Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member

My Backyard Gardening Journey

What better time to start our dream of growing a bunch of crops than during a pandemic! Ain't no better motivator to do something than the fear of going hungry (or going out in public lol)

Me and the wife have been wanting to be "gardeners" for a long time, we just haven't really put the effort into it. Our backyard isn't that large (quite small by some standards) and we never had too much time. But we've got time now, all we need is the know how! So this will be a journey in the sense of we are both going to be learning as we go. We will be researching as much as we can, but honestly it's a bit intimidating, and I feel it's one of those things you just have to do and learn as you go.

Since we have such little space in the backyard, and we want to keep grassy areas for our daughter to play in, raised garden boxes are the choice for us.

I've built raised beds before for family members, just never for myself. One thing I really like about the boxes I've built in the past is that they are tall. That way you don't have to kneel down or bend over super far to work. The beds are almost at waist height.

Just like my beardie tales thread, this will be my "diary" for my garden.
So that's the plan!


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster

Building the First Beds

So, to make my garden boxes the plan is to make the box 3 boards high. The bottom board will be a 2x10. The top 2 boards will be 2x8. This gets me boxes that are just about 2 feet tall.

Since my boards come in 8 foot pieces, the beds will be 8 feet long. Originally I planned to make the beds only 2 feet wide also, since that would make the most sense for cutting my 8 foot boards. I'd get 4 side pieces from 1 board. But in reality, the beds looked weird, and it didn't seem like enough growing space. So I went with 3 foot wide instead, which unfortunately left me 2 feet of wasted board as I could only get 3 side pieces from 1 8 foot board.

I set up a stop on my Miter Saw station so that all of my boards would be cut to exactly the same length.

Anyways, to start, I built the bottom row on a flat surface - our patio.
That is my daughter helping her dada. She was the official screw holder. And she would only let me have 1 at a time. And I had to ask nicely each time for one.
You can see, it's just a simple frame with 4x4 posts. So the first row of boards is simply 2 2x10s that are 8 feet long and 2 2x10s that are cut to 3 feet long. They are attached with Torx outdoor screws into the 4x4 and into eachother. At first I was pre-drilling the holes, but In the end I stopped doing that. The screws themselves are self drilling, and I very very rarely created a split in the wood. Saved a ton of time to not drill.

After that first layer was built, I put it in place, up against our fence.A few things. I quickly realized I better attach the back panels first, otherwise it will be too heavy to move and too awkward (impossible) to do once it's backed against the fence. And, (As will become a reoccuring theme with this whole entire process) the box was placed right on top of a sprinkler head that I'd need to dig up, and move.
Unfortunately after a lot of digging, I discovered the sprinkler head wasn't ran with flex pipe, but just regular PVC, so I'd have to cut and reglue to move it.
So here is that picture
Luckily, the pipe was already running in the direction I wanted to move it in, so all I needed to do is cut the pipe, cut another piece off to make it shorter, and then reglue the whole thing.
You can see what I'm talking about better hopefully with that picture. That shows the fix, and now it's out of the way of the bed!

In this next picture, you can see I put the back and side panels on, and put it back into position.
Getting it level was important, and quite a challenge as we had to remove the box to level the ground. At this point, the structure was already extremely heavy. So me and the wife just tipped it onto its side to get it out of the way.

Once it was all level, all that needed to be done was the front boards put into place, and the box would be completed.

But boy, was the work not over. Everything up until here has been the easy part. Little did we know, the real work was about to begin.

Filling the Box

Now that the box was built, it was time to fill it. Lets go over some quick math here. The box is 8 foot long by about 3 foot wide. It's 2 foot deep. That is 48 cubic feet of space in there that needs to be filled. Or, 1.7 yards (1.3Cu M)
My local landscape supply company had potting soil for 65 bucks a yard. So to fill 1 bed (and if you didn't know at this point, I am building 2 of these beds) you are looking at about 130 bucks 260 to fill both. Still quite cheap when compared to buying it in bags at a home improvement store, I think I did the math and came up with around $470 buying the miracle gro bags from home depot. But still, not the plan!

