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Backyard vegetable garden setup

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  • May 30th, 2020 11:28 am
[OP]
Member
Jul 30, 2006
212 posts
99 upvotes
Toronto

Backyard vegetable garden setup

Hi guys

When I was a kid, I have fond memory of watering and growing vegetable with my grandparents.
Now I am all grown up and have my own place, I am thinking to perhaps have a small backyard garden to grow vegetables.
However, I am not particularly handy in terms of the wood work, so I am not confident that I can build it myself.
My questions for the experienced growers here, should I even attempt building it myself? If not, any recommendation of contractors to build it?

Thanks!
32 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
Raised beds. Not too difficult. You can buy brackets or you can hammer/screw them together. Just need a saw among other things.
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Nov 17, 2014
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If you have a regular garden bed you could plant a few things and see how you like it before investing time and money into raised beds.
[OP]
Member
Jul 30, 2006
212 posts
99 upvotes
Toronto
This is a pretty good idea actually. Trial run before the investment. What'd be a beginner friendly crop?
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Oct 26, 2002
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You can buy raised garden beds for fairly cheap, easy to put together. Check at Costco, or Costco.ca for some ideas.

For a beginner, it depends on what you like? I have fairly basic, easy, raised gardens. A couple of tomato plants, cucumbers, carrots, radish, lettuce, peppers. All easy to grow. And I have a large herb garden, most of the plants come back every year and I use them a lot in cooking.

I bought this at Costco.ca, you can have the top open or closed. I use the back trellis for growing my cucumbers on. Closed it keeps cats, and deers out.
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Last edited by Keelie on May 27th, 2020 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
That's my 2cents worth
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Have no idea what your back yard is like re: warmth, sun exposure soil, conditions, etc. which helps determine what you can grow. One thing raised beds are potentially and usually good for is warmth. Things get going sooner and faster.
Cream rises to the top. So does scum.
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Oct 13, 2008
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This is our garden in our backyard. Fence is north. Garden south facing. Sun all day.

Tomato plant located beside the Forsythia in the corner.

The slope of the ground helps get the water to the tomatoes and other plants.

Three years ago we planted 4 tomato plants. Too tight of a space. Two years ago we planted 3 tomato plants. Again, the plants got HUGE! The climbed over the fence. Last year we planted 2 tomato plants .... What a waste! Could not reach the back of the plant to harvest. This year, only 1 tomato plant. That should solve the problem. Every year my tomato plants grow well above the fence. Our peppers tend to grow also 2/3rds the height of the fence.

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Let's see how this year goes. One cherry tomato. Two types of lettuce. Chives and green onions and parsley. Various types of hot and sweet peppers. Goji. And Chinese Chives. That's about it.


Initially when we moved in, the garden was built with 2 layers of 4x4. It rotted and I ripped it out. Replaced with cinder blocks and stones. Much more appealing and can contain more water. I had boarded up the lower part of the fence to prevent loss of soil as heavy rains would run the soil out to the plaza behind us.

Soil prep: triple mix plus cattle/sheep manure ... Plus coffee grinds and egg shells.

Flipping the soil: do it a few times once the ground is not frozen. I normally flip three times, before putting in new soil in the spring. Dig deep about 1.5-2 feet deep. I replace some of the soil each spring. Dumping the soil on my lawn. It's already full of nutrients so it feeds the lawn. In the fall, pull out all the roots. And again, flip the soil at least a couple times. Create a couple channels in the soil to hold more snow/ice as when it melts it has more water in the spring.
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Nov 18, 2005
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Built this one for my backyard from 5/4 and 2x4 cedar last week. 8' x 3' x 16" deep. 32" high. Filled with 32 bags of soil and 2 bags of Miracle Grow for top layer. The Miracle Grow stuff had lots of plastic and garbage bits in it so I would not recommend using it. Hopefully it keeps my dog and her rabbit friends out
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Some veggies popping up already. The bigger ones on the left were transplants
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Last edited by Drthorne on May 30th, 2020 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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May 10, 2017
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Drthorne wrote: Built this one for my backyard from 5/4 and 2x4 cedar last week. 8' x 3' x 16" deep. 32" high. Filled with 32 bags of soil and 2 bags of Miracle Grow for top layer. The Miracle Grow stuff had lots of plastic and garbage bits in it so I would not recommend using it. Hopefully it keeps my dog and her rabbit friends out

