Backyard garden month in review: August – September 2018

garden session update 2018

Welcome to the first of hopefully many monthly updates on the progress of my backyard garden.  The goal of this series is to document two things: lessons learned and yield from the garden. What did I learn from the garden this month? I’m an absolute beginner when it comes to outdoor box gardening so I wanted to provide some of the problems I’ve run into in the garden.  I hope documenting these issues helps solve them in the long term. Here are some of the problems I plan to work through in the coming months. Staking plants My cherry tomato

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Calculate the grocery savings of your backyard garden

You hear it all the time from your friends that garden: “you will save soooooo much money growing your own food!”  Part of my interest in backyard gardening was testing that idea.  Can you actually get ahead growing your own food at home compared to the grocery store after factoring in your garden costs? Calculating what goes into the garden is easy.  Just save the numerous receipts from Home Depot, Amazon, and so forth and throw them into a spreadsheet.  In fact, that’s what I did right here!  However, calculating what you get out of your garden is a bit

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Keeping rabbits out: installing a garden fence

garden fence

Rabbits are a scourge for the backyard garden.  While cute, they can wreck absolute havoc to both seedlings and mature plants.  Rabbits have a voracious appetite and can turn a flourishing garden into a stunted wasteland rather quickly. There are multiple methods with varying degrees of effectiveness for keeping rabbits out of the garden.  While we will cover these alternative methods, fencing your garden is the single best solution for keeping these pests away from your fruits and vegetables. Other rabbit prevention options: repellent or elimination Repellent can be effective for keeping rabbits away from your garden.  Rabbits are sensitive

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How much does a backyard garden cost?

backyard garden cost

Interested in building a garden in your backyard but unsure of the total cost?   We went from a boring overgrown lawn to garden boxes growing food!  You can check out the full build series here!  I constantly hear how much money gardening can save, but never hear about the total cost associated with getting everything setup.  Here is a full accounting of the costs that went into the six-part garden series:   Irrigation If you are converting a traditional sprinkler watered lawn, you can utilize the existing irrigation system for your garden boxes!  I did exactly that, but made a few

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The Practical Guide to the Kratky Method – Part 2: Initial Set-up

The beauty of the Kratky method is its hands-off nature. It does require some sweat equity to get started, however. Specifically, you’ll need to put together a growing apparatus. That may sound expensive, but really it is just a few plastic storage containers with some holes cut in them and possibly some lights and pest repellent. This article will walk you through the first time set-up procedures for setting up your own growing equipment. Outdoor vs Indoor Before you get too far, you need to decide where you will be growing your plants. Kratky plants can be grown indoors or

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Efficient backyard garden – Part 6: Drip Irrigation

Watering your garden by hand sucks.  It can take a considerable amount of time and is easy to forget about when paired with an already busy schedule. A drip system solves this problem.  On vacation away from the house?  Dark out after you get home late from the office?  Doesn’t matter, the drip system will dutifully follow your programming and keep your plants watered and happy. If you missed our initial irrigation layout article, I recommend reading that first.  Adding a drip system to a pre-existing setup is dead simple.   Understanding how a drip system works The most basic

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Efficient backyard garden – Part 5: Soil

soil garden boxes

Now that our garden boxes are built and placed, it’s time to fill them with soil! You may think all you need to do is go down to the local hardware store and pick up some basic potting soil.  You could, but you likely will spend more money and won’t have the highest quality ingredients. This post will look at calculating how much soil you need, different popular soil blends, and finally filling our garden boxes with soil.  Let’s get started! Garden box soil calculator: How much soil do I need Before we start diving into what we are going

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The Practical Guide to the Kratky Method – Part 1: Introduction

Do you want to grow lots of lettuce, but are constantly hampered by the fact that it’s either too hot or too cold? How about the fact that lettuce is just about the favorite garden plant for bugs to eat? Or – do you want to try your hand at hydroponics, but don’t want to spend a fortune on tubs, pumps, filters and other supplies? Utilizing the Kratky method of hydroponic farming is a great solution to all of these problems. In this series of articles, I’ll walk you through the ins and outs of putting together your own Kratky

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Efficient backyard garden – Part 4: Garden Boxes

garden boxes featured

After destroying the yard and adding irrigation, it’s time to make space for our plants.  While you could carve out rows and plant right into the existing ground, you may not have much success.  Pests, lack of soil control, and poor drainage can make for a frustrating gardening experience.  However, building raised garden boxes is an easy way to prevent many of these issues. Garden boxes give you control of the soil, allow for proper drainage, and are raised off the ground from common pests and animals.  They are an easy way to organize your garden at a minimal cost. 

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Free seeds: planting your garden cheaply

If your goal is to save money by growing vegetables at home, why not try and source some free seeds?  This can help reduce some of the upfront costs of starting your garden.   Seed packets from garden supply stores go for around $1-$2 a pack.  While not prohibitively expensive, the costs can add up if you want a variety of plants in your garden.  Finding a local source for seeds can provide you with a wide range of garden vegetables at a much more affordable cost. Additionally, many of these options provide a way to meet other local gardeners.  This

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