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Swaled Hilltop Forest Garden  RSS feed

 
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I've been working on a 1/2 acre sloped piece of land which will become the forest garden. All of the vegetative debris is laid down on contour and then covered with soil from the swale. It's been slow going since it's just been me digging and clearing with hand tools. More pics and info to follow.
 
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Interesting! This reminds me a lot of Fukuoka’s natural farm book.
 
Jonathan Henry
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Chris Holcombe wrote:Interesting! This reminds me a lot of Fukuoka’s natural farm book.



Thanks! Yeah it's kind of a mix of several different Permaculture schools.
 
Jonathan Henry
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Digging it all by hand was taking too long so I rented a tractor and got it done in a day! It's not all perfectly on contour because I had to work around some big pines I wanted to keep.
 
steward
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Very inspiring Jonathan ! I will be watching this thread to see how this all turns out. When you said in the first post that you were doing this by hand I was wondering how long it was gonna take you. When I was in my 20's and 30's I cannot tell you how much shoveling I did , now that I am old I love my tractor!
 
Jonathan Henry
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Very inspiring Jonathan ! I will be watching this thread to see how this all turns out. When you said in the first post that you were doing this by hand I was wondering how long it was gonna take you. When I was in my 20's and 30's I cannot tell you how much shoveling I did , now that I am old I love my tractor!



Thanks for the words of encouragement!  I love the physical labor of digging but it isn't very efficient when you consider heavy machinery as an option. I will continue to post updates as they come along!
 
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Amazing!
I am looking forward to updates!!!
 
pollinator
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Amazing endeavour! I am excited to see it develop.

I think as long as you watch those spots where you had to work around the pines for signs of erosion, you shouldn't have any issues.

And as to handwork over heavy equipment, I love the idea of working with the shovel and pickaxe. I also love splitting wood myself, with a maul on a block. But if there's an electric splitter that someone less physically capable can operate reliably instead, it lets me do something else.

Also, time is a factor in much of permaculture, in terms of getting the soil life accomodated. Nothing happens instantaneously, so the faster you can get the hydrology and sediment trapping topographical features working for you, the sooner the system starts building itself.

Good luck. Great pictures. Keep up the great work, and please keep us posted!

-CK
 
garden master
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What a great project Jonathan.
Don't worry about keeping on contour, on slopes that steep you would probably do better with a 1% down grade and movement back and forth for maximum water infiltration.
Small ponds can be placed at the end of each run then feed out to the next swale downhill, that will keep wash out from happening.
Another option would be to set the rim even all the way along each swale so the water will sheet down to the next swale thus preventing erosion during a heavy rain event.

I love your progress, get something growing asap on that bare soil.

Redhawk
 
Jonathan Henry
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Nothing too new to report on the swales. We've had some good rain lately though and the swales have filled and held water for several days thereafter. I'm counting down the days until the last frost date and I can start throwing out some legumes.
 
Jonathan Henry
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I couldn’t wait any longer so I jumped the gun on planting the Sunn Hemp a few weeks earlier than I should have. If we get another frost that kills it off then so be it, I’ll just have to plant some more!
 
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