Backyard to food forest

Lucas

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Got a good amount covered today despite the rain, what better time to mulch than when it's wet!

Also planted 2 apples & an apricot tree.
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Thought I should take a picture of the current soil I have as well so I can compare as time goes by. A couple of years of wood chips should bring it to life.
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Yes i have poor soil as well
I live in Nillumbik shire which was named in the 1830's the term nyilum bik meaning "Bad Earth" in the local Aboriginal language Woiwurrung.
all i can say is mulch mulch mulch with anything and everything
Cheers
 

AndrewB

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That's what I'm planning Lucas, I'll leave a small patch of lawn, as my dog loves laying in the grass watching me while I'm gardening, then the rest will be covered in wood chips.

Put in another bed today & seeded it with carrots & radish. The leftover soil I spread out & planted some leeks & beetroot.

I also added the posts & wires for the fruit trees & started training them.
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Wedgetail

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Hi Andrew your yard is coming along really good well done. Dave
 
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AndrewB

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Another big weekend ahead, just picked up a heap more sleepers for more garden beds. These ones are micropro sienna treated pine. They are pre colored, so I don't have to spend hours staining them.

The treatment is Copper/Azole, which is apparently the best of the options in regards to the environment, I'll still be putting a plastic barrier on them anyway though.

I also need to build a wall in this outdoor area & put a couple of gates in so my dog can spend more time outside lazing in the sun & chasing the birds away.

Then there is more mulching to do, always more mulching :)

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AndrewB

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Another 3 beds added & filled today, paths mulched & soil added along the fence line for where I'll be planting the Manuka trees I ordered.

Planted some more herbs & perennials around the place. I haven't planted any seeds in the new beds yet, I may transplant some of the Chinese cabbage seedlings over to them, as they will be crowding each other out before too much longer.

I've been using the Charles Dowding method for the beds, which is super easy. I scored a heap of big cardboard boxes from work on Friday that were prefect for it.

I've decided to take tomorrow off for a well earned rest!

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Vicky

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That's what I'm planning Lucas, I'll leave a small patch of lawn, as my dog loves laying in the grass watching me while I'm gardening, then the rest will be covered in wood chips.

Put in another bed today & seeded it with carrots & radish. The leftover soil I spread out & planted some leeks & beetroot.

I also added the posts & wires for the fruit trees & started training them.
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Wow, that is an awesome picture, you can really see the difference and get an idea of how good it is going to look, absolutely brilliant!!
 
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Vicky

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Another 3 beds added & filled today, paths mulched & soil added along the fence line for where I'll be planting the Manuka trees I ordered.

Planted some more herbs & perennials around the place. I haven't planted any seeds in the new beds yet, I may transplant some of the Chinese cabbage seedlings over to them, as they will be crowding each other out before too much longer.

I've been using the Charles Dowding method for the beds, which is super easy. I scored a heap of big cardboard boxes from work on Friday that were prefect for it.

I've decided to take tomorrow off for a well earned rest!

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Aaaarrrrggghhh, I don't even know how to describe how good that is!!
 

AndrewB

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Thanks Vicky!

I dug a hole today, it's filling up with water.
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This part of the yard is always super wet, it rained last night, so I thought I'd take advantage of the soft ground & investigate. Maybe 150mm under the surface, water is flowing from the top left of the hole, like someone buried a hose.

The level stabilizes at this point though, so I guess the drainage just sucks so much that water runs through along this path. I think I'll take advantage of it & turn this area into a pond. I could also pump water out of it into a tank for summer (Seriously, this thing filled instantly, by the time the shovel was out of the ground, the hole was full).

I also put in another garden bed & dumped soil all along the fence line for future tree planting. Can't wait for spring, such a limited amount of things to plant this time of year, though it is good to get everything prepared while it's wet.
 
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GKW

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Is there an old rubble pit pipe there?

My block slopes front to back (downwards) and the storm water from some of the gutters flows into the old septic tank and when that's full out via a pipe into a long rubble pit in the backyard. After that last big rain event a couple of months ago, I went out to the backyard and starting spiking the lawn with my pitchfork (given soil would be soft) to help with both water and air absorption. I had a rather wet looking spot and when I forked in, I had a lovely (but small) series of fountains bubbling up...
 

AndrewB

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It's just a low area from what I can tell, so the water tends to head to it.

A lot of digging today, I'm putting a french drain under the path next to the fruit trees & along the back fence. I'll bury the soakwell & use a water pump with a float switch to pump water out when it's raining.

The rest of the yard is raised beds, so not so much of an issue, I can let mother nature & mulch fix it over time.

