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ridge keyline cultivation, parrarel equal distance, steep valley

 
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Hello Darren,

welcome to the forums, i'm really glad you are here... thank you for your time! And big thanks for regrarians platform! I will go deeper in the handbook chapters in winter, it's mostly outdoors time now, but i checked it out a bit already and it's awesome work!

Mostly it's very hilly here, we are geologically a very young country (Slovenia) so it's really hard to find/have keypoints on our properties. :) I really hope you come to Slovenia one day, we love your work here even though it's really hard to apply whole keyline design, properties are small, hilly, steep and so on. There is a saying that Slovenian farmers bread is earned with really hard hard work. It's true. I'm fascinated what areas we populated, by the book it should be forest almost everywhere. Farming here is crazy with tractors on steep steep slopes and back in the days with human labour which is still a big part of a work now. But you are invited to Slovenia, it's a beautiful country, around 70% if forests, amazing natural water systems, diversity in everything, there is alpine, panonian, coast, flatlands, marshes... well you are welcome!

I'm visioning a bit different kind of farm/homestead life for me, especially not haying steep slopes and feeding animals in the stall all year round.

I'm currently working on a homestead where i apply keyline design, holistic managament, permaculture.

Our property is towards the end of a main ridge line. We have very steep primary valleys and ridges, so tree systems are the only option i see for the big part of a system.
The best crop field cultivation is possible on one of the ridges that flattens out and goes steep again quite fast, it has good deep soils with quite a bit of organic matter.

So my question for now is about crop field i'm establishing. I will not do keyline plow cultivation, just regular cultivation for cropping and mostly it will be no-dig.

Three years ago i made a mistake, finding a contour line on a highest appropriate point on a ridge and then going parallel below with deep paths (soil on beds dug out from path area). Well you know what happened with the watter and the pattern. :)
In autumn i will push the reset button and start fresh.

I want to clarify and if you have some other points i will be really glad.
- starting point when doing cultivation on a ridge is the lowest appropriate point on a ridge?
- where exactly is this point? is it on a center line of a ridge?
- how do you define/mark/find parallel lines in the field without tractor cultivation? do i stand on a contour line and just try to eye out the 90° angle to a contour? any other tips when doing this in a field with machine or without...?

A big thank you for your work! ...
I hope you don't mind further questions if they appear.

All the best,

Aljaz
 
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Location: Bendigo Region, Victoria, Australia
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Thanks Aljaz and also for your kind words,

First of all thanks for having the sensibility to understand your site and look at using site-appropriate treatments rather than just applying carte blanche!

Secondly, I have an old colleague from my days working for Mars Inc. in Viet Nam who is Slovenian and she was always telling me how I must go there and how beautiful it is etc. We'd love to go to everywhere in the world and Slovenia is definitely on the list!

So straight to your questions:

Starting point — there is not much point using Keyline geometry if you don't have a good contour map to manage your design on first. So often there are landscape anomalies that require some advance desktop planning if you are going to do you and your system justice.

But yes the lowest ridge contour is often the best place to start and yes find the apex of that ridge and go from there.

Following is an instruction I gave on this question in our Regrarians Facebook Group just the other day:

"...In the absence of a proper survey having been completed I would stake a series of contours over the site and paint-mark (or ribbon) the stakes different colours that alternate from one contour to the next (2 colours should do) so that you can differentiate between each marked contour.

Then start marking out the guideline offsets again using alternate colours (though different to the contour colours) and then compare these offsets to the contours. You're doing here what we'd normally do on the screen following a detailed contour map.

If the guideline offsets are going where you want them to then go back to the guideline and adjust it and try again (and again!!) until you're satisfied..."



Years ago i turned up at a clients property and his son had just done a Permaculture Design Course with a Prince and King ( ). Anyways he was setting out a 0.25 hectare orchard following the contour as per the logic recommended at the PDC and had put stakes in the ground following the different contours and strung string between each stake — so he had marked contour lines effectively. It was diabolical from a land use and access perspective, no equidistance, some rows were 1m apart and some 10m apart such were the shape of the contours on this hillside.

So with this I grabbed a bundle of stakes and picked a lower contour and then put a stake in lower on the ridge curve and higher on the valley curves. Then I used the tape and went 90 degree and marked out a series of additional rows parallel to this lower line. Then I referenced these against the contour and we had to tweak the lowest line's shape in order to get the desired effect i.e. rows gravitating to always fall to the centre of a ridge. We even strung line between the Keyline pattern stakes just so the client's son could get the picture — which he did and shook his head for the logic and genius that is the Geometry of Keyline.

I do hope that this all helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Cheers,

Darren
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Hahahaa, sensibility came a year or more ago, before i also wanted to swale everything i saw. Well, luckily it stayed at thinking about it and coming to the conclusion that swales are not appropriate for our climate and land form.

Thanks for your answer... i will be careful that the pattern comes out right. I'm only working with the ridge contour (am i wrong?), because valleys on both sides are too steep for any cultivation and they are overgrown with selectively managed forest. Hmm, i really wonder if the pattern will come out right if i go parallel to the ridge contour from the lowest point. As i see it, there are no anomalies on this ridge, it's quite the ridge. I assume i can check the pattern on site with bunyip since the area is not that big. I'm wondering now what is the gradient of fall that you are looking for?

Actually, we've done a really good survey for our property. We have aerial photos, cloud point, Digital Surface Model and High quality orthophoto. Young slovenian fellas are doing great job with drones and their knowledge of geodetics. Check it out, you will probably like it a lot - http://www.modriplanet.si/
At the moment i'm not on my work computer, but i can upload some photos and other data later.

I'm in love with the ridge that we have here, you'll see. I think there is also a potential for a ridge dam.

Maybe a quick question on dams and roads as catchment surfaces. Where i can learn little details like connecting the catchment road drain to a dam. I'm very interested in how these systems are designed to meet each other, where water actually flows into a dam. Is there any source from which i can at least get a theory about this little details. I'm not aware of anyone doing this kind of work here in Slovenia, so i can not see it in real life.

Regarding your 2016 world tour - are you planing to do PDC's, KDC's or just traveling? Will you come to EU? If you decide to come to Slovenia, we are more than happy to be your hosts here on our homestead and there are many other places to stay and feel the true vibe of Slovenia. We also have experiences with organizing courses, so that's also an option.

Thanks for your time again and i really hope we meet someday!
 
Darren J Doherty
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Location: Bendigo Region, Victoria, Australia
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Thanks Aljaz,

I'll have a look at the site of your surveyor friends – always interested in the means by which we can reduce the cost of accurately surveying landscapes – even though the cheapest way would be to have our respective military's supply this information widely!

Its hard to describe what to do with regards dams and roads so I'm going to prepare a few diagrams that I hope will explain things better:









The 2016 World Tour will be all about the new REgrarians 10 (X) day open consultancy ('REX') – you can read all about it here.

Thanks and all the best,

Darren

 
Aljaz Plankl
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Thanks Darren.
About that old road... is it still there? If not, how did you take care of it? I assume a road like this continue to be erosive element if not handled somehow.
Below is a digital orto photo, color height map and contour map (click on them for big picture). Please go on and comment about that ridge or anything else, if you have time.
Thanks again for stopping by, i wish you all the best!






 
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