September 8, 2008 at 7:29 am #245029
I am SO glad I found this group because trust me, I’d probably have tried to serve the family up weeds or something… Actually found you guys via a Yahoo Group called The Veggie Patch (primarily US-based, as far as I can see) and a wonderful Aussie lady there (hi Lady B!) directed me here. So in short, my life (well, vegie patch) is in your hands!
Okies…the intro. Married, three kids, live in Adelaide’s southern suburbs (not too far from the foothills) and have NEVER attempted vegetable gardening before. No, strike that – I grew a tomato plant once but it died before I harvested anything.
We have clay soil here so I got interested in the idea of no-dig gardening. I was all set to follow instructions on this site: http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/index.html until a guy on that US group basically told me it wouldn’t work (something about not enough ‘green’ material?). Hmmm. So here I am, asking you guys.
Would love to hear of others’ experiences with growing vegies in raised no-dig beds, what is REALLY needed in terms of layers and whether the end result (productivity) is decent. Given my poor track record with gardening my husband is just a TAD less enthused about the whole idea of buying materials for the beds and I certainly don’t want to go off a hundred miles and hour to find out I’ve done it all wrong – must not give the man any more fuel! LOL.
I have two areas set aside for possible beds – both are approx 4m long by 1.4 (short end) to 1.8m (long end) wide….part of existing (curved) regular-type garden beds which are currently bare. Our house faces east at a slight angle and these beds run pretty much north-south with a standard block boundary fence on their western side. They get mostly morning, midday and early afternoon sun (the morning sun as soon as the sun rises over the house high enough, but that’s fairly early) but the shadow from the fence begins to creep over perhaps around 3pm. I’ve calculated this to get at least 6 hours sun and practically-speaking, its the best spot although other areas in the garden get slightly more sun.
I also need to start some compost bins off – starting all this gardening stuff off completely from scratch, auughh – and wondered about the best way – commercial ‘bin’ type deals (I would want two – one to ‘cook’ and one to ‘build’) or simple chicken wire and metal stake ‘boxes’. Would love to see photos of both others’ compost bins and no-dig beds.
Oh, and the more cheaply I can do this, the better. Am struggling coming up with a good way to border the beds – we had a few old sleepers lying around I was going to use but discovered they were white ant damaged. New sleepers (of which I’d want to go two high, so potentially would need lots!) are RIDICULOUSLY expensive, putting it out of my reach. Want something sturdy. Thought about discarded bricks, if I could source them for free or a pittance (so far, no luck). Similarly, never having done this before, no idea where the best places for supplies are…have just been checking out Bunnings, Big W’s garden section etc…clearly not the cheapest way to go. Any help on this much appreciated.
That’ll do it for now. Looking forward to jumping in!
LizzieSeptember 8, 2008 at 7:45 am #368500baringaparkMember
welcome to the siteSeptember 8, 2008 at 7:47 am #368501Tassie TigerMember
You sound as though you have the right sort of basic knowledge to get started. Can I suggest you don’t start on too big a scale as this can be frustrating and overwhelming. Remember you are creating something which will need your TLC and time to be successful.
I found most of my materials by letting friends and neighbours know what I was doing. Its amazing how much stuff is hidden in peoples backyards and can be had for nothing or by bartering eg cleaning up their yard in return for the materials. Building site skips can be another good source. I would steer away from the Bunnings etc as you say very expensive and you would not be recycling materials.
I used old roofing iron and old water tanks for my raised beds. Just filled them up with old newspaper, compost, horse manure etc. I also find mushroom compost and sheep manure to be great starters for veggies.
Compost. I have had the tumble bins and the shop bought square ones but have found the most effective to be hay bayles on the ground to form the sides with a piece of carpet over the top and regular turning to be the most effective method.
Welcome and enjoy your journey.
I wish you enough.:tup:
WayneSeptember 8, 2008 at 8:33 am #368502smiffyMember
I use small pallet we get at work for compost bins , I get four star posts and use four pallets for sides , just hammer the star post thru the gap in the pallets . Easy to dismantle and move.
I also compost direct on the garden bed as i have clay soil so want to build it up . I markout a bed with rocks and pile everything in , weeds , grassclippings , chook poo etc ….turn it regularly and water it ends up lovely all ready for planting.September 8, 2008 at 8:39 am #368503weaverMember
Hi Lizzie and welcome.