With my grandparents boxes in particular, we built a false bottom in the box. So while their box is about 3 feet tall, the box is only about 1 foot deep or so. Maybe a foot and a half. Since I didn't want to spend more money on wood to do that same thing, I decided to do something that I have heard of a long time ago. It's called Hügelkultur
Basically, you fill the bottom half of your beds with a bunch of organics - logs, branches, stones, grass clippings, bark, etc. And then you cover over it with your soil mix. The stuff at the bottom will eventually break down and add more nutrients to your bed, and you save a whole heap of money not filling up your tall beds with expensive soil.
Not to mention, we had a lot of landscape material we could put in there. Lots of tree trimming and bush trimming that has been put off for a year since it would quickly have overfilled our green waste bins.

So we started filling the beds.
We had a lot of large stones that the old owners put around the flower beds for decoration..?
In the bins they went!

And then on top of that went a whole bunch of plant matter. Mainly bush trimmings, tree trimmings, and then eventually I mowed the yards and placed all my grass clippings on top of it.
It is a bit over filled in this pic. We did end up taking some of it out and putting it into the second bed. But you do want it a bit more fuller than you'd think, as your soil will push it down further.

So the beds are filled with all the organic waste we had, and now our 2 yards of potting mix (1 yard per box) was delivered.
MMhmm! I love the smell of some good fertile soil mix!
This was hard work moving though! It was fairly moist, so it was much heavier.

After what felt like an eternity, the boxes were both filled.
Here is a picture of the second box I made filled with the soil, and some sweet onions planted that I picked up at the store!

Unfortunately, we soon realized our mistake. These two beds we placed along the fenceline, don't get full sun. We measured only about 4 hours of sunlight a day in them. This might be good enough for greens and lettuces that we want to grow, but it wouldn't cut it for many other plants.

So the only solution, lets do this all over again!


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster

The Mega "L" Bed

After realizing that the first two beds didn't get as much sun as we wanted, we planned better for this bed. Which I am affectionately referring to as the mega "L" bed!

We measured multiple spots in our backyard, and found the perfect spot to place two more beds.

Since these weren't going to be going up against a fence line, and we would be able to get to them from all sides, we decided to just go ahead and make them 4 feet wide instead of only 3. One of the reasons we made the first beds that size was because we couldn't get to them from the backside since it was along a fence. So reaching any crops in the back of the bed would be hard if the bed was 4 foot wide.

Being 4 foot wide, I wouldn't have any board waste either, as I would just cut 1 8 foot board in half to get 2 4 foot side pieces.
But the process of building them was basically the same. I was going to build 2 boxes, and then place them in an L configuration in my yard.

I soon realized though after completing the bottom row of the first box, that I didn't have to make 2 seperate boxes. I could just attach the second box to the first one, and not need to use up wood for 1 of the sides. So that's what I did.

I'll admit, I didn't take many pictures at all of the build process. I just wanted to get it done. Had I known I was going to make such a detailed journal of this whole journey, I would have :(

Either way, it's pretty simple building, and here it is completed!
There is my daughter for reference. Quite the bit of growing space now! And in 8-10 hour sun!

This beast is HEAVY!!
Unfortunately, once again, I built it and had it in place before I figured where the sprinklers were. And naturally, there were 3 heads directly under the wood that needed to be dealt with.

The box needed only to move a few inches either way to allow me access to the heads. But I'm telling you, this thing was heavy. Me and the wife both used long lever advantages to try to prop the boxes up a little bit off the grass so that they could be moved (jerked angrily) off of the sprinkler heads.

Once the boxes were moved slightly, I just tightened down the flow regulator on the heads of the sprinklers in the way as opposed to capping them completely. So when the sprinkler system turns on, they will still try to pop up, but they won't actually spray any water, and the rest of my system will work fine. This was really the lazy way to do it, and I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the butt later, but truthfully at the point I was at, I'd rather do the hard work later if I need to, as opposed to doing it right now when it's easier.
Plus this gives me (or the future homeowner) a chance in the future to remove the beds and still have the full sprinkler system mapped out as intended.

