We needed to terrace the ground into level ‘steppes’ or build raised beds for the garden vegetable plots in order to keep the valuable soil and amendments in place.So some of the bed sides need to be tapered to fit the ground contour, which makes the carpentry a bit more complex. .
Raised Bed On A Slope: How To Do It Right
Since water flows downhill and carries dirt and debris with it, erosion could be a major factor with a heavily-sloped surface.This should be done during a time when rain is not likely to interrupt your work, as that way you don’t run the risk of erosion while halfway through your project!You’ll need to carve out the side of the hill to make a level, stepped location for your raised beds.This is especially true if you’ll be building a concrete wall, as you don’t want it to sink into the soil underneath it!A good concrete retaining wall can easily be 24” to 28” thick to ensure it can handle the weight of the hillside behind it.Between the inner wall and the hillside, you’ll need to add some gravel to allow excess water to drain and to help stabilize the soil.Wooden retaining walls are often much thinner, but usually have a moisture barrier directly against the soil, then a heavily reinforced fence panel against that.Take time planning out your retaining wall in advance and make sure you allow for plenty of room between that and your future gardening space.With a terraced garden, you’ll definitely want to build sturdy retaining walls to prevent erosion.This gradually will reduce the amount of good soil you have in your upper levels and can overflow the lower ones, so it’s important to start out right.Building individual raised beds to hold the majority of your soil in will prevent the erosion issues that come with terraced gardens.A shallow sloped surface is much easier to work with and requires a lot less soil to be moved.For a vegetable garden in a location like this, you’ll need to level the sloped surface just a little bit before you begin construction.Once your bed is assembled, you’ll need to make sure that the bottom of the frame is flush with the ground and that the top is level.If you’ve got problems with moles or gophers, place some hardware cloth underneath your bed to prevent them from digging up your plots.Check the level once more so you make sure your bed isn’t tilting downhill, then fill with your potting mix of choice and you’re ready to grow!Lumber will deteriorate over time when covered with damp potting mix, so using rebar or other metal stakes is generally a better option for use over many years.This style of garden is more of a custom build than an out-of-the-box project, but it’s easy to source wood and screws to assemble them.Cedar is one of the favored lumber types for this style of build due to its longevity, but you can opt for Douglas fir or other woods as well.I prefer 2 x 6 lumber for the sides of my garden bed, but depending on your design you might opt for other sizes. .
How to Create a Vegetable Garden on a Slope
When the best place you have to grow veggies and herbs is a sloping hillside, you can terrace your way to a garden that’s beautiful, productive, and reasonably easy to maintain.Don’t take on too much at first, because most terraced vegetable gardens are tended by hand, which requires slogging up and down a slope in addition to the usual stooping, lifting and bending.Building a terraced vegetable garden is basically making raised beds on a slope, and it’s important to start at the bottom and work your way up.Some sites may need only a low stone wall to transform them into good gardening space, while others will require compact beds stacked up like boxes.Natural stone is often free if you live in a mountainous area, and as long as you stack a low wall so that it tilts slightly backward, into the slope, it should need only minor restacking at the beginning of each season.There are no rules on the materials you choose provided they don’t leach nasty chemicals into the soil, as can happen with treated lumber or landscape timbers. .
How to Build Raised Garden Beds (on a slope!)
