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Help me makes some plans for the land above our root cellar.

 
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We built a root cellar on our property over the last few years. We filled it in last spring and now have a year of weed growth on top. We've built a terrace above and some retaining walls at the bottom. Originally, many years before we bought this place, our land was all a slope but somebody excavated a large plateau midway up the slope and placed a mobilehome on the property (talk about raping the land!).  We built our cellar into the back remaining hillside. What I'm struggling to work out is what to do with the hill. The slope is quite steep but seems stable. We transplanted some wild raspberries and have plant grapes along side the ugly trellis. What else could we grow here besides giant clover, burdock, dock, thistles and dandelions? We need things that can hold their own and stablize the soil.

For reference, we're in northern BC, zone 5b.

20200616_201649.jpg
The front of our cellar
The front of our cellar
20200616_200849.jpg
To the left
To the left
20200616_201700.jpg
Further left
Further left
20200616_200529.jpg
To the right of enerance
To the right of enerance
20200616_200741.jpg
From the terrace up above
From the terrace up above
20200616_200644.jpg
The terrace
The terrace
 
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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First of all Welcome to the Permies Family! Second; that’s awesome! I’d love to see pictures of the inside too. There are a bunch of trees, shrubs, and creeping plants you could use. It all depends on where you live, planting zone, and cardinal direction that hillside faces.
 
rose hazel
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I forgot to mention that the slope is squarely southfacing. We're in northern BC, zone 5b. I'll try to edit the original post.
 
Scott Stiller
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I think creeping phlox would grow there and take the full sun. Forsythia would do well also. That would be a gorgeous hillside in the spring!
 
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What about naturally low-growing shrubs like wild blueberry?
 
rose hazel
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Jay Angler wrote:What about naturally low-growing shrubs like wild blueberry?


That's an interesting idea. They do grow wild around here. Do you know if they would be able to resist the weeds? 🤔
 
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Welcome to Permies Rose!
Nice wall! The earth looks really sandy. water will drain easily then. Not easy to grow things there. Great some weeds are already there building back up this disturbed soil. Their seeds have been waiting for that moment. Usually the green roofs people have turn brown/yellow in summer. The layer is not deep enough so the grass can't get any water from deeper layers. Those weeds look pretty resilient. They might have a deep taproot and be happy enough with not a lot of nutrients. But they keep the soil in place! Very important on top of the root cellar.
The sides are still exposed to the sun and erosion. Maybe pebble it up? And look for some other low maintenance plant on your terrain that could grow in between those pebbles. You need the roots to keep it all in place.
If it were me i'd let the weeds do their thing and plant something down the sides that can root deep and cover the top. Wisteria springs to mind. It will fix nitrogen at its roots. Maybe chuck in some left over wood debris into the weeds so the wisteria got something to grow above the weeds and shade them out and take over slowly.
 
Jay Angler
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rose hazel wrote:

Jay Angler wrote:What about naturally low-growing shrubs like wild blueberry?


That's an interesting idea. They do grow wild around here. Do you know if they would be able to resist the weeds? 🤔

Sorry Rose - split personality here! I used to live in Ontario and the picture you posted reminded me of it. I'll just put my BC hat on and suggest you look at Evergreen Huckleberry. Are you coastal enough for Salal? It is known for out-competing weeds, but I think it prefers more shade than the picture you posted.

Hugo's suggestion of letting the weeds do some of the "soil preparation" makes sense, and I've had good luck putting wood down even if you can't build a full-scale Hugel.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Jay, i mean more make a frame work for the wisteria to climb above the weeds. The weeds shade the soil and keep it cooler and their roots keep itin place. The wisteria will slowly take over and cover the whole root cellar.
It would be great to make the roof top into a productive place for food, but it’s a very challenging place for plants to survive a dry hot summer. They just can’t find water. That you can avert by watering twice or five times a day. But it might bemore clever to grow food elsewhere and cover it by climbers and not be busy watering yoursuffering plants.
But having said all that. Most people will just find it reasonable to rip out the weeds and plant what they like to see. Understandable, all the effort that went into the rootcellar, one wants it to shine! When that planting failed the weeds will be back to build soil.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Having said all that. Isn’t the weed chenopodes? I don’t like it but people do eat it. Maybe red mountain spinach would grow there fine.
 
rose hazel
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Welcome to Permies Rose!
Nice wall! The earth looks really sandy. water will drain easily then. Not easy to grow things there. Great some weeds are already there building back up this disturbed soil. Their seeds have been waiting for that moment. Usually the green roofs people have turn brown/yellow in summer. The layer is not deep enough so the grass can't get any water from deeper layers. Those weeds look pretty resilient. They might have a deep taproot and be happy enough with not a lot of nutrients. But they keep the soil in place! Very important on top of the root cellar.
The sides are still exposed to the sun and erosion. Maybe pebble it up? And look for some other low maintenance plant on your terrain that could grow in between those pebbles. You need the roots to keep it all in place.
If it were me i'd let the weeds do their thing and plant something down the sides that can root deep and cover the top. Wisteria springs to mind. It will fix nitrogen at its roots. Maybe chuck in some left over wood debris into the weeds so the wisteria got something to grow above the weeds and shade them out and take over slowly.



I like the idea of picking something that can grow up from the sides over the top. Wisteria isn't going to work though because I just read that as few as two seeds can kill a child! I've got seven little children that routinely forage my weeds so edible is a must.

Arctic roses grow very well here but they're a little big. Maybe thyme? Mint, maybe? I'm not very good at this, hence why I'm here.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Hi Rose, i had no idea wisteria is poisonous, i rarely get seed pods luckily.
What's wrong with Arctic Rose getting big? I think it will look magnificent when it completely covers the whole thing and is flowering. Especially when it's around chances are good it will do well in such a difficult spot. Nothing wrong with thyme as well, but it's tiny, the weeds will grow above it, shading it out, which it will not like and you'll lose it probably. Another good thing about roses is they sting. The kids won't play there then.
 
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