Once that was all done, we could continue on with filling the beds the same way we filled the first two.
That - was - a - lot - of - work!
Being simply 1 foot wider meant that each bed had 16 cubic feet more of space to fill up. 32 cubic feet for both beds! Over 1 extra Cu Yard!

We were actually worried that we weren't going to have enough organic material to fill the bottoms of the beds. I only ordered 2 yards of potting mix again. We trimmed down every single bush on our property, which is an ungodly amount of bushes by the way. We cut some of them in half, trimmed trees, raked old mulch and leaves from under bushes and plants, and I even cut the grass much shorter than normal just to get the fill material we needed!
In the end, we were able to fill them up just enough! However, I probably should have ordered 2 and a half yards, or 3 yards. The beds will most likely settle a bit, and be a little lower than we'd like. But they will still work perfectly well for now. That also gives us room for next season to add in some manure and other mixes to revitalize the soil and bring the level back up.

Here it is at the end of a LONG HARD day. You see the soil level looks good right now, but within a week it will probably drop an inch or two due to compacting and working down the cracks and empty voids of all the organics at the bottom.

The plan was to plant that day too, but we were too dang tired. I actually slept for 12 hours that night.


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster

The First Plantings!

Well after sleeping for 12 hours, I still wasn't ready to get up and start working on the beds LOL! But I eventually came to, and off we go outside to plant our beds.

We have started a handful of seeds inside, and I also picked up a few plants while I was at home depot buying the wood for the mega L.

The plants I bought were:
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 Jalepeno
1 Cucumber
1 Roma Tomato
4 Strawberries (2 varieties)

Some seeds we started inside were:

Beefsteak Tomatoes
Bunching Onions
And some other stuff that we have no idea of since my wife didn't label them... :study:

So for our 4 beds, this is what we decided to plant.

Bed 1 (first bed, up against fence)
This is our leafy green bed since it doesn't get as much sun.
  • Spinach
    Salad Lettuce (variety)
And all of this was just seeds planted into the bed. No established plants or seedlings!

Bed 2(Second bed built, also alongside fence)
This will probably be half tomatoes and half experiments.
I know it's not super ideal for tomatoes as it doesn't get more than about 4-5 hours of sun a day, but we didn't want to have the tomatoes in the mega L.
So we planted 3 things
  • Our Roma Tomato Plant
    A few of out beefsteak seedlings ( whichever ends up growing the best will stay, we will only keep 1 of the beefsteak plants
    and... Watermelon.
Yes, we just don't see the need to have 1 box for only tomatoes. I know they are a popular crop, but we honestly just don't eat, or need that many. So that leaves about half the bed unused. And we have a variety of watermelon seed that is supposed to grow a bit smaller and be much easier to grow, so we are gonna try it. It might be a massive failure, but that's ok. If it fails, no big loss. If it works, well shoot, I got me some watermelon! :D
1 watermelon plant was started indoors, so I planted that one along with some seeds too since the seedling was quite young. I will only keep 1 of the watermelon plants assuming it grows.

The Mega L
Here is a list of everything planted in the mega L
  • Sweet Valaria onions
    Walla walla onions
    Red burgundy onions
    Bunching onions
    Red bell peppers
    Green bell peppers
    And our 4 strawberry plants

I Love me some onions. Especially the sweet variety.
The valaria onions are the ones I bought at the store already started. They are already smelling great! The other 3 varieties are all seed sown into the bed. So I overseeded them and will thin them out as they start to grow.

Carrots were also planted as seed.
Zucchini was a seedling we germinated and grew up a bit indoors.
Everything else was already an established plant bought from the store.

Starting from seed outdoors is a bit intimidating. Hopefully they all sprout. Box 1 our greens box is all 100% seed sown. So it was all overseeded too to give us better chances of getting viable plants. It's nice to go to the store and buy the plant already. But hopefully seeing them start sprouting and knowing you did it from seed will be more fun and rewarding.

