Gardening On a Hill: Planning, Planting, and New Growth


For the last several winter months, we’ve been spending a lot of our free time working in our Garden.  Because we have such sloped terrain, we decided that we needed to try leveling out the ground to help with erosion (we had several garden plants die last year because the soil washed away from the roots). 

It seemed that tiers would be our best option.  My mom and dad visited in December and my dad, the most talented arborist you’ll ever meet (shoutout to AJEE Woods 😊), helped us take down a couple of oak trees by our house that were damaged in a storm last year.  The trees were tall and had relatively straight trunks, so to save on cost, we decided that we’d use them as our retaining walls.  Oak is such hard, durable wood, that we hope it’ll last for several years before it rots.

We started on the upper tier and wish that we’d set our wall a bit deeper, allowing for easier leveling. We still have a slight slope, but thankfully, it will adjust itself over time. It was a learning process for us, meaning that if we had to do it again, we’d probably do it a little bit differently next time.  Overall though, it’s much better than it was last year. So, Yay!

In addition to the tiers, we decided to bring in a bunch of mulch from trees we’ve chipped over the last several months.  We dumped at least 30 tractor buckets full on the garden and spread it out to help with erosion, improve the soil quality as it decomposes, and, hopefully, to help keep the weeds under control. 

The third project was dealing with our fence. Last year, after installing all the posts, we wrapped cheap mesh-like netting around the garden. We wanted something cheap that was non-permanent because we knew we would be making some changes, we just didn’t know what changes at the time. The netting ended up ripping to shreds at the start of the winter, so it did serve its purpose and kept the deer and other critters out for our main gardening season. We were able to find 6-foot chicken wire and decided to give that a try this year. Husband helped me with the awkward lifting and wrapping of the wire around the perimeter while I followed behind trying to straighten and secure it.  It’s a little wonky, but it should work to keep the deer out.

We’ve also spent a bit of time mapping out where we want our various plants to go this year and deciding if we want to try new growing methods.  We’re gonna try vertical growing for our spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and dessert pumpkins, which will be new for us.  It’ll hopefully help with our pest problems, and it should also lend a bit more space as the vines will grow upwards instead of all over the garden floor.  A friend of ours also told about a cool method for our tomatoes and peppers called “the Florida Weave”. It helps keep the plants more managed and more easily accessible (our tomato stands didn’t do very well for us last year, and our tomato plants were falling all over the place and limbs were breaking, making it hard to harvest them before they spoiled). Stay tuned for pictures in a couple months! We’ll let you know how it works for us.

Because of our mild winters, we’ve been able to do some planting outdoors in the garden already, and we also have lots of little plants growing inside. It’s fun to see all the signs of new and renewed life this time of year.  Little seedlings are popping up in the garden.  My rhubarb plants are filling out beautifully.  My tomatoes are growing delicate, new leaves as they grow taller each day.  Even some of our asparagus from last year are starting to shoot up out of the mulch. Some seeds have yet to emerge, and I eagerly check on them to see if they’re ready to grace us with their presence. I love gardening!

Here are some pictures of the new life emerging. Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by, Friends!

Lettuce, Brussel Sprouts, and Spinach

Asparagus!!!!! We can’t harvest them yet. It takes 3 years to be able to harvest when you plant them from seed. This is year 2.

Habanero Peppers and lots of different kinds of Tomatoes

And of course, rhubarb! My favorite!