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Designing garden beds on contour  RSS feed

 
                              
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Hi Permies!

I'm quite new to the permaculture path and am planning out our home garden at the farm. I would love to design a beautiful keyhole or series of mandala gardens but the area around the house is on contour. Not a very steep slope, but definately a noticeable slope. Should I just stick with garden beds in rows that run along the contour or would a keyhole or mandala style garden work on a slope. Any advice for beautiful and practical garden bed design on contour would be much much appreciated.

Our soil is quite mobile and subject to erostion.

Many thanks!
Jemma
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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there is a slope all the way around our house as our house and drainfield were raised at least 4' above grade level, and I have planted them with perennials, shrubs, dwarf trees, vines, herbs etc..

you are welcome to look at my blog for some ideas.

as for mandalas or keyholes, you certainly could do them around the slopes, however, depending on the steepness of the slopes the path treatment may be difficult....that is why I use my slopes for mixed beds that don't require constant upkeep or harvesting.

I put my annuals in beds on a flatter section of my proeprty in some mixed beds that also have perennials, trees, shrubs and vines as well, haven't updated my garden shots this year and the food garden area is very young
 
                                      
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Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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i think it depends a bit on your situation

if holding water in the soil is an issue, rows of raised beds on contour could be best. (not more than 1,20m/4' wide, so you can reach to the middle and dont have to walk on the beds= no more tilling)

if drainage is more of an issue, and soils get muddy a lot, the rows would be better slightly of contour (not to steep, it would induce erosion), so it directs water down.
In this last case mandala's circles or other beatifull shapes could be a better option for you.

If the first is the better option still keyholes could be made, the beds could be more than 4' wide, say 5' or 6', and can have a keyhole every 4' on the higher side of the slope to be able to reach in, and have more 'edge-effect', as well as beauty.
 
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