How do I fix a pourous area?

Hello.
I have a PERFECT spot for a garden at the top of my hill. It is very flat and gets loads of sunlight. I can do things like set up a soaker hose or drip system fairly easily. My problem is that there is only a couple feet of soil over a bunch of fill that I know has to contain a lot of rocks and such. My house is part of a development that was built on an old farm sire about 25 years ago. There is a wicked hill in my back yard that the builders must have amended by building up the backyards in all the houses on the street by using fill. There is still a nice bunch of springs that flow freely all year long but they are dozens of feet underground now. There may be two feet of soil over this fill if I am lucky.
I have tried several times to grow a garden but I cant keep the soil watered well enough for the plants to grow. The water just drains like it is going through a sieve.
I have tried a raised garden several different times with no luck and I have tried container gardening but plants just dont grow for me in a container (dont ask me why). Plus I know I can get so much more if I planted up there and it will be cheaper. I was kicking around at trying to make some sort of huge raised bed that I would modify to be self-watering but the work and expense doesnt seem worth it.
Does anybody have any sort of solution? I was thinking goofy thoughts like digging down a foot or so and installing a pond liner or something like that to create a pool of sorts underneath a large area. If I build a raised bed over this area, once the water reached the top of the liner, it would start to pour off, so I wont be drowning my plants. This seems like the easiest thing to do although maybe not the cheapest. I am looking for easy, especially in the long haul.
Do you think this would work? Any suggestions at all are welcome!
Thanks, ray
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Hello.
I have a PERFECT spot for a garden at the top of my hill. It is very flat and gets loads of sunlight. I can do things like set up a soaker hose or drip system fairly easily. My problem is that there is only a couple feet of soil over a bunch of fill that I know has to contain a lot of rocks and such. My house is part of a development that was built on an old farm sire about 25 years ago. There is a wicked hill in my back yard that the builders must have amended by building up the backyards in all the houses on the street by using fill. There is still a nice bunch of springs that flow freely all year long but they are dozens of feet underground now. There may be two feet of soil over this fill if I am lucky.
I have tried several times to grow a garden but I cant keep the soil watered well enough for the plants to grow. The water just drains like it is going through a sieve. ============================ I'm far from being well-versed about the various kinds of landscape fabric, but last time I inquired about them at a local Agway store, I believe the guy told me that some of these products allow less water to pass through than others. If that's true, I wonder if you could use such a fabric underneath two feet of soil to slow down, but not stop water flow completely. Obviously, you'd have some backbreaking work ahead of you to install it, though.
Pond liner doesn't seem like a good idea.
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wrote:

===========
I was thinking about severly slowing down the flow and amending the soil. In conjunction with raised beds, that should help. But I thought if I would use raised beds (and by raised, I mean RAISED! Like maybe 18-24 inches high) that a pond liner would work sort of like a huge self-wtering container. Maybe I could prick some very small holes in it to let it drain. I also thought if I dug down enough and lipped the liner up the sides of the hle only so far, that the excess water would drain out. I may be entirely wrong!
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wrote:

========== I was thinking about severly slowing down the flow and amending the soil. In conjunction with raised beds, that should help. But I thought if I would use raised beds (and by raised, I mean RAISED! Like maybe 18-24 inches high) that a pond liner would work sort of like a huge self-wtering container. Maybe I could prick some very small holes in it to let it drain. I also thought if I dug down enough and lipped the liner up the sides of the hle only so far, that the excess water would drain out. I may be entirely wrong!
=============== Either way, it's an interesting experiment. I guess it depends on how much muscle you want to put into it, maybe twice. You might want to check into landscape fabric prices to see if my defective memory (above) might be correct, and if it's cheaper than pond liner. Incidentally, pond liner is really useful stuff to have around the house for other projects. Padding removable roof racks so they don't scratch the car, making non-skid pads for tackle boxes so they don't slide around a boat, etc....
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Perhaps some useful info here.
<http://tinyurl.com/dmefk9
Bill who thought of living mulch. Notice the mention of water retention in link below.
<http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/5008/organic-and-inorganic-mulches -in-the-garden>
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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I suppose he could add clay. :-)
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wrote:

===============
I don't want to kill myself but I still want to give it a try. I'm not "too old" to do all the digging........yet.
I was going to build some raised beds like this: www.gardenstogro.com. They cost WAY too much but it needs to be cheaper to build myself.
I figure the amount of soil that is above the underground pond would be sufficent to keep the roots from rotting in water.
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============== I don't want to kill myself but I still want to give it a try. I'm not "too old" to do all the digging........yet.
I was going to build some raised beds like this: www.gardenstogro.com. They cost WAY too much but it needs to be cheaper to build myself.
I figure the amount of soil that is above the underground pond would be sufficent to keep the roots from rotting in water.
============= If I recall correctly, celery likes really wet soil. How much do you love celery? :-)
How about growing your own rice?
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Hello.
I have a PERFECT spot for a garden at the top of my hill. It is very flat
========================== Obviously it's not PERFECT at all, far from it, what you have is a pile of trash/garbage.
Without a better description, hopefully a photograph of the area depicting detail of the topography, all anyone can offer you is wild speculation. From what you've said so far the best I can suggest is to bulldoze that hill down to it's original base to get rid of all the buried debris.
======================and gets loads of sunlight. I can do things like set up a soaker hose or drip system fairly easily. My problem is that there is only a couple feet of soil over a bunch of fill that I know has to contain a lot of rocks and such. My house is part of a development that was built on an old farm sire about 25 years ago. There is a wicked hill in my back yard that the builders must have amended by building up the backyards in all the houses on the street by using fill. There is still a nice bunch of springs that flow freely all year long but they are dozens of feet underground now. There may be two feet of soil over this fill if I am lucky.
I have tried several times to grow a garden but I cant keep the soil watered well enough for the plants to grow. The water just drains like it is going through a sieve.
I have tried a raised garden several different times with no luck and I have tried container gardening but plants just dont grow for me in a container (dont ask me why). Plus I know I can get so much more if I planted up there and it will be cheaper. I was kicking around at trying to make some sort of huge raised bed that I would modify to be self-watering but the work and expense doesnt seem worth it.
Does anybody have any sort of solution? I was thinking goofy thoughts like digging down a foot or so and installing a pond liner or something like that to create a pool of sorts underneath a large area. If I build a raised bed over this area, once the water reached the top of the liner, it would start to pour off, so I wont be drowning my plants. This seems like the easiest thing to do although maybe not the cheapest. I am looking for easy, especially in the long haul.
Do you think this would work? Any suggestions at all are welcome!
Thanks, ray
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brooklyn,
It's not necessarily garbage but it is fill. I can't dig to the bottom because, like I said, it is 25-30 feet from the original base to the top of my hll now.
They made an area at the top of my hill that is almost perfectly flat which is 70-feet long by 35- to 40-feet wide. Underneath some amount of soil (I am thinking between 2 or 3 feet), there is fill: rock, concrete blocks, all sorts of stuff I bet. The water just drizzles right thru it like a sieve. It is especially bad during the hot, dry season.
The sun shines on the area all day long. That is the best I can describe it.
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brooklyn,
It's not necessarily garbage but it is fill. I can't dig to the bottom because, like I said, it is 25-30 feet from the original base to the top of my hll now.
They made an area at the top of my hill that is almost perfectly flat which is 70-feet long by 35- to 40-feet wide. Underneath some amount of soil (I am thinking between 2 or 3 feet), there is fill: rock, concrete blocks, all sorts of stuff I bet. The water just drizzles right thru it like a sieve. It is especially bad during the hot, dry season.
The sun shines on the area all day long.
That is the best I can describe it.
======== If it's demolished building material and whatevers you don't even know then it's garbage. Doesn't sound like you have much of a view out the back, eh? Short of removal I think your best bet is to build a terraced garden arrangement on its face using plants that can tolerate low water conditions, and perhaps interspaced with some koi ponds and waterfalls, anything that adds some aesthetic value. But it's really not a good spot for a vegetable garden way up on top of a refuse heap (who wants to trot up and down a steep 30 foot high rise several times a day anyway and be carrying stuff too, just plain sillyness). If anything you want to do crop farming on bottom land, the lowest points on your property.

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in, mulch.
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09=ix

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