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Grading Before Planting  RSS feed

 
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Brand new poster here! Hello to all, and thank you in advance! So I have recently been introduced to the amazing idea of doing a permaculture food forest, by way of youtube. I have an area in which I want to build mine, but it isn't the most level. It isn't badly sloped by any means, but the videos from which I'm getting my info are saying to put down a very thick wood chip layer, and I would hate to build a fence; put down loads of wood chips; have it wash down in a heavy rain; and be left having to pull out the fence and start from scratch (which is how my luck usually goes). I can post pics if that would help (I'm sure it would), when I get home. I know that it's supposed to be based on the way nature was intended, and what are the odds that nature is nicely graded? I'm EXTREMELY excited to see what I can create, and I want to get it right the first time. Thank you in advance!
 
pollinator
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I would take a step back and do some research based on your climate. Woodchips that are good in one locale might hold fire ants, or mice in other areas. Theres no one thing that works for everyone. Thats true for anything the vid probably hilited.

I started with hay as a mulch around my trees cause it breaks down quicker thus feeds the soil quicker. Then started adding woodchips over that. Im not sure if this is good or bad as one promotes fungi and another bacteria. Search user bryant redhawk and read threads he started. The info is valuable and reliable.

As far as your question, im not having an issue with chips on a slight slope. Once things harmonize (and which species of chips) they will breakdown pretty fast. My best grazing area is from a washout that pushes sticks and leaves to one area of my property. It is lush. So if it does move its still feeding something. Ive actually placed chips on bigger slopes hoping water would spread it out for me. Lol. Its an observation from my washout. Rather than a full mulch that stops growth, it kind of gets buried under the grass individually, keeping grass for cows and feeds the soil at the same time.
 
C Duke
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Thank you Wayne! I definitely didn't consider that. The guy I've been watching is in coastal NJ, and I'm in west GA. We def have a fire ant issue down here. I'll look into that.
 
Posts: 231
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert solar
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Have you learned of swales yet?  If not, you may want to check em out.  ;-)  You may consider using swales on contour to help establish your forest instead of grading the ground, especially if you have rainfall collection area uphill of the ground where you are going to establish a forest....but, it needs to work for you and your situation, and plenty of people have great success only using thick mulch.  I mention the swales because, throughout the years I've come across videos of people who didn't use swales in the beginning, thinking that they had enough rain or it wouldn't benefit their situation for some reason or another.  Then they put in swales and mention how the swales made a significant improvement to their ground, and how much better everything grows.

I've also seen some lush food forests where people only use woodchips, lots of woodchips, in a small area....Jake Mace the Vegan Athlete comes to mind...that's someone on youtube who lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area.  James Prigioni uses only woodchips as well, he's in New Jersey.  <--my guess of who you've been watching.  Both of them have fairly flat plots of ground.

Here's a couple others I can think of that are somewhat close to you that may give you more ideas.  I think they are all in Florida..?  Pete Kanaris, Val and Eli, Alex Ojeda, David the Good, you can find Val and Alex Ojeda on Johnny Mars's youtube channel.
 
Joshua Parke
Posts: 231
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert solar
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jack spirko has excellent videos on youtube, going back to when he first began on his property years ago, all the way up to where he's at today.  He uses ducks, and they make a huge difference.  His property walk's showcase the growth of his food forest.  He also has a great food forest video worth watching......Establishing a Food Forest with Jack Spirko
 
C Duke
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Thanks, all! After looking closely, I decided the grade wasn't that and to go ahead with my fencing and get some hay down. I read that it's a process best started in the fall, so I will be building fence between now and then (handheld post hole diggers are a beast in the GA heat/hummidity, so it'll take some time).
 
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Location: South of the the headwaters to the tributary at the final bend of the Monongahela River
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Depending on how the land is sloped, and where your property lines are relative to the contours, with a steep slope, I always imagine a series of terraces, swales and relatively level winding walkways, with flat landings, that support retention/irrigation ponds, hugalkultural mound gardens, and/or open groves.
Different terrace layers and retaining walls can be designed and tamped to drain or hold water in the appropriate places, minimizing erosion.
In an ideal finalized situation, trees and stone would hold the hill in place. Trees keep the soil from moving, and the stones slow water runoff by supporting shrubs and preventing gullies.
Immediately logs and hay bales can temporarily fill-in for support trees while the roots of said trees establish themselves.
With a blank canvas like you described, I'd start with the swales and access trails, setting up the tamped water holding wetland like terrace layers, and blocking gullies at the top, so that water flows through that system, and support the ground on the flat level pathways above and below the swales. On the slopes in between, I would plant the fruit/nut trees and understory perennials, biennials and shrubs in relevant species specific, and landscape relevant sites. With this set-up you will need a good deal of biodiversity for the site to support itself.
For the slopes in between the swales and walkways, Trees and shrubs with deep strong roots, as well as ones with shallow roots that drink a lot of water, at strategic and relevant locations. Eventually Set some stones, or build plant supported stone walls in between the hillside holding trees, to fill in any remaining gaps in slope stability or water flow.
Good luck!
 
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