The closest half of the bed is my onion corner :)
All my onions are there. You can see the valarias that are already getting decently big. Then I planted the other 3 varieties as seeds.
And in the corner very closest in the picture, there is 2 square feet or so of carrot seed planted too.

I'll get some better pictures up in a bit. And will continue to take pictures as everything is growing :)

We are planning to also container garden 2 potato varieties. Hopefully russet potatoes and Yukon Golds. We will use these decently large pots we have for that.


kingofnobbys Sicko
Looking pretty spiffy .

Having a nice flat bit of land makes a huge difference.

How deep did you plant the corner posts into the ground ?

Here the recommendation for timber of steel posts is no less than 30cm , and if the posts are taller than 75cm it's 1/2 the length again into the ground in concrete.

When I spoke to my worker Hossein the Egyptian , he advised timber posts on the outside of the sleepers for extra strength , I notice your's are on the inside .
Probably easy fixed if the coach screws start being pushed out of the posts would be to reinforce with coach bolts .

I'm betting now the Chief Buffoon has declared a national emergency in all 50 states that your neighbours are eyeing off your beds with envy .
You're probably going have lay a mine field around the beds to keep them out once the greens and veg start getting big enough to eat .


Sub-Adult Member
Looks great Brendon!! Love hearing the cute things baby girl does. ?❤ One screw at a time! Too funny! ?
And just MHO, I don't think you'll need a minefield, it's not a zombie apocalypse after all. LMAO! ?

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster
I didn't actually bury the posts into the ground. A truck could hit these beds and they wouldn't move. At least not the big L bed now that its all filled in.
Plus like you said, being on flat ground, the beds won't do any shifting besides down into the ground lol.

I hope my beds end up becoming envy-worthy. We've got a lot of work into them and a lot of hopes. Not of desperation to feed ourselves, but just for a sense of accomplishment that comes with doing something like this.

Mine fields are too messy, I'll just set up all my turrets around the perimeter and have this shoot automatically based off motion :mrgreen:
But I would like to keep politics out of this one. Just my gardening journal, failures, successes, and journey :D
And any tips and advice anyone is willing to share.

DragonPete":2ltp7sbm said:
Looks great Brendon!! Love hearing the cute things baby girl does. ?❤ One screw at a time! Too funny! ?
She is quite the character. She feeds off positive reinforcement she absolutely craves it. If she does something and she gets a "good job!" or a "good girl!" from us, she wants to do it over and over and over again lol! Makes it easy to get her to do things like eat her food and put things away. :)


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster
Quite a gloomy day today all day. Was really hoping for lots of sun so that all the plants I replanted would get off to a good start. Unfortunately doesn't look like much of anything happened in the beds due to the cold cloudy day. But, my onions did perk up quite a bit! They really like this soil mix. The first mix I had them in, they took almost a week to perk back up after transplanting.

Can't wait to have me some home grown sweet onions :D

I went ahead and ordered a few blueberry bushes lol...

1 is variety that is very low cold hours which is perfect for our area. It's a 4 pack of them on amazon. They are going to be quite small plants though, so probably won't produce for a year or two.
So I decided to also get 2 more bushes from an online nursery. These are 2 different varieties (so a total of 3 varieties coming) that are borderline as far as cold hours for our area, but I figured they are close enough that they should still produce a decent amount of fruit, even if it's not it's full potential.