20200527_070410.jpg
that’s an amazing raised garden bed you‘ve built
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May 28, 2012
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Saskatoon
Grow what you like to eat and start small. Give proper spacing to whatever you grow. Some vegetables require more care that others i.e. anything in the brassica family will need to be either sprayed with bt or covered with mesh to keep out the cabbage moths. Your sun exposure and soil tilth also dictates what you can grow. If you have a lot of shade, sun-loving vegetables will get lanky and not thrive. As a beginner, you need to learn about the watering needs of your plants...too little and they die, too much and the roots rot out. Soil is also important...compacted heavy clay is a challenge but stuff grows in it. Sandy soils don't retain water very well. Check the back of the seed packets to see the days to maturity, some things need to be started way ahead like tomatoes and peppers.

If you aren't used to any yard work or maintenance, you will need to keep on top of the weeds when growing vegetables; that extra competition will decrease your yields and they will take over if you aren't diligent. Good luck. It's very rewarding and fun, especially if you do a bit of research before starting and can experience some success with growing your own food.
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Aug 5, 2008
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Ton of info on-line, and lots of it targeted at newbies. I've been growing lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and herbs in containers for a few years. Last year a built a raised herb garden. This year a 12'x4' raised bed for other veggies... (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) still doing a lot of containers, which is a cheap and easy way to start.

Get 10 gallon cloth bags from Amazon and some tomato seedlings from your local store. Cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow. Large 112L bags of organic soil from Costso for ($18)... that's pretty much all you need to start.

Herbs are the best bang for the buck depending on how much you cook. Lettuce is easy and tastes much better fresh, it's good to do right now (until it gets too warm and it bolts).

Next year you can plan ahead and do your own seedlings for tomatoes... start in late Feb.


MIGardener YouTube Channel has a ton of useful videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVGVbO ... 4wSYS6Y5yQ
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Sep 1, 2005
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A simple raised bed is relatively simple to build even if you're not handy. Buy a 4x4 and have Home depot cut them to size for the corners. Use 2x6 for the walls, 2 courses high will give you around 10" of height. How much height you need depends on what you're growing. Google simple raised garden bed and you'll see some really simple DIY's.
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Sep 1, 2005
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Keelie wrote: You can buy raised garden beds for fairly cheap, easy to put together. Check at Costco, or Costco.ca for some ideas.

For a beginner, it depends on what you like? I have fairly basic, easy, raised gardens. A couple of tomato plants, cucumbers, carrots, radish, lettuce, peppers. All easy to grow. And I have a large herb garden, most of the plants come back every year and I use them a lot in cooking.

I bought this at Costco.ca, you can have the top open or closed. I use the back trellis for growing my cucumbers on. Closed it keeps cats, and deers out.
Don't think I've ever seen that design at Costco.ca...I know someone looking to buy a kit, was this some time ago? How much?
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Feb 7, 2017
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Great thread, and awesome replies by others
But my fave is from @junkmail2002

A true newbie to veggies
Then I recommend starting small
Do some container gardening ... and see how that goes
Before you commit a whole lot of $$ and land / yard space

1 or 2 Tomato Plants
1 or 2 Pepper Plants
A Few Herbs is a great place to start
You can do different varieties... like a Cherry Tomato + a Slicer Tomato
A hot pepper + a sweet pepper

Buy them already in containers from your Grocery Garden Centre
(They’ll be plastic pots w/ cages ... and plants already flowering / setting fruit)
Or grow them from seedlings ... that you then transplant into a couple of 5 Gallon Pails (punch / drill holes in the bottom for drainage )

