Doing raised beds on a sloping yard?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by The Funny Farm, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. The Funny Farm

    The Funny Farm Active Member

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    I was wondering if anyone else has a yard that slopes and has raised
    beds on it? If so can you give me some pointers and ideas for mine?
    The fenced in part of my yard is only 50x50 feet and the whole thing
    is a gentle slope. Thats really the only place I have right now where
    I can do raised beds. So far I haven't even figured out what to build them
    out of. The last ones we had were on flat ground and we used old cinderblocks. Open to all ideas!!!!
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you want to use cement blocks again, you can make the upslope wall 1 high and the downslope wall 2-3 high, and so on down the slope. I built sort of terraced raised beds on a slope in my yard out of big rocks lying in the way and around the property. Worked fine except I forgot to leave walking space between the beds and since I used no morter with the rocks I couldn't walk on the walls. Live and learn.
     

  3. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Terrace the beds down the slope. Think of all the rice paddies in Indonesia and the Philippines, or terraced fields cut into the mountains of Nepal and Pakistan.
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I want to do the same thing, but I have a steep slope. Terracing is the answer. I'm not sure how to go about it - - been thinking about starting at the bottom with a wall. Then scrape the dirt from the hill and push it to the wall until its flat. Repeat on the next level.?

    I read that a garden box on a south slope with a wall behind the box will make a 1/2 zone difference in your growing space.
     
  5. We have a 30 degree slope in front where I put the garden. The ground is very rocky, boulders!, with poor soil. A few years ago I purchased river bottom/mushroom compost soil and made 20 foot horizontal beds all the way down the yard with paths in between. About 20 rows. Because of cost and snakes, I didn't use any supports, just the mounds of dirt. It has held up well for 7 years. Every spring I get the hoe and starting with the top row, pull soil from the paths that might have eroded some (not much), into the next, all the way to the bottom row. Doing this down hill makes it easier. Then I add compost. My garden faces due south and with it being on a slope, I can start plants and seeds up here earlier. Tip I've found out...the first row at the top, gets the rush of rain water coming down the most. I put some medium size rock at the start of the garden to divert the water. We live where there are copperheads and I didn't want much wood or rock supports in the garden to give them a place to hide!
     
  6. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

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    We have 5' x 20' raised beds terraced on the slope behind our house, using rough cut white oak 2x lumber. We dug in 4x4 posts at the corners of each bed and they are held in place with rebar and lag screws. We were fortunate bc there was a huge pile of nice soil, along with decomposed buried tree stumps at the edge of our woods, that we hauled up to fill the beds. The upper side of each bed is at existing grade level, but we use that part as walking paths, so it doesn't matter. If I were going to do it over, I would only make them 4' wide.
     
  7. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    If you live where it is cold, you might want to make sure that your raised beds go the opposite way of the terraced beds in tropical asia.

    We build our beds so that they one end is high and the other end is low. This allows for cool air to pass on by. Thus gaining a week or two in the spring and a week or two in the fall.
     
  8. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Paul,

    I've pondered your prior profound posting. Please elaborate.
    Gary
     
  9. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    My property is 3 terraces, I just dig a drain trench on the down slope side and use the turf plugs as a retaining curb for the season, then seed the curb at end of season after filling the trench. Next season dig and turn the turf plugs again to control the grass growth during the season. Works on level ground too. Perfect for a lazy dude like me.
     
  10. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    I used railroad ties to 'level' the ground on my slopes... I suppose by stacking them, you could create raised beds, but seems like a lot of work for one person doing it this way. (To keep them in place, its a matter of drilling a hole with an auger and sticking in a length of rebar.)

    Sue