It took a couple of weekends to clear the weeds and vines and to flatten the area. We (OK, mostly hubby) did that with just our hands and some shovels. It's not perfectly flat, but it's not too bad.
Anyone who's built a garden will know they're not cheap when you're starting from scratch and we had a budget to stick to when starting ours. Originally we thought we'd build our raised beds out of wood, but we live in a high rainfall, subtropical region and wood tends to warp really quickly where we are. So we settled on corrugated steel beds. The cheapest we could find were the little raised beds from Aldi which we butted up next to each other to create lines and maximise our space. We filled the bottom of the beds with the topsoil we had and then brought in some loads of local organic compost to top them up with.
As I was trying to keep costs down, almost everything in our garden was started from a few packets of seeds. My kids helped me plant everything out. It was so exciting for us all watching those gorgeous little seeds sprout to life and within 6 weeks we had something resembling a proper garden! You can get a better look at how dramatically the garden changed in the first six weeks here.
Over the next months, we had some truly sucky weather conditions (a drought period, heatwave and then 2 floods!) which made us reassess how we were gardening. The floods made us realise we had some serious drainage issues. Half the garden just washed away in the rain and to solve these problems (and when the budget allowed) we filled the rest of the space with more raised beds with some drainage pipes placed underneath. We originally mulched between the beds with woodchips salvaged off the side of the road, but the rainfall made these break down far too quickly. So just last spring we brought in some pebbles to keep the weeds at bay and so far they've been doing an amazing job! Those pebbles completely transformed the space. It's not a perfect garden, but it's mine and I love it. Hmm, I think I might have mentioned that already.
There's been a lot of trial and error with the garden. We've had some huge successes and amazing crops- more beans, eggplants, basil and peas then we could eat! But also some spectacular failures- a complete bust of a potato crop, pests obliterating crops overnight and my pesky nemesis bowerbird pinching the best strawberries (I've got my eye on him, don't you worry). It's all been a blast though and I'm a complete garden junkie now. I don't feel complete until I've had a little wander through my "supermarket" aisles to see what we can harvest for dinner! It's an ever evolving thing and I'm always planning what the next season will bring! Obsessed? OK maybe just a little.
Want to see how fast my garden grew in the first 6 weeks? You'll find that HERE.
Want to see what my garden looks like right now? Click HERE.
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