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Putting boxes on a slope?

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Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  NHGardener on 3/1/2011, 10:39 pm

The best place for full sun in my yard is a slope downward. Not a hill, but a slope. How do I put boxes there? Do I build up the soil on one end first, and then place the box on that? Dig out soil from the other end maybe? I'm thinking they should probably be level.
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  Odd Duck on 3/2/2011, 1:35 am

The boxes don't need to be perfectly level, but shouldn't have too much slope or the water (and the mix) will run out the low end when you water. I can't tell you how much slope is too much, though, sorry. Maybe one of our engineers can pitch in here.

I suspect if you have much slope, you will need to both dig out the high end and fill in the low end. I would start digging the high side and use the soil you dig out to fill the low side and stop when things are reasonably level. This is how I (very roughly) leveled my beds. I didn't use a level at all, just eye-balled it, and I don't have any problems with soil or water running out. Oh, and I'm sure I probably have at least 1/4" per foot slope if I were to throw a level on my beds.

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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  acara on 3/2/2011, 6:44 am

Slope is expressed exactly as you stated it ....rise/run (rise-over-run).

So in your example, its very minimal .25"/12".

Just as a reference point, most pedestrial staircases are 7.5/12 slope ... so for every 12" of horizontal length, the height at the endpoint would be 7.5" higher than the point of origin.

As far as optimal .... not sure there is an exact number. If it doesn't annoy you, it's level enough Very Happy
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  Megan on 3/2/2011, 7:18 am

I posted this link somewhere else but can't find it now, sorry. This is what I plan to do:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  NHGardener on 3/2/2011, 8:02 am

Thanks Megan! That's the best simple step x step to making the boxes I've seen yet - I'm saving that one.

So they say to use the garden stakes to level the box, instead of using the dirt. That's actually a great idea. I wonder if it would work here. I'll try it and report back in a month or so.
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  Megan on 3/2/2011, 7:16 pm

You're welcome, NHgardener! Mel's ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening book also has great instructions. If you don't have a copy, I do suggest you look for it at your local library. (Pioneerwoman is an awesome website, though. I can read it for hours!)

I found out that my backyard is really not sloped very much at all, so I may not even bother with the stakes, but they are a great solution if you need them! Please let us know how it works for you.

Something I should probably point out:

If you don't have a big box store available to cut your lumber on a fence saw, you should consider how big your boards are, AND your saw, before you start. Here is there reasoning.

If you have a handsaw, you can turn the board on end and saw away. But, if you have a circular saw, you need to consider whether your saw can get through anything bigger than a 2x4 or 2x6. (You professional carpenter people out there with your industrial grade chopsaws may ignore this part.) We had trouble with that last year when cutting 2x12's. Had to cut in from both sides to get through the boards and the resulting overall cut was not very pretty at all. (But it did work! Smile )

Using those stakes allows you to easily stack boards and overcome that issue.
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  bullfrogbabe on 3/2/2011, 9:46 pm

You can terrace a box down the slope. Visualize stairs that step down the slope but the tops of the treads are open for gardening.











Here are a couple examples I downloaded from internet. For a SFG each step would be at least 1 ft wide and how ever many feet long you want for your slope. If the wood ledges are wide / steps deep enough you can walk along each step to work them.

Another option is do a google search for 'terrace gardens' or 'terracing a slope', there are some neat ones out there.


Last edited by bullfrogbabe on 3/2/2011, 9:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  NHGardener on 3/2/2011, 10:37 pm

Megan - I'm thinking I'll have Lowes cut the boards to 4' lengths (I think that's what you meant). Only I'm wondering if I could do like 8" height so I don't have to use 2 boards for height.

And bullfrogbabe, those are some really pretty terraces! I'm hoping I don't have to do terraces, it's not a huge slope, hopefully the stakes will take care of it, and then adding dirt under one end if I have to.

Pretty soon the race will be on: Get ready, get set, go, hurry make your boxes, figure out the MM and fill them, get the seeds planted indoors, figure out when to transplant them outside, and don't forget to make a map of what goes where, get the trellises, and hope I didn't forget anything... Laughing
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  Megan on 3/3/2011, 6:14 pm

NHGardener wrote:Megan - I'm thinking I'll have Lowes cut the boards to 4' lengths (I think that's what you meant). Only I'm wondering if I could do like 8" height so I don't have to use 2 boards for height.

You really only need 6". If you do 8" beds, you might want to fill the bottom 2" of your beds with sand (or cardboard or newspaper, etc) to help save on MM costs.

And, I know what you mean about the race almost being on! We are working on scheduling getting the tree taken out. After that it is construction time... woohoo!
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  camprn on 4/2/2012, 8:12 pm


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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  NHGardener on 4/2/2012, 8:40 pm

Neat!

You could really get artistic about it. Maybe next time around I'll do that. Smile
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  camprn on 4/2/2012, 8:43 pm

If I am going to expand I need to get serious about doing some terraced boxes.

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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  boffer on 4/2/2012, 8:46 pm

Camp, you're almost 50. Time to start thinking about TTs! TTs with shorter legs on one side might be the easy way to go!
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  camprn on 4/2/2012, 8:53 pm

boffer wrote:Camp, you're almost 50. Time to start thinking about TTs! TTs with shorter legs on one side might be the easy way to go!
Oh, for cryin' out loud! With my luck they would roll down the hill or the driveway... LOL.

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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  NHGardener on 4/2/2012, 9:20 pm

Excuse me, I'm 51, and so far, I can still stoop. Smile

As far as the terraced, I don't know how big your hill is, but my ground is so slopey it goes in all sorts of directions, and I just put stakes in the corners, and then this year I have shims keeping the soil in the parts of the boxes that are slightly raised. Of course, your terrace needs might be steeper.

The one thing I do like about having the boxes on the ground is earthworm access.
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Re: Putting boxes on a slope?

Post  CarolinaGirl on 4/3/2012, 10:07 am

I'm not sure how sloped your spot is, but mine definitely wasn't level so I dug my boxes into the ground. It was easier to level the ground than level the boxes on top of the ground and trying to fill the gaps that would have been at the bottoms of the boxes.
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