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Starting over in Arkansas  RSS feed

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Hello everyone!  I've been stalking the forums for a while and finally got around to joining so I could post.  First let me say, this place is awesome =)

Several years ago, my wife, three kids and I moved on to 10 acres in Central Arkansas with the dream of turning it into the garden of eden.  I envisioned acres of food forest, edibles where ever the hand was outstretched, lush habitat for native critters, etc.  We moved in during October and that winter was a real eye opener.  I had kept my eye on the property for months, but the previous winter had been pretty dry.  Our first winter on the land was a completely different story.  We had an extremely wet winter and had standing water for several days.  I didn't let it deter me though and when spring finally sprung, I got started planting fruit trees with dreams of bushels of apples, peaches, plums and pears.  The next winter was fairly dry and that second spring, one my young apple trees actually produced fruit!  Only one or two very small fruits, but fruit none the less.  Meanwhile, I was busy planting other things.  The next winter was pretty wet and my heart was crushed when all my fruit trees died from the excess water.  Long and short, we are at the bottom of a very gentle valley and we have PLENTY of water... too much in fact.

I engaged a local nursery to discuss my situation.  They're opinion was that I will never successfully grow trees on this land.  Now, I know for a fact this is BS as there are MANY trees already growing, all I need to do is create the right micro-climate.  I've been trying (lazily) to come up with a plan for the last couple of years and I *think* I've finally come up with one.

Our land is 1/4 of a mile north/south and 330 feet east/west.  The water comes in from the west and flows east and very very slightly south.  It would have been nice if it had come in from the north as it would be on property a lot longer.  My plan is to use an A-Frame level and snap some contours in the west pasture (the entire 10 acres was pasture before we moved in) and bring in a track-hoe to create several hugelkultur beds (beds? hmmm.. that doesn't quite feel right, but...) running north/south and plant my fruit trees on those beds.  Basically swales and berms except the berms will be hugelkultur beds instead of just berms.

What I'm hoping for is some feedback on experiences doing this type of thing.  I believe the original purpose of hugelkultur was too deal with land that was too wet rather than too dry so it sounds like a perfect fit.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this.  May you all be blessed!

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