Top Soil Help

Hello All,
I am in the process of planning a raised garden behind my new house. The raised area is around 6m long and 7m wide ending in a tall embankment. Half of it gets strong sunshine till around 14:00h during the summer and is then in the shade. The other half, including the embankment, remains exposed to sunshine till late in the evening during the summer months.
I will be building walls to raise the area to be able to walk out of the French windows at the back of my house. I need to backfill and then put top soil to a height of 1.2m. I have several questions
a. How much top soil, i.e. depth, should I put in. By and large what we will have there will be a mixture of herbs, leek, cabbages, carrots etc. Some flowers a couple of apple trees and perhaps a cherry tree.
b. What do I need to know about the type of top soil to use - I live in Luxembourg. We get around 900mm of rain per year and the soil is very well drained.
c. How can I put the embankment to good use - it rises to a height of around 12m at an angle of around 25° (quite steep) and is currently covered in brambles and the like
I'd much appreciate any help
--
FredAt


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against a wall, but they do take a lot of space.

organic matter being 5-10% of the preceding mix.

west of it? If to the north or east, it may be a good spot to espalier your fruit trees, you could put in terraces for more vegetables or ornamentals.
If you aren't planning on gardening this year, I'd suggest sowing with buckwheat, or rye, or a general mix of "green manure". <http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/M1228.html <http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/covercrops.html
The easiest way to make your garden is with a no-dig lasagna garden. <http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/a/lasagnaga rden.htm>
Personally, I lay down my soil amendments (chicken manure, bone meal, wood ash) over any weeds that may be in the garden area. That is then covered with newspaper (most newsprint in the US, and I presume Europe, is soy based ink, check with the printer) or cardboard, and this then is covered with organic mulch (I use alfalfa/lucerne) to a depth of 10 - 60 cm. Spray the garden beds with water until they are thoroughly soaked and then wait 2 - 6 weeks before planting. I must admit that sometimes I plant immediately, but I run the risk of weeds when I do.

Gut glück, bonne chance, and all that sort of thing.
--
- Billy
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Billy wrote:

Billy
You have missed the point. The OP wants to build the area up, he is talking of the order of 50 cubic metres of fill if read him correctly, that's a lot of lasagne.
David
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Garden 6m long and 7m wide (suggested 2 ft. deep) = 20' X 23' 4" X 2' = 936 cu. ft. = 26.5 cu. meters
Surface area = 466 sq. ft. = 43.3 sq. meters
Mulch = 466 sq. ft. X 2' = 932 sq. ft. = 26.4 cu. meters max. = 466 sq. ft. X.3' = 140 sq. ft. = 4 cu. meters min.
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wrote:

In the US that's three 10 cu yd dump truck loads... that's a lotta dirt... and for high quality top soil mucho dinero.
And still that raised bed won't be large enough for 2 semi dwarf fruit trees, even for dwarf it would be iffy.... and even if the trees grow the bed would be in shade. Trees do better in a berm.

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FredAt wrote:

Put your fruit trees and productive vegetables that need full sun in the latter half if you can manage. You can get quite a range of flowers, shrubs, and veges that will do with half sun in the other area.

Most of your veges will do fine in 40cm of soil, many are shallow rooted and 20cm will do but to have the option of rotating them make it all the same. It depends on the cost whether it is worth using cheaper "clean fill" underneath and garden loam on top or all loam. Your trees will do better if the soil is the full 1.2 m or deeper Always remember that any earthwork, especially major works, must be planned with drainage in mind. You need to know where the ground water runs now and what your fill will do to that flow. You don't want to do what I have seen done, where the first time heavy rain fell all the water ran straight to the back door and into the house.

The best garden loam that you can afford. See above.

This is quite steep for any regular cultivation. If you wanted to have walks and made gardens there you would probably have to terrace it. If you don't want to go there then replace the brambles with shrubs, perenial flowers, ground cover etc that will be low maintanance and help to stabilise the bank. How does the water run off this bank now?
A trip to the local library and some study of books on garden design and layout would be well worth the time.
David
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For the incline, I'd use a terraced area. Even a foot at a time or what you like to see that is pleasing to the eye.
--
Bud

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the soil to dry out, and warm up as in Bernkastel.

south-west, that would be very good. How does the steepness of the slope compare with other wine growers in your area? Sometimes it is good to have stones in the vineyard to hold the daytime heat, into the night.

Lasagna gardening, is no dig gardening. This is good for your back, and good for the soil, if it is well fed.
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The embankment descends from SW to NE. The slope is comparable with what I have seen on the Moselle.
--
FredAt


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/ \ light ---> / \ <--- shadow / \ SW NE
It is highest in the SW and lowest in the NE? Find some pretty flowers to plant. You are already at the northern limt of grape growing and you need every advantage. Go to Google Maps, "Bernkastel-Kues, Deutschland". You will see that the vineyards are on the eastern bank of the Moselle and face the SW. If you follow the Moselle downstream, towards Koblenz, you will see no vineyards on the southern bank, facing north.
Check with a local Winzer (vigneron) to determine the possibility of a successful vineyard on this slope.
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