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pinksand
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Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

I'd like to add more veggie beds but one of the challenges I face is that my property is very sloped. We do have some flat areas of our property but we tend to use those areas since they are flat and easier for playing soccer/volleyball, patio/grilling, fire pit, and you can't really setup a kiddie pool on a slope, etc. Ideally, I'd love to convert most of our sloped lawn into garden space but this is obviously a challenge for growing veggies.

I found this lovely idea for a garden on a slope and thought it would be perfect for me! I really would rather not work with wood since I currently have a number of beds with rotting wood that needs to be replaced... I'm also really a fan of the curved veggie bed!

I've also been reading up on keyhole gardens and was wondering if I could possible create a hybrid of the idea above and a keyhole garden... I'm at the point where I need to start another compost pile anyway ;) The challenge would be making sure that the compost pile is at the top and sloped appropriately to sufficiently feed/water the rest of the raised bed.

I wouldn't do the terracing as pictured in the link, but probably just start with one bed and see how that goes before adding more (partly because the interlocking bricks are going to be some work/time and expense and I have other projects planned). Here's a photo of the space...
Image

Thoughts or advice? Is this a silly idea? Does it seem like it would work?
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Asica
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

Hi,
I have just finished building my keyhole garden. I am fascinated by the idea, and I have tried one temporary one last year, with some my own mistakes it worked out very well. My new keyhole garden is made of bricks. It is on a flat area, but your slop is small so I do not see the problem. I follow Deb Tolman idea with laying down the cardboard first. This will probably help you since the slop may cause you to have the water run down. Just make sure that you have easy access to the kitchen basket. My dad set up the step instead of the little cut out like all keyhole gardens have. It worked out even better. Btw the arugula sprouted after 3 days beans after 5!

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applestar
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

HOW did I not respond to this? Too busy it must have slipped my mind. :oops: Have you implemented this project already, pinksand?

Yeah, I'm picturing the central walkway access at the top of the slope to the compost bin, with the terracing open top surround (C-shaped) along the bottom of the grade. Are the beds going to be squared or curved?

...alternatively, in a slightly modified idea/design, you might trench compost all along the top contour line of the bed in a sort of a swale. This might act as moisture reservoir for the bed and distribute/supply/leach down to all of the bed more evenly.
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope

Most people here who have large slopes they have to pay for terrace their slopes to get the most use of the space. most of the time timber is not used, because of termites and it would be very expensive here since all of that kind of wood is imported. The fancier ones are made of hollow tile or rocks. The cheap version uses corrugated metal panels and steel stakes.
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pinksand
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

Sorry, I hadn't seen any responses so I haven't been checking in. I have not yet implemented this project... too many projects and not nearly enough time :( It's definitely still on my wish list though so I'm glad to hear from others that the idea doesn't sound like a complete failure.

To answer some questions…

Yes to a curved bed! One thought I had was to make the bed a half circle with a rectangular compost bin at the top. Pictured sideways it would look something like this [D Just pretend the compost is actually touching the bed ;) I thought it might stand a better chance of watering everything below since the structure is different than a traditional keyhole garden where everything slopes from the center. Now that I'm typing it out, I probably could make not so much of a rectangular compost bin and go with more of a narrower semi-circle.

The idea of a trenched compost is intriguing since it seems it wouldn’t dry out as quickly… I guess the trick would be making sure that it drains properly and isn’t too deep to water the plants.

I got a free compost “bin” from the county that I plan to use. It’s basically stiff-ish black plastic with holes for aeration and you can prop it up and shape it as you want using rebar. I have another pile setup as a cylinder and it has worked well. I don't see why it wouldn’t be setup as a sort of semi circle since it is flexible. I like the height of this particular option because I have a curious dog that I’d like to keep out of the pile.

Does all that sound feasible?
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applestar
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

pinksand wrote: Yes to a curved bed! One thought I had was to make the bed a half circle with a rectangular compost bin at the top. Pictured sideways it would look something like this [D Just pretend the compost is actually touching the bed ;) I thought it might stand a better chance of watering everything below since the structure is different than a traditional keyhole garden where everything slopes from the center. Now that I'm typing it out, I probably could make not so much of a rectangular compost bin and go with more of a narrower semi-circle.
^^^This^^^

Exactly the kind of thing I pictured as alternate design. I think it would work. :D

...I had an idea -- what about setting cinder blocks with holes going sideways in the ground between the compost semi-circle and the top of the terraced bed as walkway/stepstones? This way you will have reach access to the bed from the top without the compost bin blocking you.
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

Just a note to let everyone in this thread know I updated the link. The link now goes to the original blog post describing how they made the sloped garden. Here is the link to the original blog post about a raised bed on a slope.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

So very cool!

I did a terrace using a few raised bed kits (ones with the composite lumber) to build my terraces since my slope is not that steep. But yours is absolutely amazing!

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pinksand
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Re: Keyhole Garden on a Slope?

applestar wrote:
^^^This^^^

Exactly the kind of thing I pictured as alternate design. I think it would work. :D

...I had an idea -- what about setting cinder blocks with holes going sideways in the ground between the compost semi-circle and the top of the terraced bed as walkway/stepstones? This way you will have reach access to the bed from the top without the compost bin blocking you.
At first I was having trouble picturing what you meant with the cinder blocks, but I think I understand... basically the water/nutrients can flow through the holes in the cinder blocks and i could walk along them to access the top center of the bed? I think that's a great idea! Thank you!
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