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Hillside farming  RSS feed

 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Hey there,

I was looking for advice for expanding my market garden. This past year, I started a project on about 2 acres of hillside, selling at 3 local farmers market and a few restaurants. The garden has varying degrees of slope and fertility. Parts of the ground had been farmed for 3 years by a previous gardener. Former issues were drainage and soggy soil, it was farmed using plastic and non raised beds . Parts had to be abandoned, others were redesigned with raised beds on contour with a grade drop to the access path for drainage. Others beds with less of a slope where dug parallel. For the contoured beds, i found the longest line in the field and staked out the contour with a 3-5 percent drop for drainage. The succeeding beds are all based off the longest contour.

I would like to expand the garden to field in the right of the picture. I was wondering what others have done for hillside gardens. The contoured beds are much harder to garden than the parallel beds as it makes setting drip tape and remay a chore. I know Sepp made hugelbeds on a slant rather than contour and had success. Suggestions??




facebook.com/jared.gulliford

currently farming as The Highland Farm.. facebook.com/thehighlandfarmers

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Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2339
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Around here, orchards, perennial hay, or pasture are typically grown on sloping ground, and row crops on flat ground.
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Yes, that would be ideal!! Unfortunately, I am a 25 year old landless farmer and am leasing this marginal land at a discount. Annual vegetables were my quickest avenue to a stable income. Permaculture is my passion, but agriculture seems to be my current fate.
 
duane hennon
gardener
Posts: 723
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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hi jared,

how long do you plan to lease?


a swale for water and plant these (not limited to these)on the downside
berries, horse radish, asparagus inter-planted with pumpkins
, squash gourds, which are allowed to spread out on the hillside to suppress weeds
perennials would be available in future (year 2+) while pumpkins
provide some of this seasons income
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 737
Location: Longbranch, WA
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For expanding into the field you could try my carpet garden approach. Works great for pumpkins the first year and the soil is then easy to work the second year.


Also keep a watch for abandoned portable garage frames for making high tunnels. You can find that from my comment on your facebook farm page.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 672
Location: south central VA 7B
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I am in VA, but south central with wonderful gradation also. On the gentler slopes, I have beds that slow down runoff (and top soil loss) and all of them are topped with drip tape. We don't till, so permanent beds are easy to top with drip tape, secured with landscape staples. It's a 1X installation. On the more extreme slopes, we terraced with swales and berms. Makes watering a breeze since only the swales need to be filled and the water slowly leaches. Both approaches have been quite successful. We have trees & berry bushes in the same gardens as annual veggies, which being in a lease situation you probably do not want to invest in perennials, it would work just as well with just annual crops. I do not move the drip tape when seeding, so it's not a time waster. You may want to chat with the landowner to see if they would be willing to purchase trees/brambles, bushes, which would add a lot to your garden and wallet.
Hope this is helpful~
M
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