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A little earthworks clarification  RSS feed

 
Sabin Howard
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      I have a small (6 acre) piece of land, located in South-central Tennessee, that desperately needs some rehab.  The land is currently a fairly scrubby oak and hickory regrowth forest situated on rolling hills with one quite substantial valley.  The land would have been all in pasture 40 years ago. 

      On roughly four of the acres I would like to setup some Holzer style terraces and raised beds, but I'm not certain on the logistics.  When I create the terraces do I need to try to slope them slightly back tword the hill to capture as much water as possible, or allow the terrace to slightly pitch forward to allow for drainage?  I only ask because here I have a heavy clay with poor drainage, and it seems unless I'm really careful I may cause landslide problems.

      Also I have watched all the videos I can find on Hugulkultur.  When the raised hugulbeds are created is the prevailing wind direction the only concern?  Do any alterations need to be made to allow for drainage in wet seasons?

      Sorry if I'm asking obv. questions just hard to find specifics.
 
Sabin Howard
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Sorry for the reply but I just rewatched the sepp holzer terrace and raised bed video.  It is very hard to tell exactly what is being done but some of his terraces seem to be on contour while others don't seem to.  It appears his terraces are fairly level front to back with a slight downhill preference.  Please tell me if I'm wrong.
 
Paula Edwards
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Before doing big earthworks I would do small scale projects. Then you learn more about your soil. Something like a vegetable garden or an orchard, things you can do with a shovel, a wheel barrow and a mattock. If you start big you are likely to do huge errors, if you start small your errors are small.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Clay terraces slope out, sandy terraces slope back. Sloping the terrace along its length also helps with additional drainage, and can move water from naturally over wet places (like gullies) to naturally dryer places (outcroppings).
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Sabin wrote:


       On roughly four of the acres I would like to setup some Holzer style terraces and raised beds, but I'm not certain on the logistics. 



Your first logistic should be planning the property, not trying to do something someone else has done.  Do you know what you are planting on your hugel-swales?  Are they swales?  Water movement on contour needed?  Need a pond near them? 

To just go at it is a dangerous thing.
 
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