The water makes the ground nice & soft for digging, which is a bonus, but it also makes it hard to see what you are doing.

I got the new Ryobi dirty/clean water pump, it's good, but needs to be plumbed up with 40mm pipe for dirty water. It came with an adapter that reduces the size so you can pump through an 18mm hose, but grass/mulch/roots get clogged in the adapter & you have to pull it apart constantly.

I will plumb it once I figure out where I want to send the water, but needed it to get the water out of the ground so I could dig the trenches first, so that's been a bit frustrating.

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ClissAT

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Andrew, that hole you've got refilling so quickly in your yard at the low point strikes me as being overflow from council sewerage or water pipes.
If water pipes, it could be water you are actually paying for!
You should test it somehow to discover whether it's waste water or fresh chlorinated water.
I'm always suspicious of running water underground because it's not natural for water to run like that.
 

AndrewB

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It's at the back of the property, my water lines come in from the front & it's dry around the house.

There is council sewerage running across the back, but there is a capped pipe that I have opened & it's dry in there. The drains in the streets around the block are all working fine & there is no water sitting in the gutters.

It's just heavy clay, pretty common all around the area. It's only like this after it has been raining, during summer, the ground is rock hard.
 
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AndrewB

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Stones are much harder to spread than mulch, I'll be glad when this project is over!

Almost done, the pit is mostly drained, I'll give it a few days to dry out completely, then dig it out properly so the pump can be deeper. I got some pipe today so I didn't have to keep pulling the pump apart & it works way better! 17,000 litres/hour, it's get some serious power for a $99 pump :)

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AndrewB

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Another couple of trailer loads of wood chips & good soil today, another 4 or so to go I estimate.

I added a Loquat tree & a couple of Raspberry varieties. Still waiting to get the Manuka trees, the nursery couldn't get tube stock, but said they should have some in 6" pots next week. I've also order some seeds that should be here any day now.

The drains are working great, we had a pretty heavy downpour here today & no flooding :)

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JoshW

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What you have planned and what you've accomplished already is amazing Andrew. I'd love to do the same at my joint but it's not our forever home so my wife (understandably) doesn't want to sink in loads of money. I'm very jealous!
 
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AndrewB

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Thanks Josh, 2 months of weekend work & just under $3000 including all trees/herbs/vegetables, soil, mulch, garden beds & posts. Plus another $500 for the drainage.

You can still have a great garden without it being permanent, low garden beds are easy enough to move, grow trees in wine barrels, the big plastic pots from Bunnings are fairly cheap & are great for growing vegetables. Then when you move, you can just load up & take it all with you (unless you move from the opposite side of the country like I did!)

You can also think of it as improving the value of the house. A nice garden with established fruit trees will make it more attractive to buyers.
 
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JoshW

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Thanks Josh, 2 months of weekend work & just under $3000 including all trees/herbs/vegetables, soil, mulch, garden beds & posts. Plus another $500 for the drainage.

You can still have a great garden without it being permanent, low garden beds are easy enough to move, grow trees in wine barrels, the big plastic pots from Bunnings are fairly cheap & are great for growing vegetables. Then when you move, you can just load up & take it all with you (unless you move from the opposite side of the country like I did!)

You can also think of it as improving the value of the house. A nice garden with established fruit trees will make it more attractive to buyers.
I tried growing Avos in pots, didn't go well the first time. Will try again. Putting in 5 raised beds total, can't do trees along the fence as council easement and access annoyingly. I may try and do trees in the current veggie strip to get some privacy from the 2 storey block next door. I understand your meaning on adding value, I wanted to do raised beds out of pallets but the ones I built will be much more appealing. I like the sleepers you've gone with and would've used those had the wife also liked them. Looking forward to your future updates
 

AndrewB

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Heaps of planting today.

Full size Orange & Lemon trees, Pomegranate, Strawberry Guava, Chilean Guava, Mulberry, 3 different varieties of Blueberry & another Raspberry, White, red & black currents.

Also a heap more herbs & medicinal plants.

Most of the hard work is done now. I'll just keep planting as I find things I want to grow.

Next project will be a greenhouse, then a fence to separate the lawn from the garden area. As much as I would love to convert the entire backyard, my dog would be most unhappy without a lawn.

I'll get chickens once the garden is really pumping and everything is established, as I want to give them a good diet of fresh fruit, veggies & herbs.

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Vicky

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That is looking amazing, sooooo much better than the grass you started out with. Well done :cheer:
 

AndrewB

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Thanks Vicky, I can't wait to see it take off in spring.

Payday on Wednesday, so more trees & herbs incoming :)
 
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