Building a tiered garden...help!

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senorgrand
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Building a tiered garden...help!

#1 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:22 pm

OK, shit is getting real. Time to plant a victory garden.

Unlike my last house, this one has a patch of dirt. However, it's at a pitch. I'm gonna have to make a terrace to plant my tomatoes.

I want to build a short retaining wall. Fortunately, after the top 8" or so, everything underneath is basically chalk, so the issue of water weighing against the wall is minimal.

I was thinking of retaining wall blocks that lock together. It's gonna have be something home depot can deliver.

I'm thinking of scraping top soil off and setting aside and then digging out the chalk and trying to grade it to level, since it's probably better than any base I could manage.

Thoughts? Recommended tutorials? Products?

I'll take some pictures of the pending project when I get home. I have two house-bound teenagers for the grunt work.

Thanks!
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#2 Post by CDFingers » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:09 pm

Sorry I did not see this before.

If you can, dig out the chalk and replace it with soil. You only need your terraces to be about two feet wide. Do a measure, then decide how many terraces you'll build. You'll need about four-to-ten inches deep of soil to grow most veggies, so start at the top and dig out the chalk so the first terrace has that depth available. Make the first treated-lumber 2x10 w/ cedar stakes terrace wall. Then go two feet downhill and make the next 4-10 inch deep two foot wide hole. Next and next and so on. Fill with soil. Pay the kid well who you hired to do the weak mind/strong back work.

Hopefully you have space for a compost pile. If so, start one. Next fall you can harvest it, sooner if you water it along with your veg.

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#3 Post by Marlene » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:15 pm

how much rise over how much distance? what else besides tomatoes?
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#4 Post by CDFingers » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:19 pm

Marlene wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:15 pm how much rise over how much distance? what else besides tomatoes?
Yeah, see, there's rubs all over the place. Orientation, is another. Only radishes can grow anywhere. And ice plant, the crab grass of the Central Coast.

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#5 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:27 pm

I'll try and take pics tonight and get my rise over run. Facing south...unobstructed light.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#6 Post by Hiker » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:48 pm

I highly recommend green beans (half runner) Very nutritious, and prolific
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#7 Post by shinzen » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:58 pm

You going truly for a victory garden? Timing in CA means we can grow year round so I'd definitely grab a book. I've read that this style/spacing may not be optimal these days, as there are better designs, but it's a start.
victory garden.jpg
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#8 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:20 pm

I have about 60' by 8'...I may nix the beets...
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#9 Post by YankeeTarheel » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:27 pm

I built a base for my pool in 2002/2003. The block at it's highest about 3' high, and no block at the lowest, Inside it's filled with, I guess it's called quarry mix--crushed stone and dirt. Super-high friction coefficient. The blocks are about 5" high, maybe 10" across, 8" deep, with a lip on the bottom to hold them to the one below, no more. So it's not a really complicated fancy, expensive interlocking block. The pool is 16x40 and hold at least 80 tons of water. The base has never moved. The idea MAY help you in terracing your garden. (I did all the blueprints and layouts, all the fencing and rebuilt it about 6 years ago...a LONG winter project--and it's solar heated)
Here's what it looks like.
P8310121.JPG
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#10 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:30 pm

Do the blocks go below grade?
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#11 Post by YankeeTarheel » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:34 pm

senorgrand wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:30 pm Do the blocks go below grade?
There is one course below what is visible (you can barely see it in the picture). The near end of the pool has a deep end that is dug out in the middle of the base...about 18" below the top of the base.

Since this was take, there's now an additional patio at this end covering the grass.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#12 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:10 pm

3E6FC769-77D0-4017-977A-77F5D336E434.jpeg
ok, length is about 40'.

The slope is 11' wide from the bottom retaining wall to the fence. I estimate the drop is about 4' from the fence to the top of the existing wall.

I'd like to set my new retaining wall 4' back from the existing wall. I was thinking of making it about 3' high, with the first two courses below grade. I was going to try and do two tiers, but I'd probably run into zoning issues, so the upper tier will have to remain sloped.

I'd like to plant some kind of evergreen screen on my side of the fence as a visual screen. We have wisteria now, which provide great screening in the summer, but that's it. Any suggestions? I know dedonias would grow well here, but I hate them. Whatever it is, has to survive periodic frosts and also 100 temps. Maybe boxwood?
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#13 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:13 pm

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#14 Post by CDFingers » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:36 pm

Dive in, man. But have them delivered. Hire neighborhood boys. You're not 23 anymore.

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#15 Post by senorgrand » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:41 pm

I got two teenagers on payroll already!
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#16 Post by Marlene » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:17 am

How are Kirk and Kahn?
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#17 Post by senorgrand » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:13 am

two days ago they were very stressed. better now that the shelter in place is in...they know that mom and dad aren't being overprotective. kirk made banana bread yesterday. kahn did housework.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#18 Post by CDFingers » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:15 am

Kirk and Kahn. No kidding?

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#19 Post by highdesert » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:36 pm

"Time to return to those days of yesteryear...." the Victory Garden of WWII.
http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/History/Victo ... ld_War_II/

We're spoiled in CA with all the fresh fruits and vegetables, that could be the next crisis. We could be out picking our own.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#20 Post by Mason » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:43 pm

For your screen, pitisporum is evergreen and grows fast and well in CA. You will have to cut it into a hedge or it will get very tall.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#21 Post by YankeeTarheel » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:32 pm

senorgrand wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:13 pm I was going to use these bad boys:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pavestone-3 ... /202274512
Those are nearly identical for what I have for my pool--mine have slightly different front face but that's irrelevant.
Be certain where you start your wall is far enough back. I don't remember exactly but I believe that you're supposed to be back twice the height of the wall. So if you want to go up 3', you have to be back 6'. I won't swear to it, and you should check, otherwise you'll need an engineer. Also check with your local building codes and permitting needs. If you were required to get a permit, and didn't, and there's an accident, your insurance won't cover you and the courts will back them.
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#22 Post by senorgrand » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:54 pm

CDFingers wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:15 am Kirk and Kahn. No kidding?

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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#23 Post by senorgrand » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:55 pm

M: thank you for asking. :)

Tried to post earlier, but you know, internet issues
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#24 Post by senorgrand » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:59 pm

Mason wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:43 pm For your screen, pitisporum is evergreen and grows fast and well in CA. You will have to cut it into a hedge or it will get very tall.
Thanks!

I'm actually thinking about using ornamental grasses. I'd like something established soon, something I don't have to fuss with and something drought tolerant
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Re: Building a tiered garden...help!

#25 Post by senorgrand » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:03 pm

highdesert wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:36 pm "Time to return to those days of yesteryear...." the Victory Garden of WWII.
http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/History/Victo ... ld_War_II/
thank you for this...super cool!
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