Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Veggie Patch - The long long planning stage

This is the beginning of a story of what has become more than just a patch to grow veggies.   Even saying that i tell myself that it sound too grand a statement but then i think you need to understand that I've spent many years putting off my own hearts desires to serve my family.  It seemed easier to acquiesce to their many wants and needs rather than my own and so I found myself in the middle of last year, middle aged, stressed, resentful, tired, overweight and feeling very unappreciated and yes, even unloved.  A few sessions of therapy later and i discovered that the person not loving me the most was in fact me.   We discussed my options of how to find ME again and how to bring pleasure that was just for ME (nope, don't go there, this is about veggies and THAT was another session).


So the long long journey back to childhood began (i did tell you i was middle aged, didn't i) and in doing so I rediscovered the pleasure i had in being raised on a farm that provided everything for our large family and the many many lessons i learnt by my mothers side on growing and making our own food and being self sufficient.  We were what would be considered today"dirt poor" in monetary terms but in all other ways we were so so rich.  At the time i remembered wanting things but now i cant remember what they were because i had everything i needed. It was also around that time that i discovered a certain blog that i think most of us follow - It was Rhonda's Down to Earth.   I devoured it, the book and the other blogs that she also followed and found a kinship of shared values and a hope that life can be richer without the consumption of "things we don't really need".   I felt a bit foolish at being a victim of marketing and media and the years of waste where i could have paid my mortgage off but didn't.  The short story is i started planning a veggie garden. 

Did I Say PLAN?

You don't think i just went out into the backyard and put a shovel in the ground, do you?  No, no no - that would have been easy and way too uncomplicated.  I'm an Accountant.  I had to plan, and plan and plan for months.  Researching every possible type of bed,  raised or not, what materials to use, what was the cost of the beds, materials, seedlings and on and on and on.   I measured up every cm of available back yard and graphed it, making sure that i had enough space between the bed for the width of the lawnmower and that they were facing the same right way, they were at the right height etc.   I wasn't planning for now, i was thinking of my years of retirement, no future bending for me.  When i took that plan to my first ever permaculture course held over a weekend (still researching) i could see the amusement.  "Just Plant Something" they seemed to be saying behind grinning faces but i think i procrastinated at this stage because i was scared of not being able to meet my own high standards and looking foolish.  Gosh, there are some self esteem issues going on here, isn't there.   I drove everyone mad i am sure, just talking and talking and talking about what i was going to do.

That's right - you didn't think it was just a graph - it was a whole folder with suppliers, course to attend, recipes of what i would make with the veggies - bit of an overkill?
 I knew that my my garden had to look good to the eye.  Not only for myself but also for the others in my family.   They are definitely not into the recycled look though many of you have made them look wonderful.  The back yard was just a blank space filled with very thick Kikuyu grass that had in years past cushioned the knees of children playing.  It was tough and drought resistant (unlike the front turf) and nothing killed it (don't i know it now).  It hasn't been used for any purpose for years and is totally out of view given that there are no windows at the back of the house.  Other than to mow and pick up Peppy's little poos, we had no reason to go out there.

I decided on raised corrugated beds of various sizes.  I was about to push the buy button online when one  the engineers at work said, "hang on, we do have a sheet metal factory out there you know".   So my one bed (all i could afford) soon became many and we built them rather than bought them.  I'm sorry to all the people who have bought them but the materials to make them cost very little.  The price of that one box has in fact covered the materials for all 8 of them, with change.   Instead of curved ends, mine are just boxes or rectangles so i just ordered in the corrugated iron pieces in the sizes and colours i wanted.  The engineer designed a strong corner piece that was cut and shaped in the factory and then onto the powder coating team.  We had a production line going and soon i wasn't the only staff member with raised garden beds.  I am very lucky to work with such great guys and to have these facilities available to me. 

1250mm X 1250mm x 900mm high

We used door sealer that has metal in it that crimps the top of the iron so it wasn't sharp.

There are 4 raised at 900mm and 4 that are at 450cm with trellises.   The fence still needs a makeover. 

I love the color of these two and didnt my Hubby build some nice wall trellises. 
 That's it for this post but i will give you a sneak peak at the future - Im not the only one who spends alot of time in the back yard these days. 

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz.  


  1. Oh my!!!! I love love love these! So cool. How did you fill them?

    1. Thats the next post - I need to slow down, im going to run out of words. LOL Like that would happen!

  2. LOVE your beds. They're the posh version of my recycled shed corrugated iron ones, complete with sharp edges and jaggedy bits from the angle grinder. ;) I too adore the gorgeous blue bed. Stunning colour. :)
    With your kikuyu, there is only 1 way to prevent it growing through your garden beds... Remove the bloody lot. It's awful stuff as if it meets a barrier it just sends out its arms and finds the one and only weakness in a 100 mile radius, exploits it outrageously and takes over the world *insert evil laugh*. When we moved out of our last place we looked at the front gardens taken over completely and utterly by the wretched stuff and the rose bushes tenaciously growing in the middle of the grass and decided it was easier to remove the roses than the grass. It was a shockingly hard task to remove the roses! At least now the tenants can just mow the garden beds.
    You will have to share more of your story growing up and the way you and your family did things. There is so very much we can learn from the past and the "old ways" of doing things.
    Working my way from most recent back through your blog and loving it. :) BTW, is there a "subscribe by email" button?


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