What email address or phone number would you like to use to sign in to Docs.com?
If you already have an account that you use with Office or other Microsoft services, enter it here.
Or sign in with:
Signing in allows you to download and like content, and it provides the authors analytical data about your interactions with their content.
Embed code for: Welcome To The Fertile Turtle Garden
Select a size
History of the transformation of a plain back yard into a garden paradise, all through the efforts of one man - Richard Langford.
Welcome To The Fertile Turtle Garden
The garden was started in 2010. We had the shed in the back corner, and there were 7 trees, two of them the large oaks on a slight mound. There was a small patio at the back door of the house. Otherwise, it was mainly "yard".
My objective was to keep the garden expense to a minimum by using as much free and low cost materials as I could find, and to make the garden as low maintenance as possible. I also had to keep the visual aesthetics in mind, as the garden is in full view of the street.
I focused on structures and hardscape projects first, with landscape and plantings to come with time.
Location of the future vegetable garden.
View from back door (before sunroom added). The neighbors house is now brown.
The Vegetable Garden
The compost bins were the first structure created. I consider them to be the engine of the garden, needed to convert tree leaves, grass clippings and garden and kitchen waste into soil supplements. The bins are constructed partially from salvaged decking boards recovered from the curb of a neighbor.
Two additions to the bins were hinged lids and lining the beds with chicken-wire to keep debris from falling out the sides. The front slats slide in and out to allow better access when emptying the bins.
Large paving stones create an easy to clean work area in front of the bins.
The first raised bed
The raised beds were constructed from new materials at a cost of $75 each. The beds are lined with salvaged aluminum siding and reinforced on the corners with custom made brackets to extend their life. I built 6 beds the first year, and then added 2 more beds a year later.
As each bed was built, I put a thick layer of leaves in the bottom to kill the grass inside the bed.
Five tons of top soil was brought in to fill the beds.
Mulch was put down to eliminate the need to mow and trim grass between the beds. This mulch was eventually replaced by more permanent gravel.
The first year crops in 2011.
The garden at end of year one.
The garden at the end of year three.
Raised Bed Cold-Frames
Cold frames made of used windows (free from a window replacement company) allows us to grow a salad garden all winter long. Warmth is provided by a 100W incandescent bulb in each bed controlled by a thermal switch which automatically turns them on at 38 degrees.
The widows can be slid open to regulate daytime temperatures in the beds.
When the sun is hot, the windows can be lifted off (leaning on the back of the cold frame).
The cold frames are lined with insulation board.
Tire-tread Raised Bed
A truck tire-tread found along the road became a raised asparagus bed.
Second-year ferns in the asparagus bed.
Asparagus ferns in December.
Foundation is made of 6" X 6" treated timbers.
The framing going up.
The door came from the Rehab Store for $10.
The walls will hold 22 recycled windows (free from the neighbor's house behind the greenhouse).
The roof is made of clear polycarbonate (most costly component).
Ten of the windows hinge out to provide ventilation.
The floor is packed earth, covered with gravel, then paving stones with pea gravel filler. This allows for water drainage.
I made shelves from free curb-side material. The shelves hinge up out of the way when needed.
Another free curb-side find adorns transom over the door.
The potting table and storage shelf above it are also freebies from neighbors.
The Retaining Walls
I had them leave the pieces of the old patio and dirt excavated for the footing of the sunroom for use elsewhere in the garden.
The urbanite became part of the retaining wall in front of the greenhouse.
Low retaining walls made of precast stones bought on sale from Home Depot
Retaining wall in backyard
Retaining wall in front of house
The Fish Pond
preparing the hole for the liner.
The pond is about 125 gallons. The liner was purchased used for $25.
The Fire Pit
Surplus pavers and a steel ring found on Craigslist for $30 make for a simple fire pit. The chairs were found at a yard sale for $5 each. The brass disk on the wall is the top of a Turkish table we had in the attic.
The patio and flower bed where the sunroom and new patio will go.
Part of the edges of the old patio had to be removed to accommodate new footings for the larger sunroom.
New sunroom floor and patio being poured.
Ridge beam set and attached to the house structure.
Roof on and framing up.
Windows and doors going in.
I put gravel down in the veggie garden side paths first, to replace the mulch. River pebbles were added to the center path after that.
I used river pebbles on the path to the greenhouse (with free edge stones and urbanite steps).
I was able to recover a large amount of paver stones from a site that was being bulldozed for the development of a high-rise near uptown. We had to pull up the stones, clean them and stack them onto pallets. There was about 13.5 tons of stone. Once on the pallets (18 of them), I hired a forklift and truck to move them to our driveway.
First excavation for the sidewalk at the edge of the drive.
Bags of gravel and stone dust and pallets of paver stones fill the driveway. This photo shows the necessary steps - excavation, base of gravel, layer of stone dust, and finally tamped and leveled stone dust ready for paver stones.
First paver stones going down.
Almost finished to the North gate.
North side of the house.
Excavation starts for a small patio on the North side of the sunroom.
Patio edged and gravel base in place
Sidewalk excavated around the patio.
Pavers mostly laid in patio and sidewalk ready for pavers.
Patio and sidewalk finished.
A free bench found on the curb finishes off the patio.
The finished sidewalk ends at the South gate.
The walkway in front of the greenhouse was made from used brick at a cost of $100.
While there is no water to cross, I wanted to create that illusion to support the fish pond. The foot bridge does that.
I found a pre-shaped railroad tie for $15.
Spit in two, it makes the trusses for the foot bridge.
The trusses in place with a landing created at each end.
The boards were found in the 'cull' bin at Home Depot for 70% off.
Steps and flower boxes lead up from the side street to the garden.
Thank You! Thank you for visiting the Fertile Turtle Garden. we hope you've enjoyed yourself and are inspired to create beauty and good food in your own garden. Please come again soon . Dick and Karen Langford