My Backyard Farm

In my opinion, there is a lot more to healthy eating than simple calorie counting.  I believe that food source is equally important to our overall well-being.  For example, I purposely avoid animal-based foods that come from a factory farm.  Apart from finding the practices of factory farming objectionable, I feel that they compromise our health, the health of animals and the health of our environment.

Similarly, I make a concerted effort to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, wherever possible.  My family and I frequent our local farmers market to buy organic locally grown produce.  However, this can be a rather costly venture.  For this reason, I have decided to take “local” to the next level in 2013 and create our own backyard farm!

Following are some chronological photos of my D.I.Y. veggie garden “project” this spring season, including some bumps along the way!!

First I built two 4x10 foot raised beds using 2x12 inch pressure-treated lumber.

First I built two 4×10 foot raised beds using 2×12 inch pressure-treated lumber.

Because of the steep slope, I needed to build two (unanticipated) retaining walls to maintain stability and provide access to the garden.

Because of the steep slope, I needed to build two (unanticipated) retaining walls to maintain stability and provide access to the garden.

Based on further research, and the good folks at Home Depot who gave me a FULL refund to compensate for the initial recommendation, I swapped out the pressure treated lumber with 2x12 rough redwood.

Based on further research, anal retentiveness and the good folks at Home Depot (who gave me a FULL refund to compensate for the initial faulty recommendation), I swapped out the pressure-treated lumber and instead built beds made of 2×12 inch rough redwood. I also lined the bottom with wire mesh cloth to keep the rodents out.

This was a lot of work.

Replacing the beds and digging up the pressure-treated wood stakes was a lot of work. The silver lining was I didn’t need to go to the gym for days.

I added 3 yards of "organic veggie mix" soil from Sloat Garden Center in Danville.  Because of the stairs to get to this part of my yard, I carried the soil in 5 gallon buckets two at a time. Another gym-free weekend.

I added 3 yards of “organic veggie mix” soil from Sloat Garden Center in Danville. Because of the stairs to get to this part of my yard, I could not use a wheelbarrow. I carried the soil in 5 gallon buckets two at a time. Another gym-free weekend.

I extended an unused channel of my existing backyard irrigation and ran 3/4" PVC to my fruit trees and the two raised garden beds.

I extended an unused channel of my existing backyard irrigation and ran 3/4″ PVC to my fruit trees and the two raised garden beds.

I buried the PVC and the risers are connected to 1/4" drip soaker hose.  The top deck is planted with a variety of heirloom tomatoes, zuchinni, strawberry, marigold (keep bad bugs out) and alyssum (attract good bugs).

I buried the PVC, connected some risers and ran 1/4″ drip soaker hose to the beds. The top deck is planted with a variety of heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, strawberry, marigold (keep the bad bugs out) and alyssum (attract good bugs).

I started planting the bottom deck today with more strawberries, a pumpkin, watermellon and more annual flowers. Oh, and I enlisted our dog to guard the beds.

I barely started planting the bottom deck today with more strawberries, a pumpkin, watermelon and more annual flowers. Oh, and I enlisted our dog to guard the beds.

Overhead view of nectarine, two apples, the two raised garden beds and our loyal pooch.

Here is an overhead view of the nectarine tree, two apple trees, the two raised garden beds and our loyal guard pooch.

I look forward to the “fruits” of my labor this summer/fall and hope to generate a sizeable crop in our backyard farm!!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “My Backyard Farm

  1. Paul

    Excellent post, Rob! Couple additional comments for you:

    1. The marigolds keep bad bugs out by attracting good ones! They attract ladybugs which will eat your aphids.

    2. Next project for you should be to plant from seed. You’ll save some cash (a packet of a ton of heirloom seeds costs less than a single starter plant). You’ll get heartier plants that’ll root better than the transplants. I recommend Baker Creek. They run an amazing heirloom seed bank.

    • Thanks Paul. I really like your recommendation on planting from seed. Makes total sense in terms of root integrity….and cost!

    • Terisa

      I like the idea of having a garden, in fact my husband is planting a garden this year. He hasn’t had time the last few years because of sickness in the family. I’m glad to get back to the good food.

  2. Looks fantastic! I agree there’s a lot more to healthy eating than simple calorie counting!
    I have just planted lots of beautiful greens in my high beds and I can’t wait to go out and harvest 🙂

  3. Thank you Anne! Good luck with your garden! I’m keeping a close eye on mine to make sure the maiden voyage is a fruitful one!

  4. Mary

    I appreciate the step by step description and photos. I am going to ask my hubby to build them for me, too. Mary

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