question about how to garden on a bank : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi everyone. I have a large section of lawn I would like to replace with a vegetable garden. Currently I have two small gardens but, this one spot would give me a much bigger garden than the two small gardens combined.My problem is the lawn is a steep bank (well not that steep unless you are mowing then it seems steep). I would like to tear out the lawn and put a garden there have any of you gardened on a bank before? If so how did you do it without building a retaining wall yet keep the soil from washing away in heavy rains? Thanks again everyone for any info you have to offer. George

-- george nh (, January 31, 2002


I saw an elderly man out in the hills use what appeared to be railroad ties and he had his bank heavily mulched..they may have just been treated ties that he had got from a local sawmill..It was a very healthy, nice looking garden and he had pathways too.

-- Lynn(MO) (, January 31, 2002.

I have a book called "The Joy of Gardening". In this book it talks about "Terrace gardening". I have never done this type of gardening but it talks about people in south america who live in the mountains that do this. I can't remember the name of the author but I believe his name was Raymond codwell or something like that.

-- r.h. in okla. (, January 31, 2002.

george, You might check with your County Extension Service. Ours has pamplets on gardening on slopes and so does our Sunset Garden Book. Good luck with this project, I think you are going have fun. LQ

-- Little Quacker (, January 31, 2002.

Hey there George, I have nothing but sloping land up on this hill! When I first started gardening up here, I made raised beds right on top of solid rock. I didn't use stone or landscaping timbers, I just piled dirt in rows that went with the contour of the land. Worked great. This year I'm going to have a garden also in the front. I use to have 2, 60 ft. raised beds that ran down the hill that I grew tomatoes in. When we moved last year, I had the neighbor level them down for me with his tractor, level with the grass, thinking that maybe if we sold our house, someone wouldn't want 2 large strips of dirt in their front yard. Well, we moved back so this year we have tilled up the area and I'm going to run the beds horizontially to the hill by raking the tilled dirt into beds. I'll be able to get more beds, 30 feet across, by doing it this way. It will help with any erosion, plus this way the water will be caught in the paths, which in turn will run to the high side of the bed below which will be great for retaining the rainfall. I also use soaker hoses for all the beds on the other garden. Watering with a hose is just too wasteful. The water would run off the beds and not get to the plants. Hope this helps!

-- Annie (, January 31, 2002.

George. I wouldn't tear out the lawn if I was you. I would garden above it by first layering newspaper, or cardboard on the grass to keep it from growing; next you pile gardening matterial on top, straw, compost, grass clippings, shredded leaves, etc. The grass will eventually break down to form bedding for your plants and in the meantime the lawn thatch will help keep your erosion situation down. You might want to tear out the lawn where your paths will be, and encorporate that soil, and grass in your beds beneath cardboard. Mulching heavily will help with moisture run off problems as well. You might not need any retaining walls; if you can mow it, you should be able to garden it. In designing your beds, you create the water flow situation. Guide it where you like, and provide catchment basins; then if erosion occurs, you have not lost your soil, it just moved down to the basin. I think that you will have great success, if you keep gravity in check, and don't get over-zealous about tearing the place up. I hope this was helpful.

-- roberto pokachinni (, February 04, 2002.

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