We will see, all part of the learning process I suppose :)



Sub-Adult Member
Berries of all kinds grow well here but I'm sure some do better than others. There are lots of farms here where you can go 'pick your own' at a good price. I want to put in a couple blueberries and a couple blackberries since they are my faves and perennial. I try to avoid annuals when possible just to not have to plant them every year. Like strawberries. Are raspberries perennial? I think so. I'll have to check on that, love them too. ❤ I'm sure baby girl would love having blueberries she could pick and eat out of hand. ?❤ Plus, no thorns on blueberry bushes. ?
Weather was ok here today, sun, little cloudy, about 70 but just starting to rain now. Supposed to get some severe weather tonight and morning. At least it held off for most of the day. ? Enjoy the farming. ?
Can't see family and such but we've made plans to go to one of the best in Raleigh after all is over, its safe again and restaurants are back open. Yay! ?
All things considered, hope you and family had a wonderful Easter. ?
Edit If you need another source for farming/gardening, my goto is Theres nothing you can't find on it. ?

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster
My area grows a lot of things year round (lots of farmland around us at the coast) because of the mild climate, however berries is not something big around here (except for strawberries). We just don't get the chill hours that most berries and fruit trees need.

Today will be sunny and 70, so hoping the plants outside enjoy that.
It's funny because I've always prefered overcast and cold/cloudy days over sunny days. But now that I am gardening, I've been asking for the sun lol.

Also planted a bunch of seeds in 1 of the seed trays I bought. Just to supplement anything outside that doesn't sprout.


kingofnobbys Sicko
Going through my seed packet stash (2012 is when I think I started buying these over a period of 2 or 3 years, so lets call them 2015 , I have ziplock plastic bags
basil - blue spice
basil - genovase
dandelion ( seeds gathered by me , paper packet)
nasturtium double jewel , tom thumb , whirlybird (in ziplocks) and trailing (paper envelope)

in ziplocks
Sweet leaf mustard greens
collard greens - champion
endive - salad king
leek - american

in ziplocks
carnation - chabaud
native rosella
poppy Californian
I chose these because they have edible flowers .

If I only get 25% viability from these seeds , I'll be happy enough. Will make transplanting into the beds when the seedlings are bigger faster and easier as I wont need to thin them out as much.

New yesterday
blueberry - vaccinium corymbosum = sunshine blue
blackberry - rubus urainus = Pacific blackberry
red raspberry - rubus daeus = nova
red strawberry - fragaria x ananassa = 'Albion' (Everbearing Strawberry)
black mulberry - morus nigra


Juvie Member
That's sweet I'm doing something similar I'm making a garden but it will also be an outdoor enclosure all plants will be edible for the beardie lol

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster

Actually I did 2 days ago, but I was waiting to make the announcement until yesterday because I figured more would pop up and I could get a better picture lol! But it's been cloudy and cold the last 3 days. Starting tomorrow though it is going to warm up significantly... high 70s-80. When it passes 80 I get too hot LOL
But the plants should like it.

I'll get some pictures up today.

I think I was overwatering my plants though. Some of the transplants were turning yellow and I did some research (my soil should be very nutrient dense) which led me to believe it was just overwatering. And looking back at it, I definitely think I was. So I'm cutting back and will see how that goes.

I ordered another sunblaster fixture lol, just to be able to use a grow light. All the seeds I planted are sprouting and becoming very leggy. I'm probably gonna dump them. All because I can't get them enough light.
Luckily I have a 3 foot sunblaster in Tombo's tank that I want to switch for a 2 foot one. I still have the sunblaster bulb for the 3 foot which will be perfect for seedlings.

Oh and advice for anyone, if you're digging near sprinkler lines, don't start jabbing your pitchfork into the ground lol.

I was digging two holes along our fenceline to plant the new blueberry bushes. The instructions on the plant were clear, dig a hole, fill it with water. If it doesn't drain completely in half an hour, pick a new spot.

So I dug 2, filled both with water, and came back 10 minutes later. 1 was empty completely, the other (only 2 feet away) looked like it didn't go down at all. I figured there was a clay layer or something there, so I got the pitchfork and started jabbing into the muddy water blindly, trying to open up a path for the water. Soon, I saw some movement on the water surface, I broke into a sprinkler supply line with the tip of the fork.
Why... Why am I cursed against sprinklers on this project!

