Turning a Flowerbed into a Vegetable Garden, Part One

I’ve been a little busy the last couple of weeks.  When the weather is good in the Pacific Northwest we go outside, and that is where I went.  One of my goals this year is to transform my backyard flowerbed into a vegetable garden.  My backyard flowerbed is nicely sized and should make a very nice garden, but it is terribly overgrown with buttercups, weeds, out-of-control ajuga and lemon balm, wild salmon and black berry bushes.  Due to a foot problem that I had for about five years and having to work part-time for almost 3 years to pay for our daughter’s college bill, I have been unable to do much yard work.  My foot has improved and I quit my job so I could come home to grow my own vegetables and take care of myself and my family.  Therefore, this flowerbed has to be removed to make room for raised beds for a vegetable garden.

Here is what I’m facing.  Ugh!  Not much of a flowerbed, huh?  🙂

But I have my homemade kombucha on hand for energy and my manual tools of choice, The Garden Claw and a four-tine cultivator, to loosen the soil and make for easier removal of the plants and weeds.  Let’s get to work!

My first goal is to make a hedge of a double row of onions.  This will be placed in the front and middle of the bed and is supposed to keep bunnies at bay because onions have a strong smell and may mask the smell of bunny delicacies.  We’ll see if it works for me.  I also practice companion planting and need to keep the onion family from beans as they don’t get along.  The beans will be planted at the back of the bed as far away from the onions as possible.  I also interspersed other root crops (carrots and beets) above the onion hedge.

Because of my health issues, I have to take it slow and in small chunks.  The above was completed in two days.  On day three I spent two 1 1/2 hour chunks removing overgrowth.  Here’s what it looked like after the first segment:

As I was working on weed removal, my dear husband removed several stumps and heavy berry roots.  Here’s what it looked like by the end of the day:

On day four I recovered Peony Corner and planted some lemon balm in the gap between the house and the rhododendron to try to confuse the bunnies again.  I can’t plant onions here because I will be planting beans right next to this area.  This afternoon I will finish up with weed removal and plan where to put the garden boxes.

Last segment to be completed for this round:

I discovered some blueberry bushes I had planted several years ago that I forgot about.  Bonus!  Behind the blueberry bushes is a hibiscus I planted from seed that was brought from our last house.  It’s a keeper, but we’ll probably move it in the fall.  The large bush is a globe thistle that I will keep because it attracts butterflies and the seeds feed the birds in the winter.  Weed removal is done for now and here is the result:

And the whole bed looks like this:

The orange azalea tree will stay right where it is to shade cool weather plants in the summer.  A small rock border was started to keep unsuspecting feet out of the onion, carrot and beet bed.  When my dear husband got home from work, I asked if he would make some raised beds from scrap wood.  He agreed, so I took a measuring tape, pen, and paper outside with me to plot out my beds.  Then I helped him recover several 2 X 4s and after about an hour we had this:

All ready for soil amendments and fill which will wait until tomorrow.  Due to the extensive information involved I’ll cover that in the next post and will share my planting plan which includes companion and intensive planting as well as gardening by the moon.  I hope this has helped give you some inspiration and encouragement to start or continue your gardening efforts.  May God bless you!

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Homestead Barn Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Real Food Wednesday, Little House in the Suburbs DIY Friday, The Hearth and Soul Hop