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Drew Carlson
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 5a Southern Wisconsin
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Has anyone ever thought about experimenting with bowl shaped terraces? I was looking at the pictures on sepp holzer's website and saw some project he designed that looked like bowl shaped terraces.

http://www.krameterhof.at/schuetzingergut.php

While backpacking in Peru I was fortunate enough to hike to Machu Picchu and got to see lots of the terraced sites along the way. The Inca moray circles near Cusco were very cool and the design that went into them was pretty impressive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:051-Moray.JPG

Has anyone ever seen or done something like these two examples on a smaller scale?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Wow!  Looks neat! 
 
Drew Carlson
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 5a Southern Wisconsin
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It sure is. They say that in the Inca moray that the degree difference from the top level to the bottom can be as much as 59 degrees Fahrenheit!
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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dcarl335 wrote:
It sure is. They say that in the Inca moray that the degree difference from the top level to the bottom can be as much as 59 degrees Fahrenheit!


I think that's a mistake.  a difference of 15 °C is not the same as a difference of 59 °F.  that should probably be 27 °F, which is still pretty substantial.
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 387
Location: South West France
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chicken food preservation forest garden fungi hunting solar
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This is on a much smaller scale but I've been experimenting with circles spaces ever since I noticed that there was a complete circle on the altitude map at the top of our land near where we wanted to site our house.

Our back garden and potager are on a south-facing slope. Behind the back terrace of the house we've made two bowl-shape terraces with a pond at the bottom. I'll try to explain what I mean using these photos :

This is the first terrace looking down from the roof of our house. You can see the circle starting to take shape on the left and I'll probably use wooden poles there to keep the earth from falling down.



This is how it looks from the side with a food store on that level and a gloriette on the same level as the house.



This is the start of a stone wall which is on the second terrace. We have to finish building the house first and we're running short of stone, so this project was put on hold as soon as we'd built a  wall strong enough to retain the earth.



This is the bottom level and there's still a lot to do but I can confirm that the temperature here is much higher than at the top. It's protected from the wind and the wall, when it's finished will retain the heat to help plants do well.



 
Jeff Mathias
Posts: 125
Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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If I recall correctly some of them were thought to be used like test gardens to model all the possible micro-climates in the surrounding areas.

Jeff
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Beautiful spaces in those photos. 
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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that's great, i could totally see an aquaculture thing going on in the middle as a pond. surrounded by crops.
 
dj niels
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Great idea. Very pretty place, Irene. Anybody ever figure out what Sep was saying about the circle garden? Or has anyone else ever tried it out?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Here are several of Sepp's projects. There should be a "translate this page " link on each one.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=kratergarten+holzer&qs=n&form=QBRE&pq=kratergarten+holzer&sc=0-0&sp=-1&sk=&adlt=strict
 
dj niels
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Interesting pictures, but the translations make no sense in English, unfortunately. Sep really goes out for big projects, doesn't he?
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.krameterhof.at%2Fschuetzingergut.php&act=url

Google's translation says this:

Holzer's permaculture project in family Rosemarie and Hans Moschl, SCHUTZINGERGUT, Schonbach 16, 5733 Bramberg in Pinzgau, district Zell am See.

Due to the disaster damage (flood damage) in 2005, the family asked me to advise on Moschl reclamation of disaster damage to their property.

My redevelopment proposal:
Establishment of a crater garden on plot 739/740 and 741st The crater garden should be more three-dimensional. This micro-climate zones can be created, allowing for versatile use. Thinking of a herbal plant with a water garden and the planting of the entire property with fruit trees and berry bushes. The construction of the crater garden is both the necessary flood protection are met, as well as be an alternative agricultural use possible.

The family Moschl has included this proposal positively and submitted as a project. From the river, building department and the district of Zell am See and the local Bramberg the project was endorsed and approved. In the wake of disaster damage repair the shell of the crater garden was built. The planting and sowing takes place in spring 2007. The collaboration with the River Building Department, the district administration and the community Bramberg been very constructive, for which they deserve a heartfelt thanks.

Together with the assistance of Ms. Daniela Zorn, Gudenhof, 2642 Schottwien, www.gudenhof.at is the sowing and planting of the crater garden in spring 2007. Daniela Zorn has made a "non-farmer" the Gudenhof, after my consultation in 2002/2003, into a thriving paradise and managed her estate with her family with great success. Daniela Zorn has gained their practical experience by working for my projects at home and abroad and is also willing to share their experiences of Holzer's Permaculture.


The only thing I replaced was the name of Daniela Zorn was being mistranslated as "Daniela anger," but I checked the original and it was her name each time.

I think this is readable and understandable. Basically, there was some flood damage to a property and Sepp designed a crater garden to both prevent flood damage and for simultaneous agricultural use. He planned for a water garden in the crater and planted fruit trees and berry bushed around the rest of the property. It just doesn't have a lot of details about the process.
 
dj niels
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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That one is more readable than the ones that pulled up when I looked at the links yesterday. Thanks.

I still don't feel I understand mucht of the process, though. Does he only do that on hills, or does he actually create a crater in the ground? and wouldn't the air in a sunken bed actually be colder because the cold air would sink into it?

