle bed, three large square (2.4 x 2.4 m) sleeper beds, and four pre-assembled colorbond round beds.
Out the front we have three large barrels (for show really) but we do also use them to grow herbs and other small crops - strawberries do well.
At the back, is a "free area" which is often left go feral but it's used for large annuals (like rosella plants), sweet potato to run wild. Sometimes, I till the ground with my beast of a tiller and use it as a conventional vegetable patch with raised rows/mounds/furrows of dirt.
Subtropical rain was a big problem - Before long we found out although the patch was fine through the most of the year, the wet season turned the grass and vegetable garden surrounds into a boggy mess. Drainage wasn't a problem because of our slight slope but working around the vegetable garden in and after rain proved something else (other than grass or dirt) needed to be laid around the raised beds for harder standing under foot.
Plus, the maintenance of trimming the grass around the raised beds became a pain in the backside.
Gravel & boulders - I decided to use gravel 10-25 mil stone as a base for pathways around the beds and this worked a treat completely solving the boggy problem no matter how heavy it rains. To make a border and keep the gravel in place, I used large boulder rocks around the perimeter making a large rectangle.
For the "free" area at the back of the patch, I used pine sleepers to complete the perimeter (instead of boulders) - this saved on cost and work.
See my Tiller Article (explains how I till my "free" area and the machine I use)
Also, I have written an in-depth article about making my rock pathways around my garden beds here.
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