I purchased a home a few months ago and now that Spring is here I am looking to make it into a miniature homestead. I am looking for design ideas.
My entire 2/3rds of an acre property sits on a hill side. I would have liked to terrace but all of my slopes are uneven and nothing is level...making it an very big chore. I am situated at the lowest part of a river valley slope The edge of my front yard marks the end of the hillside and the beginning of the flat river valley. The river is about 85 yards past my front property line. My house is on the western slope of the valley, facing east.
I am installing some raised beds for veggies on the 5 degree slope front of my house. I want to install a food forest at the bottom of the front yard. I should be able to plant dwarf varieties without shading my vegetable beds due to the drop in elevation. There is an uneven slope between the raised beds and potential food forest location that could possibly be swaled.
I am still researching and trying to overcome tenativeness. I am concerned about microclimate/frost pockets due to my slopes and being in a river valley. The good news is that being situated low in the valley a surrounded by trees eliminates severe wind. I am on the fall line of the Piedmont Plateau and straddle zone 7a and 7b. Here's a quick sketch of the property. Any comments/suggestions are welcome.
Welcome to Permies! As a newcomer here i thought you may find this link helpful - universal welcome.
You have quite a few projects planned for your property, you may also be interested in the projects forum. As you get started on your endeavors, make sure you take lots of pictures to share with us. Good luck!
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From what I've learned, it's best to put a swale at a keypoint, rather than midslope. The keypoint is where the land forms change from concave to convex. Midslope is usually much less stable than either at the top of the slope or at the keypoint.
My understanding of the swale concept is that it helps retain moisture in sloped areas that are lacking, or reduce runoff/loss of nutrient-rich material. What is your rainfall situation, and is there a season where the soil in that area is dry? Do you have any issues with loss of topsoil? In those cases a swale should be very helpful, in some other cases it may not make enough difference to be worthwhile. You might want to research the purposes of all the permie elements and decide which ones are most valuable for your particular site. What issues does your site have now, and how might they become better? Then what permaculture methods would best serve to cause those improvements?
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica