Raised beds on a slope

southshoregardener(z7 NY)January 9, 2010


I used to have a potager with raised beds made of boards. At the time, our backyard was nice and flat so it was easy to design it. We moved two years ago and now that most of the inside has been tackled it's time to build another potager, but not as big as the last one! I have been growing veggies and herbs in my flower beds around the deck but it doesn't satisfy me.

I now have a sloping yard and want to make the beds out of stacked stone. Does anyone have any pictures to share about how they tackeled a slope with raised beds?

Pictures of my previous potager, which no longer exists, can be found by searching this forum by my user name.

Thanks in advance,

SSG (but now gardening on the north shore of Long Island!)

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Hello Southshore,
Haven't seen much of you here lately. Have you got your new potager up and running yet? I had a horrible year last year as I lost my mother to lung cancer....needless to say I was never home to tend my garden.
Hopefully, this spring will be different as I plan to throw myself into my garden.
I have been looking for seeds (man did they get expensive???) and will try again to winter-sow....that is so much fun!
Post pics when you can:)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 3:11PM
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southshoregardener(z7 NY)

No, I do not have a potager yet, hence the above question. Sorry to hear about your mother. We are going through it with my mother-in-law. She keeps a positive attitude, I don't know how.
I am looking forward to spring too and finally get the potager going. I start seeds indoors under grow lights in March so that keeps me going. I am perusing the seed catalogs now. I want everything!!
I will post pics while under construction. Have a great time winter sowing. I just might try some.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 9:02AM
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catalinagrey(MN 3/4)

I wish I had pics of the raised beds my Dad built when I was growing up.
We lived on a hill and he built them as flower beds, but they could have been used for a potager.
As I remember them - they were field stone stacked with cement to hold them together. You could see a little of the cement in the cracks between the stones.
I remember climbing on them and getting yelled at!
It amazed me that they held together, because the cement holding them together wasn't obvious and they were on a steep hill.
He also built stone steps between the beds up the hill.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 12:19PM
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fuzzy(6b northern AR)

This is exactly my situation... I'm hesitating to get started, knowing that the slope is mostly solid rock (very little topsoil) and that putting in any kind of retaining wall is likely to be quite a job.

My eye is turning toward the front yard, which is flatter but less sunny. All these beautiful front-yard potagers have me wondering if I should be growing the veggies out front instead!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:56AM
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Fuzzy- A front yard potager sounds like a great solution! Front yard potagers can be beautiful and so much nicer to look at than another lawn. I love roses in the potager (just a few) and hybrid musks and Zephirine Drouhin work well in partial shade and many are thornless. Perfect for an arch into the potager garden :)

There are many vegetables and flowers (even herbs) that will do well in partial shade. Do you get morning sun?

The back, with the sun and rock might be nice for a few herbs that need those kind of conditions. Maybe a small bed or some containers...could work for tomatoes too, if it's too shady out front.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:07PM
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nycynthias(Z6 NY)

Not sure how I missed this post! I may end up in a similar situation because my potager is planned for only a 24x24' area at the moment, and the mud has stopped us from even digging that much of it level...but I have a sneaking feeling I'm going to want to expand it this fall, up the hillside.
I built a free standing stone planting circle about 25 feet across the first year we had our house, and goldarn it, the thing stood til we moved it to make room for lawn--which is now becoming my potager. It was a LOAD of work though and stones are significantly heavier than they look, heh. I was shocked to realize that a 2'x2' stone weighed well over 80 pounds.

That experience, combined with paying someone a ridiculous amount of money last year to rehab hundreds of yards of our existing 1800s stone walls as well as build new ones around the property in various areas,taught me a few things about stacked stone walls: 1) if you are planning to build it yourself, I hope you have a really strong back and a few pairs of heavy gloves! 2) it will take at least twice as much stone as you think. 3) Remember to allow for some drainage, such as a few inches of gravel under the first course of stones. This helps the wall stand much, much better because the groundwater pressure isn't pushing on it every spring and fall. Also, stacked stone walls are meant to move and "give" a little bit, and the gravel allows them some breathing room. 4) If you need a retaining wall much over 12" and still want to do stacked stone, you may want to enlist some skilled help. It's a tricky process, especially for unmortared walls, and it would be awful to put that much work into the project only to have it not work out.
I hope this helps!

BTW if you don't mind me asking, where on the North Shore are you located? My husband is originally from Great Neck, but we're in Westchester now.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 5:49PM
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