• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

What to do with a hill in my yard?

 
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm new to permaculture and I'm looking to turn my zone 8a backyard into a good forest, but not sure what to do with the slope, or rather the base of it. The yard is on the northern side of the house but we will get some morning sun off to the side and direct midday and afternoon sun.

We plan to remove three trees close to or on the slope. We want to plant some fruit trees (apples, loquat, banana, maybe plum or something else), along with some berry bushes.

My question is what would you guys do with that slope and the low area to prep it?

Pics:
PANO_20200405_075939.vr.jpg
[Thumbnail for PANO_20200405_075939.vr.jpg]
PANO_20200405_075836.vr.jpg
[Thumbnail for PANO_20200405_075836.vr.jpg]
PANO_20200405_075752.vr.jpg
[Thumbnail for PANO_20200405_075752.vr.jpg]
IMG_20200405_075658.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200405_075658.jpg]
 
gardener
Posts: 3274
Location: Southern Illinois
588
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
High Dan and welcome to permies!

You definitely have one of those challenging places on which to grow!  Your pictures make obvious the steep slope of your backyard, and the trees combined with a north slope will make for poor lighting conditions.

If you have plans to remove trees, then you may well be able to get a little food forest going there, but you already thought of that one in advance.

The other thought is raised bed terraces.  Particularly the relatively sunny ease side would be a great place to put in a raised bed, but maybe you can find some place on the steep slope to add a raised bed terrace or two.

Its a challenging spot to be certain, but you can likely make something useful out of it with a little imagination and a few hints from others on this site.

Eric
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks! There's three trees we're getting removed in the next few weeks: to pines on the slope and the three-trunked sugar gum because they are dying.

I guess the good thing is that we already have an overstory.

We also plan to move that shed next to the house and put a greenhouse in place of it which is the spot with the most sun.
 
pollinator
Posts: 364
Location: East tn
89
hugelkultur foraging homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome!

If those are pine trees, a few thoughts. You could tell them at thigh high and use select stumps to anchor the fallen logs horizontally on contour. These fallen logs can be covered with branches, needles, neighbors fallen leaves, and then covered with top soil to create hugel mounds.

Also, blue berries tend follow pines very well. I think the pine acidify the soil a bit which the berries thrive in.

Below each row of fallen pines you can plant food trees.

I'd put in a typical garden at the bottom if its got good sun.
 
master steward
Posts: 9375
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2710
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
J took my idea.  Use the logs as terrace structures across the slope...
 
gardener
Posts: 570
Location: Central Texas
212
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dan Vernon wrote:Thanks! There's three trees we're getting removed in the next few weeks: to pines on the slope and the three-trunked sugar gum because they are dying.



I definitely agree with the others that the felled trees can be a good resource for terraces, hugels or, even, mulch if you are able to get them chipped.
My land is fairly flat, so I don't have a lot of experience with large hills/slopes, but I would consider using the logs to terrace the slope enough to reduce it somewhat.
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks all. It's a cool idea, is there a possibility that it would breed termites?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
> [felled pines] breed termites...

If after talking with neighbors and government offices (on the chance you get slightly more accurate unbiased info) you find there is a termite problem in your area, then "yes", good chance termites will find downed wood.

Does that matter? Depends on how far from wood structures that concern you the felled trees lie. If your area has termites, then you want to know about it and learn the local variety and usual precautions in any case. This will not be "wasted" research.


Regards,
Rufus
 
pollinator
Posts: 1640
Location: Victoria BC
242
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A net and pan sort of pattern to provide a bit of a basin for individual trees seems like a good fit for that slope, if you do not do larger scale terracing or swaling

Hard to judge how much sun your new trees will have from here..

My parents have a ~70 year old homestead scale orchard, mostly apples, that is now heavily shaded by tall firs. It is mostly surviving, but between the shade and poor soil they get perhaps 1/8 the yield I see on sites without the shade issue...
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The only issue I see as far as sun is that the yard doesn't get sun until about 9:30 currently and lasts until it goes behind neighborhood tall pines at 4:30. During the summertime the sun will be directly overhead.

As far as the hugel idea, there's a nearly dead sugar gum tree that I'm getting cut that from I read is better than pine.

Funny thing is that my wife did hugelkulture growing up on a family farm in Washington, but didn't know ot was called that.

2 pm sun in my yard:

PANO_20200405_135440.vr.jpg
[Thumbnail for PANO_20200405_135440.vr.jpg]
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
By sugar gum, I should have said sweet gum tree.
 
Mike Haasl
master steward
Posts: 9375
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2710
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
7 hours of sun is pretty good...

As for termites, wouldn't they be in the stump anyway (unless you have the stumps pulled or ground pretty deeply)?
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone have an example of hugels on a slope? I'm not sure if I should tier it or build mounds or ?

Screenshot_20200406-180955-2.png
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_20200406-180955-2.png]
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trees were removed, but not rotted enough and I ended up with a big mounds of shredded stumps anyway. So we went with the $0.50 solution this year due to the apocalypse and combined native American mounds with waddle from dug up roots and tiered it. On the bottom I buried some branches/roots and plan to cover the berm with compost/manure and topsoil.

The trees are young persimmons and peaches that a local home nursery dug up and gave us for free. In between is goji berry and black chokeberry along with strawberries that got too big in their pots.


Middle tier is celery, Jerusalem artichoke, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Top tier will soon have summer plantings of three sisters including sunflowers.
IMG_20200504_104113.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200504_104113.jpg]
IMG_20200504_102257.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200504_102257.jpg]
IMG_20200504_104259.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200504_104259.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 1606
Location: northern California
218
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another big opportunity I see in this situation is elevated water catchment, especially with the house at the top.  A tank even at ground level, or even a pond, will be able to feed water downslope by gravity alone.  Five or six feet elevation can run some kinds of drip irrigation!
 
Dan Vernon
Posts: 13
Location: Zone 8a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Alder Burns wrote:Another big opportunity I see in this situation is elevated water catchment, especially with the house at the top.  A tank even at ground level, or even a pond, will be able to feed water downslope by gravity alone.  Five or six feet elevation can run some kinds of drip irrigation!



Yeah that is definitely something I'm wanting to do now. I was thinking of adding roof gutters to feed into barrels eventually. I have to research what's economical and available since I've never even looked into irrigation until now.
 
Don't mess with me you fool! I'm cooking with gas! Here, read this tiny ad:
Simple Home Energy Solutions, battery bank videos
https://permies.com/wiki/151158/Simple-Home-Energy-Solutions-battery
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic