A Garden, At Last

The board canceled their meeting where we’d finally have a chance to appeal our rejected side-yard garden in person and postponed it until mid June, so the office suggested sending the board a written appeal in the meantime. We still haven’t heard back from the board regarding this (2 weeks ago at this point), which I feel is pretty rude of them to not even follow up when they canceled our appeal on us. I’m pretty fed up with them at this point, so we decided to just go ahead and build a smaller garden in the least shady area in the backyard since we technically got some sort of approval for this location.

The tomato plants given to us by my parents are getting huge (almost 3′ tall!) so we’re not sure those and everything else we have will fit in this garden, which is only 3.5’x7.5′.

We have those 3 tomatoes, 6 more tomatoes I grew from seed, then 4 eggplants, 6 peppers, 2 cucumbers, 4 spaghetti squash (that just sprouted this weekend, as if we need more!), 1 cabbage, and some herbs (mint and rosemary).

We decided to build the garden near the deck, so we can add some trellises that will connect with the deck so our cucumbers can vine there. We also built the garden vertically up the hill, which was probably a little more work and will require more soil to fill the higher raised bed at the bottom of the garden, but doing it this way we felt would give the plants the most sun with how it falls on our back yard.

First, we went to Lowe’s for a lumber run:


Here’s Nik staking it out:


We decided to do the 4 corner posts as 2×2″ posts, which would support the thin netting we bought (if I don’t call it fencing, maybe the HOA can’t complain about it). Nik used the jigsaw to make an angled spike which made it easier to sledge hammer these into the ground about 1 foot:

We checked the levelness approximately 1,000 times for good measure. I guess we’re smart enough to know that if it’s not level at this point, it’ll never come together. IMG_0819

After about 2 hours of work we had 6 stakes in the ground in a near-perfect rectangle.


The next step was to figure out how to attach the 6″ boards, which became a little tricky with the slope. We figure out that we’d have about 6″ of board above ground at the high end, which equated out to about 3 6″ boards above ground at the low end. We also trenched out the dirt so we could set some boards under the ground, to help hold the soil in the bed, and also to (hopefully) deter any digging critters.


While trenching the edges, we uncovered a HUGE boulder under the soil. We’ll have to find somewhere to put this prize.


We worked our way around each side of the garden like this, and you can see how we did a stair pattern up the side to deal with the slope.


A couple more hours later, and the frame was complete!


We used decking screws to just bolt each board to the corner pieces, and it feels very secure. We also chose to use pressure treated boards – a few years back these weren’t considered safe to use in a garden because they treated them with arsenic, but after some research we’ve found that they don’t use the same dangerous chemicals anymore and they’re considered pretty safe for vegetable gardens. The other option was cedar boards, but a quick comparison of price revealed that cedar was 6x more expensive than these boards…so pressure treated it was. The boards ended up costing us about $36 (we bought 9 6″ x 1.25″ x 8′ boards) and the 6 2″ x 2″ x 8′ posts were about $24. So about $60, not too bad.

Here’s some more pictures (you can click on them to make them bigger). You’ll also notice the boulder sitting nearby:

The inside is still a work in progress. We got some garden liner fabric from friends to protect dirt from coming out the cracks.


Nik also started tilling the clay so we can mix in some good garden soil with it. We brought home 6 2-cubic foot bags of soil and 2 50-pound bags of black kow manure to fill it with, which ended up being pretty pricey (about $55) and we probably need a few more bags still, but we didn’t want Nik’s car to break down hauling more than that. We also got some tall stakes for the tomatoes, and we still need to fashion some sort of trellis for the cucumbers.

I think we’ll wrap this up this week and get our plants in the ground soon!

2 thoughts on “A Garden, At Last

  1. Terry Sheehan

    Super start on your garden Louise. Tom and I started planting here last week. Still need to throw a cover over the plants on really cold nights but we just couldn’t wait to get going. 🍅

  2. Lorraine giffin

    I marked out a 3.5 X 7.5 on my rug and think you have room for maybe 3 toms, 2 eggplants & 2 peppers. Use the corners efficiently. Good idea to tie strings up to your deck rail & cucs will use them if you train them. As you know a squash uses lots of room and squash borers get to them eventually anyways. Cabbage is slow growing and invites cabbage flies. If you have buggy soil , stuff growing farther up will do better. 1 bale of straw ($5 at Lowes) will separate soil from plants, discourage weeds and help retain moisture. It’s exciting!



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