How to Build Raised Garden Beds (on a slope!).At our previous house, my dad helped us make beautiful raised beds with a combination of wood and corrugated steel paneling.Each bed was 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, which allows you to reach into the full depth of the garden from the sides.More sun would be better, but we live in a heavily wooded area, and this was one of the best spots in our yard.We decided to create four beds in a symmetrical layout, each being 4′ x 6′ – which I knew from past experience was a good size.4′ x 8′ would have been fine too, but that increase of 2 feet meant more money on wood, more soil, more digging, and more work.Site and layout had been decided, so the next day I went out to the spot and started laying out the garden using a string line.I used a square garden spade, my layout weapon of choice, to carefully cut out the bed outlines and remove the grass for about a shovel width.You know the saying measure twice, cut once?I’m grateful that these guys were still taking and delivering orders: which seemed to be the best way to do it under the current shelter in place order.While I didn’t get to hand pick the lumber (resulting in some creative layout choices), I’m so glad to have been able to place the order online and have it delivered a few days later.If you want to make raised beds similar to these, you can pick a flat site and get away with doing them one board high instead of 2.However if you have a site with a slope and want to make these exactly like ours, here’s the list of supplies you’ll want.*With lumber selection, I ordered an extra board for each size so that I had the ability to select if one turned out to be really bad, which was a good thing.The trickiest part of this project is running a circular saw on the 45 degree cuts for the seat rail.This photo shows some of the box construction, before adding the soil and the cap).The bottom drawing shows the cap / seat rail.Along with the speed square, this gave a quick way to lay out and cut the seat rail boards.Dig out footing to approximate level Check for level (if level, proceed) Thin layer of gravel in footing for better drainage Cut 2×12 boards for bottom course (2 @ 47″, 2 @ 68″) Assemble bottom layer Check for level on bottom later, Check corners and cross measurements for square Cut upper course boards, Cut 2×4’s to 22.5″ for framing the corners.Attach end boards (47″ boards) to frame Fill bed with soil Cut and attach seat rail boards.But the design and construction is the fundamental work of building something that will last and be enjoyed for years to come. .
How to build an Organic Raised Bed on a Sloped Yard
Last summer we embarked on a big landscaping project for our hillside and we continued this spring by adding more plantings and expanding the bed.Now that we had the “beauty” part of the yard covered it was time to add some function by adding a raised bed kitchen garden.I have had my share of summer gardens now and just love being able enjoy fresh salads filled with cucumbers and tomatoes, zucchini and herbs straight from my own backyard.And because I make every effort to buy organic when I shop, I wanted to focus on finding the safest building materials and soils to use in my garden.So I did a great deal of research on applying various protectants to the wood that would extend the life of the raised bed and while still being completely safe.Knowing that we were just inches above rock and would have very little actual ground to stake into, we used the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes to join the layers of wood together for added strength and stability.The side board connects at the top of the front and the bottom of the back, kind of like stairs.These purely decorative boards were used to cover the screws that hold everything together and provide a small ledge to lean on while harvesting or to place a garden tool.Because the raised bed is rather deep, we filled the bottom of the box with leaves and topped it with newspaper.While building a raised bed garden on a slope has it’s challenges, it’s totally worth the effort when you can harvest your first cherry tomato and slice the first cucumber.Of course since these photos were taken several weeks ago, the plants are filling in and yielding fruit. .
Raised Garden Beds vs. In-Ground Beds: Pros & Cons ~ Homestead
As you read through this article, you’ll see that we have some dang good reasons to back that preference.Let’s talk about the potential drawbacks and benefits of using raised garden beds (compared to planting directly in the ground) – so you can decide what suits you best.What is a raised garden bed, or an in-ground garden?Raised beds (also referred to as garden boxes or planter boxes) are most commonly constructed of wood lumber, though they can also be made of stone, bricks, concrete, galvanized metal, logs, durable fabric or other materials.On the other hand, many in-ground garden beds are formed by tilling, amending, and adding to the native soil (such as adding compost).This creates a slightly mounded in-ground garden bed; a distinct planting area from the surrounding yard space.Rather than simply working with what you’ve got, raised beds can be filled with an ideal soil that your plants will love.See this article to learn more about how we fill our raised beds with the “perfect” organic soil.Therefore, we always mix in a good amount of compost and bagged soil when we plant trees or shrubs directly in the ground.Raised beds are usually deep, with ample space for roots to grow.Now of course this benefit will vary depending on how deep you construct your raised garden beds.If the raised beds have a bottom, are blocked by weed barrier fabric below (we’ll get to that), or are otherwise sitting on a solid surface, I strongly suggest creating beds that are least 18 to 24 inches deep.However, we’re