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BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum
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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Plants

Plants Plant-related topics that do not have a dedicated board.

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Old 10-16-2012, 03:18 PM
rugby1725 rugby1725 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Gender: Male
Posts: 15
Default Hill gardening

So I live in a house with a walkout basement that backs up to a creek and woods. Because of this the backyard is not very well suited to putting in a garden. My though is to use the side yards hills and terrace them off. I'm thinking it would be kind of like making a raised bed garden just not on both sides of the bed. Given the slope of my hill I'm thinking I would have to make the beds about 3 feet wide and use a 2x12 on the downhill side to level it out. I did gardening when I was a kid with my grandpa but it's been a while and I've never done anything with raised bed. Looking for any suggestions you may have regarding my plan.

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Old 10-16-2012, 03:43 PM
grumble Male grumble is offline
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Location: W NM, a rifle shot from the Great Divide
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Sounds like a lot of work in front of you, Kris. But, that's how orientals have been growing stuff for thousands of years. Come to think of it, I guess it's a world wide thing, I've seen terraced orchards in many European countries.

Buy an extra shovel!
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:39 PM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Don't forget you need a way to walk on the terrace - to plant, weed & harvest. Think about rainfall & run off, too... don't want baby spinach to get washed away!

If you have rock available, think about using this instead of a board. You'll need to dig a bit deeper to create a footing for the base rocks and make it wider at the bottom to resist the gravity of the dirt, too. Aim for no higher than 18 inches on the walls. Line the rocks with weed cloth, to help hold the soil back, then back fill. I would level the bed, a few inches below the top of the rock. If the wall is sturdy enough - it become a walkway too.

Yeah, this takes time - but if you've been building rock piles, it doesn't take that long, once you get going, to build the wall. It's even kinda fun - like a jigsaw puzzle. It sounds like you might have a pretty steep angle of slope. If so, you might want to think about including some kind of buried drainage system to avoid building an inadvertant waterfall... or series of stepped ponds.

Just some ideas and things to think about. I did that to a hillside. Perennials and herbs did real well there... and helped hold the soil, too.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:46 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cleveland OH / Palestine WV
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Don't know where you are.

We have property in WV which has a lot of hills and a lot of clay soil.

Our neighbor does bulldozing and he's been working the side of a hill and had the whole side slide off with him on his dozer in the middle of it.

So make sure you know what sort of soil you're dealing with before you invest a bunch of work in a terraced garden. This is common in WV, but other parts of the country, it might not be a concern at all.
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Marxism: The ultimate illusory fantasy.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:16 AM
tomato204 Male tomato204 is offline
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Default sloping land

I had some areas that were steep like that. Beginning at the bottom I used sawmill boards laid across the slope and held in place with 2 stakes driven near the ends. If the board is longer than about 6 ft maybe you could add another stake in the middle. Rake the dirt above the board so it's level and make a place to walk above that. Then add another board and set of stakes etc on up the hill. Leave a place at one or both ends for storm water to run off. Good luck.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:31 PM
rugby1725 rugby1725 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I live in Southern Illinois and my hill isn't big or steep enough to worry about a slide to much. After a little digging around I managed to find a couple of power poles that I may use as my terrace edge, then some long concrete form pins(3/4" steel 3-4'long) to anchor them in, then rake the dirt somewhat level but it probably won't fill in the entire area.

This is where I need some more help in prepping the bed. I know I need to put down a thick layer of wet newspaper for weed control, my mom recommended 14-15 layers and a little straw on top, then some good soil mixed with some compost that I'll have to bring in. I would fill the beds up to about an inch or so from the top with this mix, then plant. One question I have is do I need to leave open space in the newspaper so the plants have an easy way down or will they work there way through it. I would think if the weeds can't get through the plant roots couldn't get through either. If I need to leave an opening should I just leave an open line when I layout the paper or dig down and cut out a hole when I plant.

Also, I've read of a bunch of different ways to kill off the grass that is there(tarps, carpet, etc). When should I do this since I'm coming into winter and don't want to take the chance of the hill sliding before spring. One other option is that since I sodded this area in the spring of 2011(I know should have just done this then) would I be better off to see what I can get up with just a flat nosed shovel as a sod cutter, then kill off the rest some other way.

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Old 11-25-2012, 04:28 PM
tospol tospol is offline
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Location: Seattle
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There's a gentleman in Austria named Sepp Holzer who has quite the farm on the side of a mountain ranging from about 1000-1500 meters in elevation. He uses terraces extensively, as well as raised beds called hugelkultur and water management. There are some good videos on Youtube that show a lot of what he's done. Also, look up videos and information about garden beds on contour and using swales.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:38 PM
JarDude Male JarDude is offline
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Originally Posted by rugby1725 View Post
then some long concrete form pins(3/4" steel 3-4'long) to anchor them in,
Rerod will work just as good and cost a fraction of what from pins will cost you.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:05 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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I've never heard of rerod. Rebar should do the trick though.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:21 PM
JarDude Male JarDude is offline
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:13 PM
Mad_Professor Mad_Professor is offline
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Look up Machu Pichu.

Indians had this down 1500 years ago.
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