The beginner’s guide to terraced gardens
A terraced garden is a type of garden that is shaped in steps to allow for a slope. They tend to stretch up or down a hill because they want the garden to have a good view. Terraced gardens are utilized all around the world and come in many different styles and shapes.
The best thing about terraced gardens is that they conserve land very well because the soil level can be maximized by using steps. In this way, you use less land than traditional agricultural practices would call for. Terraced gardens are often used in cultures where land is scarce because they maximize the level of soil that you have access to. The steps also allow for a gradual leveling out which can help prevent erosion or landslides on hillsides.
Terraces are also helpful if the planter wants to grow fruit trees because it helps with irrigation through gravity flow where water drips downhill through terraces rather than over them.
This allows the water to reach the roots of plants at ground level instead of being sprayed all over, causing a risk of fungal infection for plants within reach. The ideal slope for a terraced garden is about 1m for every 12m, so it’s not too steep but still gains elevation. Because they’re so helpful with land conservation, terraced gardens are often used in conjunction with food scarcity and agricultural projects devoted to feeding a population.
There is also an aesthetic benefit to having a terraced garden because it makes for very beautiful scenery and makes even plain soil look like its something special going on. Lastly, terraces not only conserve land, but they sound great too! People who walk up or down them can hear all kinds of noises that simulate the sounds of water flowing over rocks or raindrops falling through leaves. It gives you kind of a mystical vibe when you walk along with one.
Terracing was invented thousands upon thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations such as the Incas and Mayans, so we know it’s had a lasting presence throughout human history. We don’t know exactly where the idea for terracing came from, but it may be because of astute observations of how plants grow on mountainsides and river banks.
Terraced gardens are useful all over the world, but they’re most common in countries like China, Japan, Peru, Ecuador, and Indonesia. Terraces can take on many different shapes too, so if you want your garden to look more special than just simple parings of steps, there are plenty of things you can do to change up their style.
For example, instead of having evenly spaced terraces, you could stagger them so that one set is further apart than another or create little tiers within each one. We love the idea of having a terraced garden fall into a little swimming pool or hot tub, that way; you can both have your plants and experience the water sounds as well!
Terracing has been around for thousands upon thousands of years, and it’s likely to continue being used until the land is no longer scarce. Even if we find a way to colonize another planet, terraced gardens will probably still be relevant because those who live there may want to cultivate plants in their new world as well. Gardeners should definitely consider using this great technique in order to make the most out of their space, and people looking to build new civilizations should probably focus on bringing terraces with them too!
Here are some top tips on how to create the perfect terrace garden, whatever sized space you have.
1. Think big – Most people think of tiny terraces at ground-level when they consider growing veg, but it doesn’t have to be like this. If you build up walls or steps, you can grow more plants and bigger specimens that will make more of an impact, like sweet potatoes.
Just make sure you use sturdy containers and something to secure them in place.
2. Check the restrictions – If you are planning on growing veg in containers on your balcony or in your back yard, check with your council first whether there is any restriction regarding height limits for buildings near you.
Don’t forget that if you’re building upwards, then people above will be able to see what you’re up to – better not let them know about the vegetables!
3. Think ahead – You can’t grow everything at once unless you’ve planned well in advance, so think carefully about what needs planting when. Flowering plants can provide privacy and also provide a good backdrop for more colorful, low-growing vegetables.
4. Weed before you dig – It seems obvious, but if you have weeds in your intended veg bed, then get rid of them first, or you’ll just be spreading seeds everywhere and potentially causing more work for yourself later on
5. Make the most of space – If you’re not sure what to grow, then try growing a combination of different vegetables that will produce at different times through the season, so there is always something available for picking.
To make things easier, think about sticking with one type of vegetable per planter so they can share similar feed and water requirements, thus limiting how much you need to tend to each plant. Alternately, a mini herb garden is a great way of bringing a little bit of color and flavor to your terrace and will also be a good food source (just make sure you use pots with drainage holes!).
6. Grown together – If space allows it, try growing taller veg alongside each other to give the appearance that they are intertwined together. This works particularly well with beans and peas or any climbing plant such as cucumber or squash, so long as its support is sturdy.
7. Eat what you grow – It’s great when you can eat something straight from the garden, but if time has passed since planting, then pick the flowers of pumpkins and squashes before they go to seed in order to encourage larger fruit production and also more blooms on some vegetables like tomatoes and aubergines, which can be fussy about getting going.
It’s also beneficial if you grow flowers/herbs near your vegetables to attract insects for pollination.
8. Take time to look after them – With the rush of daily jobs, it’s easy sometimes to forget about your plants, but even small things like watering them regularly will make a big difference in the long run.
If they are looking dry, then pop around some seaweed or fish emulsion into water that you’ve given them – this feeds them slowly and keeps nutrients available as well as stimulating growth
9. Make sure it is somewhere shady – Some veggies like courgettes and spinach like sun, but others such as lettuce and kale don’t, so give those types of plants somewhere shady, such as beneath taller veg or even just a few boards.
It will save you time and effort and stop them from getting burnt or affected by pests.
10. Think about harvesting – Most plants like to be picked regularly, so think about how you can make this more convenient for yourself (i.e., don’t grow your tomatoes on the other side of the garden). Equally, if some plants are bigger than others, then nick some leaves off those first as they’ll soon catch up in size!
11. Keep it clean – Use a kitchen colander to sift through the soil when removing larger weeds and collect what comes out into a composting pile later on for use elsewhere in your garden; this saves you having to go over the same area multiple times likewise if you have children make sure they know where to play and how to look after your little veg patch since it really can be an investment for both grown-ups and kids!
12. Use nets – When you’re growing up high, birds or other pests will likely try to take a nibble out of your hard work, so consider putting up some bird netting or use wire mesh fencing around your taller vegetables to stop them from being pecked at.