planning first edible landscape and draining question?

kelisk8sDecember 5, 2011


I just moved to a new home that has a very sunny yard! I am trying to plan out an edible garden for my space. I am used to growing things in pots at previous apartments over the years, so I have experience with that, but I need help addressing a water issue that I'm not sure how to deal with. We are the second house from the bottom of a hill. The house at the bottom of the hill (our neighbors) backfilled their property. So now all the water from the surrounding areas end up in our yard and basement. I am planning on putting in raised garden beds on the side of the house that is uphill to us. This is the area that gets the most sun and also ends up receiving the water run off from the hill first. I would like to put some of this water that is sitting in our yard and running into our basement to good use because it seems really wasteful for all this water to be pumped out of our basement into the street all the time. Gardens require a lot of water, so I am hoping with some edibles the roots will be deeper and help fix this problem. Are there any particularly thirsty edibles that could help? Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas about how to deal with this situation? Does anyone know how high I would have to build raised beds to prevent plants from getting water logged?

Thanks a bunch!


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My first question is of course, where are you located? I would probably deal very differently with the water issue depending on the climate... but, here are some guesses at useful info...

Sounds like a water storage tank might be nice to pump into during flooding, and then use when the weather's dry. It could double as rainwater catchment storage from the roof as well.

In terms of runoff -- it has to be diverted (possibly to a series of tiered mulched basins planted with edibles) before it causes a problem in your garage. Any unwanted ponding has to be dealt with by improving the drainage capacity of the area. Water thirsty trees such as willows will suck up ponded water, but I doubt edibles have deep enough roots to help much where it's really problematic.

I don't know any formula for how high to make raised beds when drainage is an issue, but most garden vegetables only use the top 6 inches or so of soil, so the beds should not have to be much higher than that.

By the way, any of the permaculture related books, as well as rainwater harvesting literature (the best is Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands by Brad Lancaster) give countless ideas for controlling and using runoff wisely.

At least you have the benefits of a very sunny spot! Good luck...

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:40PM
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