Would you like to build a new vegetable garden in just a weekend from any place in your yard with out tilling, pulling out the lawn, or building huge soil filled boxes? Well you can and it is a lot easier than you would think. The hardest part is the preparation if you plan well you can walk out into your lawn on Saturday morning and have a growing vegetable garden in your yard by Sunday afternoon! No it is not magic and you won’t need a 100 members from the corp of engineers you can get this garden up and running by yourself or the help of one volunteer, which will make it quicker and more enjoyable working with someone on this project.
Preparation And Planning
I mentioned the words preparation and planning and that is what it takes to get this garden in the ground. So lets get started and then you will be able to get this project done in a weekend and enjoy fresh vegetables this year from your own yard.
To begin with lets get the raw materials together or at least have the source ready for planting day.
- Newspaper lots of newspapers maybe two months worth just the papers though no colored advertising pages or slick glossy pages.
- Wood chips clean weed free wood chips depending on the size garden you are planting will determine how much you will need.
- Fresh clean weed free compost again the amount will be determined by the size area.
- String and stakes
- Rot resistant (not pressure treated )Ã‚ 2″ x 4″ boards and some galvanized nails.
- A ruler and pencil and paper.
To start with we will need to determine where you want to place your vegetable garden. The area must receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day, but all day would be better. The area should also be relatively flat so rain will not wash your garden away. Also a nearby source of water would make it a lot better so you will not have to haul water a long distance.
Now once you have found your location you need to determine how big your garden will be and this of course will be determined by what and how much you will grow. If there is just two of you then you will probably only needÃ‚ a couple of tomato and pepper plants a cucumber vine or two some carrots and a few bean plants a little spinach and may be two broccoli plant. But if you are feeding a large family then you will need much larger an area. So the final garden size will be determined by need.
Once you have decided how big an area make a sketch on the piece of paper marking out planting beds and pathways. I suggest you make your pathways about 18″ to 20″ wide and that you make one that runs down the middle of the garden that is 24″ to 30″ wide so that you can fit a gardenÃ‚ cart down it. The next thing is the planting beds draw them in at 36″ wide so you can easily reach across them from either side. Do not worry about what will go in which bed at this point just lay out the garden.
Building The Garden
Now that you have your garden plan all in place it is time to started. First thing to do is to mow the grass down until you have scalped it at he lowest setting. You can leave the clippings right there on the ground but spread any clumps out evenly over the area. Next you will take the newspaper and lay down a covering over the entire area of wet newspaper 5 layers thick overlapping the seams by 3″ or 4″ make sure you overlap and that you cover the entire area. Next take the string and stakes and layout the garden paths with the strings and that will also leave you with the outline of your beds in between the paths. Now form boxes using the 2″ x 4″ boards set on edge and nailed together with the galvanized nails or for more strength galvanized deck screws to form the outlines of your planting beds. Now you can remove the strings and fill in the boxes with 3″ of the weed free clean compost and the fill in between the boxes (the walking paths) with 3 1/2 inches of wood chips. Now simple plant your vegetable plants and keep them watered.
You now have an almost weed free garden that will require very little maintenance. The beds and walkways are permanent so you will not be walking on the planting areas so they will not become compacted. The newspaper smothered the existing lawn and helped turn it into humus as it composted it and it’s self to build the soil. To help keep it weed free only water the planted beds and not the whole area. Each fall refill the wood chips and the compost to prepare the garden for next spring.
If you really want to make this as little maintenance as possible install drip irrigation in the planting beds so that you will conserve water and labor. This system will allow you to have a garden that requires little attention and provides a big bounty. As for weeds just pull the weeds each time you are out in the garden and it will be hard for new ones to establish them selves.