When I buy seedlings ... I like those found at Grocery Garden Centres like PC+ Loblaws Group (mostly Gigantio )
Or Cdn Tire, Lowe’s, Home Depot etc (mostly Bonnie Plants)

Start small
See how it goes this your first summer
You can add more / make adjustments every year after as your experience / confidence grows

Gardening is a great hobby
But it requires commitment
You’ll be tending to things every 2nd day at least
Daily ... when the temps are truly hot and humid
Watering is the biggest commitment

But the rewards & sense of accomplishment is huge

Of course you can start bigger
But ... often that’s more overwhelming
And peeps get discouraged if there is a failure
(When things go wrong ... they often go really wrong )
Like say the critters dig up all your bed
Much easier to manage things if it’s just a few pots to worry about

Frost or Hail forecast, you can bring your pots indoors etc
Not have to worry about a whole bed of veggies getting ruined
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gr8dlr wrote: Don't think I've ever seen that design at Costco.ca...I know someone looking to buy a kit, was this some time ago? How much?
I've had it 2 years, I know they had it last year because someone I know liked it so much they bought one. It was in the $500 range but I got it on sale for $200 off. Stained it myself after it was put together.

I see the same one at wayfair but for quite a bit more.
That's my 2cents worth
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Curious about a several things raised bed related...I had to answer these questions when I built mine five years ago.

> cedar or pressure treated wood? Some ppl say pressure treated is perfectly fine even around veggies but there are many who say 'no way jose'.
> lining the walls - plastic or no plastic? I suppose this goes hand in hand with the first question - ie if you say no to pressure treated, you're likely to say no to plastic
> type of soil in beds - we've found that lighter soil like seeding soil is better if you're seeding things like lettuce. If you're doing matured seedlings, you can go with 'heavier' soil but again things grow faster in lighter soil but you have to water more often....maybe a layered approach is the way to go.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Jun 12, 2008
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We don't have raised beds. We borrowed a rototiller and picked a spot in our yard. Some years we garden and some we don't so we just plant grass when we don't want a garden.
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Nov 7, 2012
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gr8dlr wrote: Curious about a several things raised bed related...I had to answer these questions when I built mine five years ago.

> cedar or pressure treated wood? Some ppl say pressure treated is perfectly fine even around veggies but there are many who say 'no way jose'.
> lining the walls - plastic or no plastic? I suppose this goes hand in hand with the first question - ie if you say no to pressure treated, you're likely to say no to plastic
> type of soil in beds - we've found that lighter soil like seeding soil is better if you're seeding things like lettuce. If you're doing matured seedlings, you can go with 'heavier' soil but again things grow faster in lighter soil but you have to water more often....maybe a layered approach is the way to go.
I'm about to upgrade my garden with planters. There are so many people on FB marketplace selling various sizes as well as custom.
But from my research it's a lot cheaper to DIY, if you're ok with a little cutting, drilling, and screwing.

To answer some of your questions:
1. Cedar... It's actually cheaper than PT and theres no risk for leeching chemicals into your garden. Though, soil tends to act as a buffer for any contaminants, there is a possibility for it to leech.
2. I would shy away from plastic. Landscape fabric can be used and it won't contain all the water as much which could lead to root rot.
3.Whatever the plant, try to avoid dense soils. Just add a bag of peatmoss to loosen up and give the soil some air for the roots to take. But layering would be the way to go.

Another thing you have to consider is the size of the planter. I just read someone filled their planter with 35 bags of soil. Thats a lot of damn soil and majority of the time the plants roots don't even reach the bottom. So with the layering idea and depending on the height of your planters. Put some pieces of wood/brush to fill up half. Then top with regular topsoil to fill the voids. Keep the last 1/3rd or quarter with the good stuff. Triple mix and whatever voodoo fertilizers you would want to use.
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Mar 8, 2002
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Use a few big pots this summer, just to see if this lark suits you. Cherry tomatoes are simple to grow but I believe they're tough to find in TO this year.

Tons of people selling planters on Kijiji/Facebook if you want something bigger.
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