Planting a hillside vegetable garden takes some time and planning. Terracing a hillside properly will prevent the terrace steps from collapsing or retaining too much water. This is not a difficult task with the correct tools. Gardeners should already have most of the tools needed, such as a shovel and rake. You can easily make a terracing tool to terrace along the natural contours of the ground.
Make a Terracing Tool
Lay one piece of 1 inch by 2 inch piece of wood flat. Use the carpenter's square to measure a 60-degree angle and mark it with a carpenter's pencil.
Lay a second piece of wood so that the top is aligned with both the top of the first piece of wood and the pencil mark. This should create two sides of an isosceles triangle. Secure with a nail. Leave 1/8 inch of the nail head above the wood.
Measure and mark both pieces of wood 1 foot from the bottom. Attach each end of the third piece of wood at the 1-foot mark. Secure with a nail at each end.
Measure the horizontal piece of wood to find the center. Mark the center with a permanent marker.
Tie the twine around the center of the rock that weighs about 1 1/2 lb. Tie the other end of the twine to the nail at the top of the terracing tool.
Terracing the Garden
At the bottom of the hillside place one leg of the terracing tool firmly on the ground. Mark that spot with a wooden stake.
Turn the terracing tool slowly, using the first leg as the pivot point. When the rock hangs parallel to the mark in the center of the horizontal piece, place another wooden stake in the ground next to the other leg of the terracing tool. Turn the terracing tool and place another wooden stake when the rock hangs parallel to the center mark. Continue this pattern for the desired width of the garden.
Measure 3 feet up the hillside from the first wooden stake of the first row. Place a wooden stake to mark the beginning of the next row. Repeat this, going up the hill until you have the number of rows you want, using the terracing tool to create each new row.
Create the terrace steps, using the shovel to dig rows that are 1 foot wide and 8 inches deep. Dig the rows next to the wooden stakes. Place the dirt above the row you are working on.
Add compost to each pile of dirt. Mix thoroughly with a rake. Plant seeds and seedlings as you would in a flat garden. Water the terraced garden from the top down.