back to considering the composition of the native soil.If you happen to have great native soil, then you’re good to go!Yet if you’re working with clay, large rocks, or other less-than-ideal soil structure – you’re either going to need to work really hard to till and amend the soil deeply, or the plant’s root space will be limited.Large plants like tomatoes grow best in deeper soil, like these 22″ deep beds.Yet in the case of a bad back, a long three-foot wide bed is even better!We line the bottom of all of our raised beds with galvanized hardware cloth to protect our plants.Chicken wire is cheaper and sometimes used instead of hardware cloth to line the bottom of beds or create gopher baskets.Therefore, I highly recommend hardware cloth for under raised beds when burrowing pests are a known issue.Protect crops from above using hoops and row covers – a pest control technique that can be used for both in-ground or raised bed gardening.In contrast, native soil and in-ground beds may contain weeds and weed seeds.The tall borders created by a raised bed prevents weeds from creeping in from the garden pathways around them.You can also prevent invasive weeds from sneaking in from below by providing some type of weed barrier under the raised bed, before filling it with soil.When installing a raised garden bed on a fairly weed-free or only slightly weedy area, lining the bottom of the bed with unwaxed cardboard will help smother and kill most weeds.They create dimension and a well-defined growing area.Planter boxes of different sizes, heights and shapes can be placed to create unique and attractive garden designs.One option is to line the open bottom of a wood frame planter box with geotextile fabric.Other raised bed kits have built-in drainage systems, designed for use on a patio.1) Raised beds require more materials & upfront cost.The cost of materials and soil can really add up, particularly if you’re building and filling numerous raised beds at one time!In hugelkultur, you fill some of the bottom empty space in the bed with logs, branches and/or bark from around your property before adding a good foot of soil on top.My friend Meg’s (@seedtofork) beautiful in-ground garden required far less material, lumber, and cost to establish than our raised bed gardens.If you want to build your own raised garden beds, it does require a bit of handy work, muscle, and tools.Thankfully, putting together a rectangular planter box is just about one of the most simple and straightforward DIY “building” projects out there.They come in a variety of sizes, and at 15″ deep, will provide a nice amount of root space for your plants.The upfront cost of quality lumber is a worthy investment when you’re building raised beds.Once you build and install raised garden beds, it is relatively difficult to move them or change the layout of your garden space.All you need to do is dig up a new area.And that concludes the potential drawbacks and benefits of raised garden beds.As you can see, the potential benefits of raised garden beds or in-ground gardens largely depends on your unique garden space, native soil, budget, aesthetic preferences, and prevalence of pests. .
Are Raised Vegetable Garden Beds Right For You?
The composition of the paths between garden beds (grass, dirt, wood chips, gravel).Raised vegetable garden beds allow deep roots to grow without an annual fight with the tiller or shovel.Along the same lines, if you are short on growing space, consider building raised beds on top of pavement.Raised beds heat up faster in the spring, resulting in a longer growing season in areas with long winters.Raised vegetable garden beds can help contain the soil and prevent it from washing away.There are many creative ways to frame beds on a slope, but no matter the material you use, be sure to build it on level.The check log terrace is one of my favorite, inexpensive ways to build a bed on a slope.Would you like to learn more about improving the biodiversity of your garden, reducing maintenance, and increasing yield?Invest in building deep beds so that your crops can grow proper roots without tapping into the toxic soil below.If physical limitations are a reality for you, then raised vegetable garden beds mean less bending over.Simply lay cardboard on the inside of the bed before adding the soil to smother the weeds.Raised vegetable garden bed frames keep grass or weeds from creeping in from surrounding pathways.Raised beds form a barrier to keep children, pets, or barnyard animals out.Pro #10: Root Out Surrounding Trees and Digging Pests with Raised Vegetable Garden Beds.Likewise, you might have encountered a digging pest that is happy to tunnel into your garden and either eat your crops or the soil life that lives there.Attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the raised bed frame before adding soil to prevent tree roots and digging pests from taking up residence.Remember that a raised bed generally warm ups faster in the spring (#3 above).There is no one right solution that works in all situations, and raised vegetable garden beds are no exception.If you live in a hot and dry climate, other solutions might work better than raised vegetable garden beds.If ‘hot and dry’ describes your growing conditions, seek out more information about an alternative solution: sunken beds.The organic matter in my raised bed insulates the clay below from moisture loss and keeps it moist and soft.Raised beds are commonly made from wood that resists fungal and bacterial growth, such as cedar, black locust, or redwood.Raised vegetable garden beds do not work well with a tiller, so you’ll have to manage them by hand.Over the years, I’ve learned how to balance on the frame of the bed while working the soil with the digging fork.I hope this article has helped you weigh the pros and cons to decide if they are right for your garden. .