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Effects of Earthworks on Frost Pockets

 
pollinator
Posts: 149
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I'm curious about people's experience with earthworks and frost pockets. Where frost settles or doesn't, and how much damage it does, is such a complex issue, particularly at the micro level. I'm looking on this thread to hear people's actual experiences with how earthworks affect frost pockets. I find it very interesting that Sepp Holzer's crater gardens can protect plants from frost if done right, even though they're in a low point in the landscape. What are people's experiences in this realm? How have your swales, berms, hugelkulturs etc. changed things? Has anyone inadvertently created a frost pocket with their earthworks that has caused problems? How does frost vary in how it hits your plantings on different slopes and levels of your earthworks in the same area? Do your plantings on west facing slopes fare better after a frost (because of a chance to thaw more slowly before the sun hits it? Does the bottom of your swales get noticeably more frost? If so, how large a swale does it take to create this? Do wide passages for cold air drainage make a difference? I'm looking for people's actual experiences with this stuff.
 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I have a spiral shaped hugel that is like a sun trap. Certainly less frosty in there.
 
Posts: 531
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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I have noticed that the swales that I have built do tend to frost earlier until you start to get some significant plant growth in the swale bottom.  We don't graze or mow the swale bottoms so once growth starts it's pretty lush and it seems like all of that grass, etc. insulates that area and maybe warms them up.  The sunscoop shape of some of my hugelkultur beds does seem to provide protection from early frosts especially if you provide some nice thermal mass in the form of rock piles and what not...
 
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