Urban Homesteading: Building New Garden Beds

It all started with the removal of 3 very ugly contractor grade special trees:


Good riddance. They blocked sun oddly, were not healthy, and poisoned the ground around them. The problem is…people put them in when small, then they grow quickly, and they are never shaped, and just go crazy in a few years. And get damaged easily in winter storms, when we have Artic blows.


We have a massive deck. With the 3 sided wrap around stairs, it is 30 by 30 feet. The stairs are awful. 3 risers, no rails, just a wide deck to fall off of. And oh, this side was rotting badly. So we tore the entire length out. The steps were not structural at all either, so quite easy to do.


Scariest was just how rotten and badly built the stairs had been done.


Underneath? Oddly quite good soil. We tilled it up, and removed a ton of rocks, but it had been under cover for at least 8 or 9 years, so it wasn’t hard packed.


At first I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but Kirk and I talked it over. We decided to run a long bed, and installed some leftover wood we had for trellis supports. With the many rocks removed, I ran 5 lines of rocks, to make separate beds, but also to provide a walking area, so we can work and harvest! The frame in front is landscaping timbers, watch for sales on them at places like Home Depot. You can easily attach them with metal plates and screws, and gently flip over, to make it look nice. Another option would be skinned trees to make a frame.


I added in trellis netting that Kirk found on Amazon, using a staple gun to attach it firmly.


Then once done, we fertilized the bed with a favorite organic fertilizer, and got set planting things like cucumbers in the back, so they can grow up! In the front are summer squash, which can spill out onto the lawn. I ended up tucking in a few leftover tomato plants as well.


The bed above was at one time the kids play area, which we moved this year. However, we had a 20 by 20 foot square. On the left side is where the greenhouse was going in. As you can see, we dug down quite a bit, for its foundation. We covered the remaining areas with yard fabric, to ensure no weeds getting a chance.


We went a different angle with this bed – we decided to use landscaping timbers, since Kirk had bought a number of them with the above bed. Since this is an “in ground” bed, not a raised bed, we were able to use them. We layed out the area roughly. Then put them together with metal plates and screws. Once ready, we removed the fabric and tilled it, removing rocks and working in fertilizer.


Then it was planting time……


30+ various tomatoes we grew from seeds, along with 9 various bell peppers. As you can also see, the crushed rock/sand has been layed in the walk paths alongside the greenhouse. More to come on that soon! I also added in a walk path, through the center, using salvaged rocks from the bed, and a few pavers I had on hand.

The keyhole bed is one I built last year with salvaged bricks, but put some thought into it over the winter on what direction to take it. It is now the main herb bed.


Since this photo was taken it has fleshed out even more. The summer sun has been great for it! (PS: All those rocks? All dug up out of the beds…..) Use what you have on hand first, then buy….the tightwad’s method to homesteading!

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