Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Backyard gardening and projects

Something we long wanted to do here, is to grow our own vegetables.
We never had the time, so the plan was always, once I retire....

Well, I have been retired since 2013 and there is no more health crisis looming on the horizon, so this is the year.

As Jean and I are planning the landscaping of the back yard, realizing our plans are, well, not cheap :-), we decided on a phased approach.

This year we will set up our gardens to produce both vegetables and to grow some flowers for the numerous flower beds.
First up was her pop-up greenhouse, roughly were we think it should go, then setting up raised gardens.

Then we got a load of woodchips for around the trees and beds

Big bag of wood chips being loaded in her pick up truck

It quickly became obvious that buying raised gardens made of recycled PVC was more economical. Yes, it could be done cheaply using pressure treated lumber, but I don't like the idea of dangerous chemicals leaching in my vegetable thank you... I am not a big fan of pressure treated wood. Would love Western Red cedar, but its kinda pricy here on the East coast..

Add to this that one of these raised garden kit is expandable and has a frame and removable greenhouse cover and other accessories, such as a framed treillis for tall veggies and the math is a no brainer. It also greatly facilitate setting it up, not having to rototill and etc.

Instant gardens, some assembly required...

Once we sorta figured out where the yard features would be: Trees, new deck and new garden shed, sitting area under a pergola, water feature and etc...  We knew where to set them up by the greenhouse. I also bought a Veg-Trug with its attached covered greenhouse cover and another cover to keep the pest off, during the hot summer months. This will be set up behind the raised gardens.

Add a rain barrel to feed an automatic Solar drip watering system and a portable sink in the green house (fed from the house) and we are in business.... :-)

First we set up the two 4 X 4 ft raised gardens

That took, one pick up truck load of soil, transferred 
with 5 trailer loads behind my tractor  

Both raised gardens filled, awaiting raking.

My friends on Facebook commented that I do not seems to be working too hard, not appearing in any of these pics. Thats was only because I'm the one that stop once in a while to take the pics :-) Thank god for John Deere and Ibuprofen, oh and of course how can I forget my good friend Voltaren extra strength ...

After a few days of torrential rain, I went back today and started the seeding of our first vegetable garden: Cucumber, basil, yellow bean, green bean, radish 

Phew those seeds were heavy, thankfully I got my trailer out :-)

Next up to go would be the Veg-Trug, which just got delivered today.  I have of course a few woodworking related projects to make this all happened: A raised platform for the rain barrel, a post for the automatic watering system and a small gardening tool shed on a post besides the gardens.

Later we will plant a tree in Heather's memory so I can cut down the tree by the house deck and replace the deck by a bigger one (probably next year)
Before this happens, I must build a new access road to my back yard to bring in heavy material.  I will also need that access to bring in tons of paver bricks for the walk ways and etc.
Then there is the fencing around the back yard for Rudy and a gated arbor trellis for the garage side of the house.

Finally a water feature (type yet undetermined) and a fancy cooking area, love the idea of having a wood stove in the yard...

Annual Canadian ritual of paying our taxes :-)
Yes, pic is the Manneken pis from Belgium

But first I am waiting for the taxman final assessment to know how much I can afford this year... :-(
There goes my tools budget, yet one more time. Its a good thing I have enough tools to keep me going in the mean time :-)

Bob, the backyard planner looking for a cold one


  1. Bob,

    You are a better man than I. The most yard work MsBubba can get out of me is to write the check.


  2. I built a raised bed garden in my old back yard from redwood 2x12. Lined it with plastic to keep the wood from rotting prematurely (not sure if that helped). Pressure treated wood was not an option for the same reasons you stated.

  3. Best regards from Brussels.
    I have a very small garden in town (about 5mX15m).
    I write the check and I do the holes, planting and removing of plants.
    It tends to be a tiny jungle because my wife never wants me to prune what needs it.

  4. Did you have to make two trips with the seeds?
    Home improvements like walk ways, gardens, decks, etc raise the taxes up north?

  5. Hi Ken
    Yap, we do pretty well everything ourselves, but i sort of cheated and bought raised beds kits :-) the big plan is to stay in this house another 10 years then move on to some retirement community in a city. Therefore we want to enjoy it soonest. I will then divert funds from my tool budget for a while to make it happen soonest .
    I should add that Jean grew up on a greenhouse so she has "many ideas" about my yard :-)

    Bob, the landscaper who could not do it without his tractor

  6. Hi Sylvain
    Always good to hear from you. I am sure you recognized that "water feature" :-)
    The more i think about it, the more i think it would be suitable in my decor. I think i shall call it, my ode to the taxman :-)

    Bob, whose retirement income comes from me

  7. Matt
    Im not sure the plastic liner would have protected the redwood nor that it would had been necessary, but it would had help keep the mess contained.
    My Veg-Trug have a breathable poly fabric liner, the raised beds required none.
    I am hoping that these recycled PVC beds last a long time, but i am sure they should be. Once we finally moved, we will keep the Veg-Trug, but maybe a smaller version. They make a small one for balcony if you live in a condo or appartment.
    Likewise, i will keep a small hand tool kits with me

    Bob, planing his retirement years

  8. LOL Ralph, yes i has to make two the store :-)
    Yes, property improvements can raised your property taxes (municipal). The deck, the garden shed and my new driveway would all require permits. There is a $300 refundable fee just for the culvert, which i found out is rather expansive to build. Can you say "monopoly".... i also want to paved my driveway, but that would be quite a few tools worth of my budget, gulp!! But in the end, all of these improvements have been in the plans ever since we bought this place. I will just do it phase by phase over a few years to afford it all. But we want to enjoy it soonest...before moving on

    Bob, who has a spreadsheet going for his bright plans :-)