We moved into this house almost 5 years ago. We looked at the backyard and it promptly went onto the too-hard basket. We had attempted our hands at growing before, but things never really stuck around (read: We killed it all). We were much more successful at growing veges, but we didn’t know when to harvest them until it was too late (overly woody broccoli, I’m looking at you). Gardening didn’t come naturally, so when we moved here, there was no hurry to get things going. I mean, this was the state of our poor neglected Aloe Vera.
Plus, I didn’t know what I want. It’s a lot harder to figure out what to do when you have no clue what you wanted the backyard to look like. We already had a peach tree in the corner; I had the dodgy shed that came with the house torn down and rebuilt; we got the pavers redone and along with that, had a huge portion of the raised beds redone too as the original layout was really poorly thought out. Beyond that, I was as clueless as they come.
I started in little bits and pieces. We had two metal garden beds from our previous house that I wasn’t quite prepared to sell on. I needed to find a use for them. So after much thought, we got the gardener to dig them into the existing raised beds. My plan was to put a herb bed into the soil around the metal beds and use the metal beds themselves for seasonal crops.
Unfortunately I didn’t think to take photos at the very beginning of our gardening journey. We first started doing something about the backyard around Easter 2017. So it’s been a full year! Since then the garden has changed remarkably. Back then I knew nothing about soil prepping, didn’t know what all the different tools were for, hadn’t even heard of companion planting and couldn’t even get my seeds to not die once it was past the seedling stage. It’s been a full year of reading, learning and experimenting. Lots of experimenting!
This is the only pic I can find that shows the herb bed in its early stages. This particular side of the herb bed is filled with Oregano and Rosemary. Since then I’ve added Chives, Parsley, Coriander, Catnip and Nasturtium. In the photo below (which was taken this morning), you can just see the Nasturtium peeking over the metal beds. The Oregano has also grown really well over the spring and summer, so much so that I decided to remove the white plastic fencing in the end so they could continue to grow.
The metal beds are still empty as I am concentrating on everything around it for now. As they will be seasonal produce, I don’t plan on starting them till I have all my permanent plants in. Beyond the Oregano, I plan on planting more ground cover, but that won’t happen till I’ve put some pavers in to create a path around the Peach tree. The Peach tree is waiting for winter to be pruned before that job can happen – I’m impatient!!
Here’s the other side of the herb bed. I have Lemon Balm, Feverfew, Thyme, Basil, Sage and Spring Onion on this side. This is a much more recent photo as well which is why the plants are fair bit bigger.
Along the way, I’ve learnt about permaculture, about companion planting and now I am burning with desire, motivation and inspiration to turn my little slice of soil in my backyard into a nature wonderland. There’s so much more I could say, but I think I will leave it till next time. My goals are to put in 18 fruit trees, countless herbs and to be even 25% self sufficient through my backyard, if not more.
Here’s a few more pics of how the other part of the garden looks like! Oh and by the way, that aloe vera from the top? It survived. We manage to rescue it and now it’s been popping up lots of babies and even flowers.