I always wanted to be a gardener and had a couple of attempts over many years but didnt persevere. My grandfather was a wonderful gardener and kept us in vegies when we were growing up, I credit him with my garden joy. My brother is a landscape gardener and is no help whatsoever to me :(. Anyway about 5 years ago we moved out of town onto 20m acres of compacted paddock. I started small with one no dig bed and now have 16 beds and plans for 3 wicking beds this spring. I also have fruit trees and my beloved chooks along with a menagerie of other animals. I find I can grow great vegies but cannot keep decorative plants alive to save myself -unless they have a vegie in their name (sweet peas and cornflowers). I spend a couple of hours per week in my garden and have infected my husband and my 12 year old daughter with the bug. Even 14 year old son is appreciating the great tasting vegies. It can be done just start small expect a few failures and keep at it. Just a few minutes each day once you have done the hard establishment work and you wil be rewarded with bountiful harvests :clap:
Enjoy this site it has wonderful information
WeaverSeptember 8, 2008 at 8:45 am #368504GiannaMember
G’day Lizzie & welcome. :wave:September 8, 2008 at 9:03 am #368505Comfortable HippyMember
welcome lizzie 😀September 8, 2008 at 9:11 am #368506roundthebendMember
Hello Lizzie, from another heavy clay gardener;)………..a good place to look for garden edging material is your local tip shop/recycle area.
There is a gardeners saying about the soil
sand gives the least backache but the most heartache
clay gives the most backache and the least heartache;)September 8, 2008 at 9:13 am #368507Lady BeeMember
Fantastic that you joined Lizzie. I hope you’ll find all the answers you need here. There’s some great ideas, some wonderful people and we’re all still learning.
BarbSeptember 8, 2008 at 9:15 am #368508
Oh wow…thanks so much for the welcome guys – amazing the difference between here and the (frustratingly-delayed) moderated Yahoo Group I spoke of earlier. Half a day to even see my post up and then another half to a full day for any reply. Couple hours here and ta-da! Awesome.
I soooooo badly struggle with the ‘wanting to jump in with both feet’ thing. I probably falsely figure that its better to build both beds at the same time, plant most of what I want (that will grow in this season) now, and so on. You gals (and guys) are going to tell me to slow down, aren’t you? Auuugh, LOL.
Okay, next question – best vegies to begin with? Tomatoes are a given, and I intend buying seedlings and planting those out this first year (perhaps from seed next time)…long weekend in October. I’d also like to get some beans growing this year. Dearly love to also try capsicums. Maybe potatoes….see what I mean? I’m a bit worried by the time I get the beds done (and leave it a couple of weeks to settle) and have seeds grown to seedling stage (which I’d have to start ASAP) it will be mid-October and I may have missed the boat somewhat. Kind of seems like most of it should be done by early Oct.
So yeah – steer me in the right direction, oh wise and green-thumbed ones!
LizzieSeptember 8, 2008 at 9:19 am #368509
Oh, gardener friend of my inlaws suggested old tyres for growing potatoes and said that a quick call to Bridgestone or Bob Jayne would net me a few for free. I’m hoping this is true, but then it got me thinking – love the idea of a tank bed…the smaller oval sizes cut in half would be perfect, easy to reach from both sidea, the depth will be great (was worried sleepers would be too shallow) and I could probably fit three in that space (4m x 1.4m) by setting them up as ‘rows’. Except where on earth do I find those and CHEAPLY? Not often tank manufacturers voluntarily leave half tanks lying around! They’re not usually something sold in halves!
LizzieSeptember 8, 2008 at 9:44 am #368510BobbeeMember
Hi Lizzie and welcome to ALS :wave:
I think I read somewhere on here that tyres leach nasties into the soil. I may be wrong but someone else will put you right. :tup:
All the best. :metal:September 8, 2008 at 9:54 am #368511weaverMember
Deep breath Lizzie
Tomatoes, maybe some parsley around the edges, a capsicum or 2 and some basil should start you off. I have heard the tyre thing too but then heard that it is easy to leave spaces inside the tyres and provide a lovely ready made home for mice who will eat you tatos :jawdrop: and as I absolutely hate mice I made my own tato towers with old palletts and they work a treat.
WeaverSeptember 8, 2008 at 11:31 am #368512creekerMember
G’day Lizzie and welcome :wave:
Knowing what the sh*thouse Adelaide clay soils are like, you might like to have a read thru Scarecrow’s ALS Garden Log about wicking beds — you can combine your growing bed with your compost bed, which is great if you have limited space available.
I don’t have this problem, which is a problem in itself sometimes :pSeptember 8, 2008 at 1:07 pm #368513KaffMember
Hi Lizzie, from another South Aussie. I agree with the straw bales, (I’ve tried lots of things, but in Adelaide’s hot, dry summers straw bales really, really worked – and fast!) the starting with a small patch (our growing season is so loooong you’ll have all you want by this time next year) and Scarecrow’s Blog. But the greatest of these is Scarecrow’s Blog. She has similar conditions to us for growing vegies and is most helpful.
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