Lianne
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:42 pm
Location: Grapevine, TX

Question re: uneven ground

Hello All, I am new here.

My boyfriend and I recently moved into our own home with a nice big backyard (a first for me since living on my own). We want to grow a successful veggie garden via the raised bed method. Today, with the bad north TX weather, I spent the afternoon putting together the raised beds in my garage. Before I drag them out to the back yard, I need some advice on an issue I've stumbled across.

We have some beautiful, old trees in our yard, which unfortunately, are probably going to cover a lot of the yard with shade when their leaves grow back. The only spot in our yard that would get a lot or full sun, is in one corner. Aesthetically, the corner looks like a nice location to start our raised bed endeavors. Unfortunately, in that particular corner, the ground dips down, significantly, and on a day like today with heavy rain, the water run off from the gutters on that side of the house ALL flows down to that corner and the ground is soaked. I'm afraid this is the spot in our yard that will take the longest to "absorb" rain water or dry up, and am afraid it would make for very soggy gardens after a long storm.

My boyfriend suggested placing some bricks (there is a pile leftover from our house) flat in the "dipped down" corner to help even it out some before placing the beds down on top of it and filling with soil. Is this an effective solution? Should we even be trying to even out the landscape in that location? If we used the bricks to level the landscape, would it be okay to plant a raised garden on top of bricks?

Thanks for any advice you can send my way!

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applestar
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How much does it slope and how extensively does the flooded area affect the raised beds?

Some people dig the upper part of the slope and fill the lower part with the dug soil so the boxes would be level.

I chose not to do that since my raised beds use metal corner brackets that support 2X's and the slope was gentle enough to allow me to slip the 2X's in the corner supports. What that has meant for me is that I can plant things that need good drainage and/or are drought tolerant in the upper end of the slope and plant things that need more moisture and/or tolerates soggy soil in the lower part.

Since the raised bed brings up the surface of the soil above the flood waters that are puddled all over the paths, the lower end of the bed itself still isn't soggy, but the ground underneath retains moisture longer and remains somewhat cooler. I basically just can't plant root crops or taprooted crops like cabbage family at that end but lettuce and cucumbers, celery, etc. And moisture hungry pumpkins do very well, and I'm planning to plant my mini patch of corn there this year.

Lianne
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Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:42 pm
Location: Grapevine, TX

I'd say at the lowest point, it is probably about a foot lower, maaaybe a foot and a half lower than the higher end of the slope, and the entire "dip" area maybe takes up about 2 or 3 square feet (I'm starting with two 4'x4' beds) so it would only affect one bed.

I like your idea of keeping things that would benefit from some extra moisture in that corner where the water would hold longer. I was hoping to include romaine, cukes, and spinach as part of my lineup for this first attempt at veggie gardening, so maybe I can just aim for keeping those guys in the "deeper" corner that might have moisture beneath the raised bed...

thanks for the quick reply!

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jal_ut
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If we used the bricks to level the landscape, would it be okay to plant a raised garden on top of bricks?
I would prefer to not put bricks under the bed. Your plants will do better if their roots can go down into the earth beneath.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
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Last edited by DoubleDogFarm on Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lianne
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Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:42 pm
Location: Grapevine, TX

Thanks for the feedback, all. After reworking some things in my head (i was playing a bit of a guessing game with figuring out where the shade will be heaviest when the older trees' leaves grow back this spring), i ultimately ended up finding another spot that gets a good amount of sun for my two little raised beds and it is on even ground! we may still use that uneven corner in the future, but might work towards just building up the sunken in part of the land over time before we decide to plant there.

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