I remember reading in a gardening book that a cool retreat could be created in a desert area by digging out a sunken patio, and covering it with an arbor type structure for shade, with grass and a small pond in the sunken patio to increase the humidity of the retreat.
 
Brandis Roush
Posts: 37
Location: Central Minnesota
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It probably depends on a lot of other factors in the environment like humidity and wind. I have been reading Little House on the Prairie with my kids and they talk about the lowlands around the creek as always being significantly warmer than the high prairie. But I also know that low areas between hills tend to freeze first, so ? Anyone know the science behind this, and what factors would affect it?
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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dj niels wrote:That one is more readable than the ones that pulled up when I looked at the links yesterday. Thanks.

I still don't feel I understand mucht of the process, though. Does he only do that on hills, or does he actually create a crater in the ground? and wouldn't the air in a sunken bed actually be colder because the cold air would sink into it?

I remember reading in a gardening book that a cool retreat could be created in a desert area by digging out a sunken patio, and covering it with an arbor type structure for shade, with grass and a small pond in the sunken patio to increase the humidity of the retreat.


Here is a little help in understanding, but still incomplete...

CHAPTER 6 - PASSIVE PROTECTION METHODS


Protection methods are either passive or active. Passive protection includes methods that are done in advance of a frost night to help avoid the need for active protection. For example, passive management activities include:

1 Site selection
2 Managing cold air drainage
3 Plant selection
4 Canopy trees
5 Plant nutrition management
6 Proper pruning
7 Cooling to delay bloom
8 Chemicals to delay bloom
9 Plant covers
10 Avoiding soil cultivation
11 Irrigation
12 Removing cover crops
13 Soil covers
14 Painting trunks
15 Trunk wraps
16 Bacteria control
17 Seed treatment with chemicals

To read more ~ http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y7223e/y7223e0c.htm
 
dj niels
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Wow, lots of info at that site. Looks like it is mostly aimed toward large commercial orchards, monocultures, bare soil, lots of recommended sprays, etc.

I did gather that my site would not be considered favorable! surprise, surprise. However, unless we all try to crowd into a few "ideal" locations, I believe we each have to learn to grow what we can where we are. I have lived in enough places, and seen many more, that I don't think there is any one "perfect place"--we just have to weigh the pros and cons, if we decide to relocate, or make the best of what we have where we are.

I also deduct that using deep kratur beds as were shown in some of the images would only be beneficial in areas not subject to frost, or else on a hillside where frost can drain away.

So, because of frost problems, I should build a huge mound to plant trees on, but because of dry conditions I need sunken areas to retain moisture. Kind of hard to do both on one rather small space.

As a side note, a few years ago I dumped a huge pile of chopped leaves in my yard. Later I added rocks and soil and shaped the left over, partially broken down, pile of leaves into a spiral herb mound, and planted a variety of herbs on it. About the only things that have survived on the mound, with regular watering, are a couple of plants of tarragon (drought tolerant), and a couple of mint plants at the bottom, on the north side, under shade of elm trees and the house most of the day. My front yard only gets about 2-3 hours of direct sunlight, but that is enough to kill off most shade lovers, and not enough for sun lovers! It does add texture and edge to my yard, but very hard to keep watered enough for things to grow. I have been thinking I should remake all my beds into sunken "rain garden" features, that could hold the moisture longer from our infrequent rains, rather than drying out a few hours after a rain, as they do now.

Part of the reason the creek beds in Little House were warmer, imo was because they had tree cover, which holds heat under the canopy. But on the open prairie there was no tree cover. Many prairie homes have been warmed by planting windbreaks to slow the cold wind.

Bill Mollison warned against planting hedges etc which block cold air drainage, and recommended creating suntraps around a home and garden to improve microclimates. Hugelbeds, high mounds, would have to be carefully designed to allow frost to drain away, while still blocking the wind, that here can swirl from any direction. I thought my new garden site was flat when we bought it, but since have realized it has a gentle slope toward the northeast, so a suntrap may also trap cold. Have to ponder more on that challenge.

So I am still trying to sort out how and when to use Hugelbeds, swales, mounds, craters, or waffle beds, etc.
 
Jeff Fountain
Posts: 21
Location: Thompson Manitoba Canada Zone 1b :(
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I find the concept of the Kratergarten fascinating. I recently attended a Holzer event in Manitoba and this concept was the most valuable technique I picked up. Unfortunately, despite pressing Sepp to provide more detail on their construction, many questions remain. I live in one of the coldest cities in North America and this Kratergarten may be of significant benefit. After Sepp had left for the day, I pressed one of the permavitae people to "dish out the goods" on these Kratergartens. What I understand from that discussion is that the main reason for them was to capture snow allowing for sensitive crops to be buried and not exposed to the elements.

I have noticed with many of my more zone iffy plants, that the portion of the plant that remained under snow cover survives and thrives while the portion above the snowline dies back.

What I would like to try is to build a horseshoe shaped krater and terraces with the terraced berms blocking the northern, eastern and western winds and sun exposure leaving only southern exposure to the plants. I would then plant the backside of the berms with evergreens so that I would have a massive windshelter on the north east and west sides. I am assuming that this would act as a huge snow trap, suntrap and sheltered area. Combined with black rocks on the berms facing south and a pond, this would be an effective microclimate.

Thoughts?
 
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