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Plants on a steep slope?

 
                    
Posts: 9
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Hello! I am new to this lovely permaculture board and have a question. My group and I are designing a permaculture design for our graduation project from an RDI course. We are designing for a very steep slope with rocky, sandy soil. There is a lot of wind on the site, so we would need wind screens. We've noticed that there are a lot of succulents growing wild on the site (which is in San Francisco) and some tall grass like plants, and some fennel/anise.

There is not so much rain fall on the site, so we need drought tolerant plants, so likely natives. We are also interested in food foresting, so plants that produce a crop would be perfect.

What plants and techniques can people suggest?

Thanks very much!

~Dusky
 
Isaac Hill
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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SWALES!!!
 
                    
Posts: 9
Location: San Francisco, CA
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We're definitely planning on using swales, both for water catchment and terracing, but we need to do this on the super cheap, we really don't have any funding. Is there a way you can recommend to do swales for the poor permie?
 
Isaac Hill
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Shovels and sweat, bro.

And watch this: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLED8F6648DB5C9290&feature=mh_lolz

Just plan it so you only have to dig as many swales as you need to harvest the most water you can. It all has to do with the contour of that particular land.
 
Ran Prieur
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Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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I've got very sandy soil, and a couple goumis are surviving on a dry slope. They did need some water in the first few years.

Swales are not as useful in sandy soil because the water just sinks out the bottom and down to the bedrock or the aquifer. You might want to add some clay or organic matter to the bottoms of the swales so they hold water longer.
 
Isaac Hill
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Ran Prieur wrote:


Swales are not as useful in sandy soil because the water just sinks out the bottom and down to the bedrock or the aquifer. You might want to add some clay or organic matter to the bottoms of the swales so they hold water longer.


Very true. I think the pros advise to heavily mulch the swale bottom and cover plant lots of nitrogen fixers on the berm, especially for sandy soil
 
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