The Side yard Garden Project Completed-January, 2021

We finished the side yard project this week. This used to be a real mess, with waist-high weeds along the fence in spring and mud in the winter. We wanted it to be more usable, and for there to be a cleaner surface to walk on as we went back and forth into the camper. When we camp, we have to load in our fresh foods and our clothes for the week. We also use the camper fridge as our extra fridge when we buy a large quantity of something that was on sale. We also use the camper for a guest house on the rare occasions that someone visits us over night. Where the raised beds are now, there was a grassy area that was an inconvenience to mow and a wasted area to water, but it’s hooked into the sprinkler system. I wanted to grow more food there instead.

We started last fall. Patsy worked on it for a while, and was paid for her efforts, and then decided it wasn’t her favorite thing, so Rob and I took it on. There were concrete stones, weeds, roots, rocks and dirt to move.

As the fall and winter progressed, we worked at it when we could. There are pebbles where the camper steps stop and red bark for the rest of the area.

Rob built the first raised bed from reclaimed lumber. He had to buy part of the lumber for the second one, but using the scavenged lumber helped bring the cost way down. We saved all the dirt we dug up from the area by the camper to help fill the new beds. The bags are some dirt that was dug up before Rob got the beds built. We saved all the concrete edging stones for another future project. Rob has a plan to put in drip irrigation connected to the in-ground sprinkler system that is already there, and make it as easy to water as the rest of the yard and garden.

We covered the grass under the beds with old cardboard from boxes to discourage weeds, then shoveled in dirt.

A few weeks ago, I put some purchased, enriched soil and some bone meal in the first bed and stirred it up. Then, I planted baby strawberry plants in half of it. This weekend, Rob finished filling the second bed with dirt and more enriched soil. I spread out the rest of the red bark chips and he trimmed off the neighbor’s bushes that had been growing through our fence. The branches were starting to lean out toward the camper, and were a real trial to brush up against after a rain…..quite startling I’ll say when the water went down my neck!

I plan to plant some peas in the empty bed before too many weeks pass. The other half of the strawberry bed will be filled with early spring veggies such as boc choi, spinach and cabbage or more peas. I bought a big package of those. It’s just easier around here to get into a raised bed in early spring since they dry out sooner. The main garden is way too wet. There is good sun here, so I’m excited about what might grow.

The arborvitae look dismal now, but they will leaf out all too soon. I don’t want them anyway–they are the neighbors. He does know we trimmed them off on our side. Rob thought it was just common courtesy to ask permission even though they were growing through onto our side of the fence, and of course he was fine with it.

Since the camper is not at home now, we decided to hustle up and finish the job while it was easier to work in that area. How Rob does it, I’ll never know, but he will back it in there and the steps will open up right where the gravel is, every single time. The door will just barely open, but the slide-out will also open exactly enough to not hit the gutters on the house (about 3 or 4 inches) and there will be enough clearance to get in and out the door. It amazes me every time. Now that the project is done, we won’t track as much mud inside, and I’ll have 2 more beds to grow food in. I should not get water down my neck any more, and Patsy won’t have to man-handle the mower into that inconvenient place anymore. It’s nice to have it done.

12 thoughts on “The Side yard Garden Project Completed-January, 2021”

    1. Thank you! I think it will save me work in the end, as the camper gets really muddy when a constant stream of people tromp through the mud to put things in and get things out:). And, I’m always up for another garden bed or two!

  1. Beautiful work, Becky! I’m in CO, and really want to build a hoop house etc. This spring to extend my season. I think we’re all looking forward to gardening plans after the hard year!!!

    1. I got so much more produce last year than ever before. I am excited to see if I can replicate it, and even add more. With Rob getting fixed up more and more, I’ll bet he will be able to help more with the daily chores such as weeding. Then, we can get more done, since I struggle once I’m trying to both preserve food and keep the weeds down. The weeds always win!

  2. Oh what a wise use of wasted land! Even if you get one bite of food it is better than a truckload of weeds and mud! Good job!

    I have accepted some large tubs which originally held horse feed and will be putting them in the back of my garden. They need painting since some of them are a horrible pink color. My plan is to put them under the shade trees in the unused back part of the garden. I hope to put herbs and flowers in them. I want to try carrots in one of them since the dirt won’t be hard clay with rocks. The drainage hole will be a few inches up from the bottom on the side so they will still hold some water even during dry times.

    1. That’s a great idea. With enough water, I’ll bet it works. With all the rain you guys get, I’ll bet you get enough water:)

  3. Looks great!
    Thanks for the tip about the cardboard boxes. I want to add a couple more raised beds this year, and anything that keeps the weeds down is worth trying.
    Rob does a great job parking that camper! Perfect!

    1. He is amazing at backing up the camper! I could never do that. Once, in my van, I kept backing into a small tree that was “in the way” every time I left my parking space at our previous house. I asked him to take it down, and he did. That’s how is goes with me:)

  4. You are making excellent use of that side yard! I’ve put down a layer of cardboard boxes in my side yard, too, with the hopes of keeping the weeds down. I am also hoping that, once I get the weeds under control, I will be able to use the strip of ground closest to the sidewall to grow a few things. I shall see how that works out!

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