J&N Homestead

Our Urban Homesteading Story

Category: Garden

Garden beds are done and planting has begun!

IMG_20160507_120508004_HDRWe have finally finished the major construction and setup of our new garden and have it to the point that we are able to start transplanting the plants we started from seed into the beds. It’s been a long arduous journey but man I think the results speak for themselves!

As you can see, there isn’t much green just yet but boy it’s been a rainy and cold spring so once the weather finally starts to get and stay warm, I think things will start growing like crazy! We ended up tweaking the placement of several crops and I think the final placement is perfect. If you guys are interested, we used the vegetable garden planner from Mother Earth News, it’s a great deal and a great service, highly recommended!

We have a few things that didn’t make the date for the “Phase 1” cutoff so I expect I’ll have quite a few garden-related projects this summer, which should keep me busy. None of this could have been accomplished without the thankless help of my family, they really helped push this to completion when I was running out of steam. In the end, the family was able to build an amazing home garden that I hope will provide many years of food and more importantly, family memories!


Garden beds and dirt, oh my!

IMG_20160402_151455099With the fencing done, it was time to build some garden beds (I didn’t get video or photos, sorry guys) and as with every project I take on, some last minute changes required adaptation of the original plan. We had originally planned to put the gate in the middle of the garden’s long side but later decided to put it off-set to the left corner of the garden which really messed up the layout of the actual garden beds. I ended up just building a 6’x8′ bed and a 6’x6′


First load of dirt!

bed to move the longer 6’x16′ beds out of the way of the gate and provide a nice wide path from the gate to the back of the garden. Building the boxes and reinforcing them with steel brackets went quickly and without issue, I held off on putting the hardware cloth on the bottom of them till the dirt had been delivered. Then yesterday (with the help of my in-laws) we were able to complete three garden beds. You can see in the picture below the first load and the hardware cloth lining the bottom of the beds.


20 cubic yards of soil


Three beds completed!

Fence is done…

I tried to use a single man post hole auger…let’s just say it didn’t work out well for me so I decided to bite IMG_20160310_102733747the bullet and rent some heavy equipment, it worked and worked amazingly. In total, there were 24 post holes to be dug and since we have the equipment we put some extra holes in the ground for the blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry bushes.

Overall the hole digging went without incident, I wish I could say the same about putting in the posts. I had a devil of a time aligning the posts and getting them plumb. I chose to just backfill most of the posts with the red clay that came out, it holds the posts really well although I did use concrete for the gate posts and the two posts supporting the 12′ span in the back of the garden (where the bees will live).

IMG_20160320_135836545_HDRThe fencing went on super quick, I built a fence stretcher (thanks to this great video) which helped reduce the effort in getting the welded wire taunt between the posts. A dozen or so galvanized 1/2″ fence staples held the welded very securely to the posts.

Attaching the horizontal 2×6 planks went very quickly (with the help of my father) and within a few hours we had the top and bottom horizontal planks attached. I really love the look of it, what do you guys think?


Anyone wanna build a garden?


The time has come to begin the construction of our new garden and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been working with a dragon’s breath propane torch to burn the grass and most importantly the insane ivy that was planted as ground cover under the trees. That stuff is nasty and nearly impossible to kill. I’ll be building the fence next, I’m doing 4×4 posts 8′ on center with 48″ welded wire fencing. I’ll eventually run an electrified wire around the top to discourage the raccoons from eating any of our veggies! Anyhow, the grass is burned and the materials for the fencing are in the back of the truck, anyone wanna help out?



Our Garden Plans

Garden Planner-page-001Making the choice to spend more time and energy living your life more sustainably and reconnecting with where our food comes from is an important one and something our family feels very passionate about. It’s not for everyone and there really should be no shame placed on folks that don’t but as we continue to lay concrete on every surface of our planet we must realize that at some point, there won’t be anyplace to grow our food. Sounds silly but it’s exactly what is happening, we are dangerously dependent on massive mono-crop farms to sustain our food demands but I think anyone who educates themselves on that approach will quickly realize it’s not sustainable. Just one of the many reasons you should think about taking whatever steps you can to provide alternative food sources for your family.

So, what are we doing? Well, here is our garden plan, complete with a nice little spot for the bees. There will be some tweaks to what we plant where but the overall design is complete and I’m going to start building it this week so stay tuned as we turn this 2D drawing into reality! Should be entertaining…

Location of our future garden, notice the burned ivy and grass. Invasive ivy was planted and it's hard to kill.

Location of our future garden, notice the burned ivy and grass. Invasive ivy was planted and it’s hard to kill.

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