Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hillside Potato Patch

I finished my spring planting this weekend by putting seed potatoes into my hillside garden. Over the years, I've created a small plot of soil high on the rocky cliff using compost (you can see my simple wire mesh pile), mulch from the forest, and peat moss. It has become my potato patch. They can take the partial shade and the critters seem to leave them alone. For this garden to thrive, we first had to solve the soil problem, but then we had to solve an even heavier one, water.

To get to my hillside garden, I have to climb four sections of stairs. Our good friend John came to the rescue and designed a simple rain water capture system. They key component is a 55 gallon blue barrel for water storage. Rainwater is collected by a large tarp suspended between the trees. One corner of the tarp is connected to a large funnel that fits into the hole on the top of the barrel, and a long 2X4 keeps everything in place. We have some very strong winds at our cabin, but the tarp has remained in place for over three years. A hole was drilled near the bottom a faucet has been inserted. This attaches to a hose that runs downhill, providing the water pressure needed for a spray nozzle.

If you live in an area that gets substantial rain, this might be a good system for you. If you have a roof handy, you don't even need the tarp as a collector. Rainwater is excellent for gardening. It is pure, soft and without added chemicals. And did I forget to mention, it's FREE!

Do you have any gardening tips to share? I'd love to hear them. - Margy


  1. Wow!! That's a great irrigation system there.

  2. Ingenious solutions to your gardening needs! Wishing you a bountiful crop!

  3. Loved this idea! Now living in the rural makes me want to take whatever I can from Nature (and of course, give it back by planting and growing!), and this simple system looks absolutely great. It rains a lot here during Winter time, and it would help us alot to keep some like this. Thanks for the tip!

    Kisses from us.

  4. That's a great idea, I hope you harvest lots of potatoes.

  5. It took me a while to figure out you meant carrying water up. I thought maybe the potatoes needed protected from the rain... >.< Pretty handy idea though, having your water handled for you.