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Swale on contour method.

 
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA
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Thank you Paul for all that you have done to inform me/ us with all the great videos, podcasts, articles, etc.

I was listining intently to podcast # 5 about urban permaculture. At the beginning you discussed raised beds and how they beds optimally would be aligned so that frost would flow downhill.

This seems to be contrary to the principal of swale on contour method.

My future garden zone will be on a gentle sloping hillside. I was planning on building hugelkultur raised beds in parallel to the contour of the slope.

Perhaps you or others could help me ensure that my beds are oriented in the proper direction.
 
pollinator
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how cold does it get where you live? lots of snow or just cold days?
 
Robert Dickson
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA
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I'm in the Seattle/ Puget Sound area, very little snow.
 
Jordan Lowery
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not familiar with the weather of the area but all i can say is if you have very hard frosts in an area( observe before building) then it would be best to build them off contour so cold air can flow. im assuming you get good rainfall so building dead contour is not much of a need, slowing the water down should be more than enough. if the area you are building is dry and a warm spot i would build on contour. of course this is all location dependent. we have mild frosts and light snows but extremely dry summers. so i still build on contour for the need to catch and hold water when things dry up everywhere else.
 
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I had 2 unprotected tomatoe plants trellised up, each at the end of a raised bed (about 14 inches tall), They didn't show any signs of frost damage untill it got down below 30 degrees F. The second frost at 25 degrees F exploded the base of the stems with big hunks of ice. Before that they survived several nights of frost around 34 degrees F without any signs of damage, keeping them alive for probably 3 weeks after I noticed everyone else ripping theirs out. I need to figure out a good way to ripen the tomatoes out after they are harvested, because nothing seems to ripen up at these low temperatures.

But I'm getting off topic... The raised beds are on a slight slope and I imagine the 14 inch height is enough to keep the beds above the flow of extra cold air. The beds themselves are 4ft x 6ft rectangles with 4ft spacings between.
 
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