I was a bit peeved, because there were 3 sprinkler lines all in the same trench. I understand why, it's easier to run all your lines in 1 trench. You don't have to dig multiples. But these guys doing it never think about the next schmuck who will have to work on the pipes.
The problem when you have 3 pipes all right next to eachother is, you have no stinking room to make any repairs on the pipe! Luckily in my case, the pipes were stacked in a diagonal fashion, and of course I hit the top pipe, so the easiest one to work on. But at work we've see guys lay them literally stacked vertically on top of eachother. You are never working on them again if 1 breaks lol.

So I had to trench over 6 feet each way to be able to have enough flex in the PVC just to be able to cut it without cutting all the other pipes. Then I tried a jankey way of fixing it, just cut it and use a slip joint to rejoin it. I knew this was going to have a big failure chance based simply off of the room I had to work, and the positions the pipes were all in. But its a 50 cent repair and if it doesn't work, really all I did was wasted 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The right way would be to use 4 elbows to reconnect (1 elbow up, 1 elbow over, extension piece, 1 elbow down, 1 elbow into other end) You make basically A square U shape repair with the pipe. This increases head loss, but on a sprinkler line it's not much of an issue. Would never do this with the 2-3 inch PVC I work with sometimes at work.But on 3/4 PVC sprinkler, it's basically the standard method to fix an inline break. They make extendable PVC fittings that are made for fixing that, but no professional I know uses or trusts those types of things.

So instead, I'm going to try something that is relatively knew, but some guys are swearing by, it's "sharkbite" fittings. and very strong flexible sprinkler line inplace of the PVC. It was a 7 dollar part, but it will be an easy repair.
I'll take a picture of it when I go out to fix it.

Hopefully we get a little bit of sun as I don't quite like working out there when it's been this cold and cloudy.


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster
Welp, first order of business was cutting out that section of sprinkler feed and repairing it.
I forgot to take a picture of it before I installed, but you can see it's a semi-flexible coupling. It's specifically rated for irrigation so we should be good to go. No leaks with testing.

So then I could proceed to filling in my trench and prepping the 2 holes for the bushes. This time, both holes drained. I wonder if that pipe puncture was there before I started digging, or maybe i actually broke it with the shovel and not the pitchfork. That might have explained why no water was draining. Even though the pipe isn't under pressure, it would still have residual water in the line that could have kept leaking out into my hole. Either way, both problems solved.

Since blueberries like acidic soil, I mixed in probably 50/50 peat moss/native soil. To that mix I added a bit of soil acidifier for good measure. I also added in some bonemeal and some bloodmeal.

Drip irrigation line preexisting in that bed, so I just capped off one nozzle (that fed an old bush) and added 2 new ones right next to each bush so they will be watered by the sprinkler system.
Covered with some mulch and the bushes are in.
They are smaller than I thought they would be (for the price I paid...) but 1 of them has quite a bundle of buds on it already.

Here we got my onion patch! Transplants seem to be doing ok.
None of the seed I've sown has sprouted yet though. Thats all the empty space to the right of the transplanted onions. To the left is some pepper plants.

And here is the "greens bed"

Doesn't look like much right now, but upon closer inspection, there is probably 2 dozen or so sprouts. More so this week i'd imagine with how the weather is going.

That is Kale, Collards, and Spinach that have sprouted. We also have a seed mix of salad lettuces in there too and it's the only thing that hasn't sprouted yet. Hopefully the seeds weren't bad. It's possible, I believe they were quite old.
If that's the case, that is fine. I overseeded everything, so if I end up having 6 sq feet of unused space in that bed, I will just move some of the other 3 items growing into that spot.


Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Original Poster
Question for anyone.

Say I want more of these blueberry bushes in the future. What can I do to make more blueberry bushes without having to buy more?

Do I have to wait for the plant to fruit, and then plant the seeds?

Or do I cut branches and try to root them?

I really have no idea about any of that stuff. I do know with fruit a lot of time, planting the seed doesn't produce a plant with similar taste characteristics to the original. I imagine these blueberries are going to taste great, and I would like to keep that taste in the other bushes I produce.


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