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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:36 pm
Location: California

My Dead Bank/Slope Garden

Hi All,

I have attached a picture. I don't know where to start with my bank/slope garden problem?

On my bank/slope garden I have the following problems:

1) I have everything growing that I don't want: grass, weeds, in some areas trees sprouting up that I didn't plant.
2) Everything looks dead and dull. I can literally water it like crazy, and still there will be no life.
3) There are dirt patches all over where is some growth of random stuff and then patches of dirt where nothing grows.

So where do I start? I was thinking about just pulling everything out of the bank so that there is nothing left but soil. Right now, there is nothing on it that is currently valuable. It's just random stuff growing.

But my guess as to why nothing grows is the soil has no nutrients? What's a good way to introduce nutrients into the soil? Do I throw miracle grow on it?

Maybe I should run a tiller up and down it to turn the soil? Then add some type of fertilizer?

The bank/slope garden now has a new irrigation system. I've tried watering it for 2 months to see what happens...really nothing grows but weeds, grass, and everything else.

So what should my first steps be to start fresh and start over? I would like to make my bank/slope garden have life and look much better.

It's been suggested that I do the following so far:

1) Send in a soil sample test
2) While waiting for the soil sample test results, use RoundUp to kill everything on the bank/slope.
3) Wait for 30 days for everything to die.
4) Then follow the suggestions made from the soil sample lab results.


Attached Image:


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like a pretty steep slope. Not only will it be a pain in the patootie to till, but after you loosen it all up, your soil will just wash away. I wouldn't till.

Likewise killing everything off, before you have anything to replant, will just aid in the erosion. The grass and whatever is there is helping hold your soil in place. I wouldn't start by killing everything.

Soil sample/test is always a good idea.

If it isn't growing even weeds very much, then, yes, your soil is likely pretty low fertility.... likely all the nutrients have washed away down the slope over the years. It's why bottom land is always good farming.

You didn't say where in Calif. Calif has a huge range of climates/ habitats from desert to alpine to foggy coastal. What kind of climate are you gardening in and what would you like to grow on your slope? What are you hoping to do with it? Also what is the sun exposure of that area (full sun, part sun, mostly shady)? And how big an area are we talking about?

Some kind of ground cover is good for holding the soil in place.

Give us some more details and we can help more. And welcome to the Forum!!!

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

The soil looks like it is hard packed, is it full of clay? It looks as if there is plenty of sun there. One way to deal with the slope would be to dig holes and plant bushes to fill the space up, fill the hole with good soil and put in a drip irrigation system to each plant. I do not know how well the slope would hold mulch, but you could try some to keep the weeds down.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Welcome Jason. RB is correct - more info please. The soil looks really dead. As RB pointed out trying to correct it may result in erosion. If you are able to get a soil test done then do so. When you get the report contact your County Agent/Extension Office. They get a copy of the report and can walk you through what you need to do to correct you soil issues. Don't know where you are in CA but many forum members from CA say that they have very unresponsive agents. Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a county that actually provides service. Keep us posted.

Good luck

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