my food garden / before + after

by Kaylah Stroup

When we bought our home the yard wasn’t the prettiest. We were absolutely stoked about the land and actually owning property but in the state it was in, it wasn’t much to look at. Adding my massive flower bed made a huge improvement! We also added trails throughout the woods off the main grassy area and most recently, I’ve been working on converting overgrown weed filled areas to something more useful.

Last spring I started the process of clearing out the area beside my garage. Seen below. It was full of weeds that grew taller than my head. Mixed in with that? Trash. Bunches of it. Not even fun old trash, just like… real modern trash. I wish I had gotten more pictures of it before but honestly, it was just an eye sore. It was an area I purposely kept out of frame.

I spent spring of 2022 clearing out the trash, carefully mowing, and ripping out all everything growing. I ended up planting my pumpkins there last year which really worked out because pumpkins are great at taking over. They kept other plants under control while I figured out exactly what I wanted to do with the area.

Check out my pumpkin tunnel from last year here. It was such a massive source of joy!

This year I started with a plan!

I wanted this area to be more food garden focused as opposed to for funsies flowers. I got three 17″ raised beds from Vego Garden. I have two of the 6 in 1 beds and one 9 in 1 bed.

The beds were easy to put together and I was able to fill them quite affordably by using rotting logs, yard waste, cardboard and homemade compost. I LOVE how they look!

My vision was that the two smaller beds would have an arch in between them and that you’d walk through that arch to get to the larger bed. I used 16ft cattle panel from Tractor Supply to make the arch. Luckily my dad has a truck or else it’d have been a real pain in the butt to figure out how to get the panel home since they don’t deliver.

early in the season, May

I planted tomatoes, marigolds, nasturtium, peppers, onions, and peas!

I’ve felt kind meh about it season long though. Honestly, I’m not having the best gardening year. Everything just seemed to be off to a really slow start and SLUGS. My goodness, slugs! I have never had a problem with them before but they won’t leave my stuff alone no matter how many darn egg shells I crush up around my plants. It’s one of those things I’ve just had to kind of ignore so that it doesn’t drive me mad.

BUT! Earlier this week, I walked outside early in the morning and was able to look at everything with fresh eyes. Things finally seem to be taking off. My tomato plants don’t look very pretty but they’re heavy with fruit just beginning to ripen. My peas are finally climbing the arch! I have baby peppers growing slowly but steadily.

I worked my butt off on this area and it’s definitely paying off. Maybe not as quickly as I’d like but wow, what a huge difference from the before photos I shared above.

vego garden beds arch

Doesn’t it look so lovely? I’m quite pleased with my decision to plant clover in between the beds instead of doing mulch or bark. My mower doesn’t fit but it just takes a second to weed whack! I think having the green in there makes such a big impact and kind of extends the yard.

pumpkin tunnel

Also, this year’s pumpkin tunnel? I’M VERY EXCITED! You can definitely expect to see a lot more of that later in the summer! xo

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