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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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!!