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Terracing/Raised bed advice needed

 
                            
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Part of my property is in fairly steep hillside. I've got a bad case of spring fever and keep looking at it trying to figure out where/how I want to plant. I just realized... I don't have a very good concept of the layout of terraces and raised beds.

Should they run in contour with the slope? Should they run up and down.. which way will they get the most sunlight? The slope I'm currently looking at is an east facing slope. It has minimal light hours from the west/south.


Thanks!
 
master pollinator
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I think on contour is probably the only way to make them stable.

I like this video of Sepp Holzer's terraces:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzRzJRiUylg ; Super inspiring! 
 
                            
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If I'm seeing right, he does terraces on the contour or parallel with the contour, then does rows of raised beds in between the terraces, at right angles to the terraces?

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'd be worried that would just be an erosion nightmare!     I think he does some slightly off-contour to direct the water downhill so things don't get too water-logged.  This would depend on your rainfall and soil moisture and might require some experimentation.  We see Sepp's finished results - we don't see the decades of experiments! 
 
                            
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I don't know. Maybe the Terraces control so that the raised beds maintain without losses to erosion?

I was specifically looking at the video at about 1:17 to 1:21... right in there. I have watched that video several times. It is really good!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Oh wow, yeah, I see that!  Hmm, I wonder if it might be a feature of the camera angle- I'm wondering if those are slightly off-contour or even flat?    I'd sure worry about beds running up and down the slope - serious erosion danger there....
 
                            
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Ahhh, I'll bet doing them off contour would work.
 
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Mankind has been terracing for thousands of years.  The concept is to create flat land (which maximizes water use, and controls erosion).  I have never seen a terrace system which does not follow the contour...maybe those have all washed away.

In Asian terracing, the man responsible for the irrigation lives at the bottom of the field.  If HE screws up, HE is the one to get flooded!
 
                            
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I was super tired when I posed this question yesterday and didn't word it well at all. I do understand that the terraces need to go with the contour. But what I'm not grasping is how best to integrate the raised beds between the terraces. Does light exposure come into play at all in the positioning of the raised beds?

When I look at the Sepp Video he has lots of big ridges (running on the contour) with many parallel small mounds in between the big ridges. On most of these I can't see a huge change in the grade, but it appears to me that the small mound area is not always on the level, but may be on a bit of an incline. I just can't tell from the video.
 
                                  
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Hi All, New member.

I was watching a dozen or so videos on Sepp last night and today.

I think that the raised beds are placed perpendicular to the prevailing wind for micro-climate purposes.

Guessing that this might not be a good idea if the slope was too steep, but given how covered all the slopes appear and that they are sandwiched by terraces, there probably wouldnt be a huge amount of runoff anyway.

Thx,
JOhn
 
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