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Terraced Gardens on a Hillside

                                                                    


Joined: Jul 10, 2010
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
These gardens in Greece are famous for producing vast amounts off food.
They have not been maintained in about 80 years but for centuries they fed hundreds of thousands of people.

Does anyone know about or understand this technique for gardening?

The trees shown in the photos are Olive, Almond and other food bearing trees.



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We live in Nashville, Tennessee, USA
www.permavations.com
                              


Joined: Jul 29, 2010
Posts: 2
Campy in Nashville, Tennessee, USA wrote:
These gardens in Greece are famous for producing vast amounts off food.
They have not been maintained in about 80 years but for centuries they fed hundreds of thousands of people.

Does anyone know about or understand this technique for gardening?

The trees shown in the photos are Olive, Almond and other food bearing trees.


What specifically do you want to know about terracing?  It's just a technique for preventing soil erosion really.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
we do similar terracing on our property here, not on as vast a scale. but more than enough area to grow more food than we need. plus its beautiful and functional.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
                        


Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Posts: 13
Sepp Holzer employs similar approach to his farming.  I believe there are some links on this site regarding him.  If not, go to you tube (or google) and look up his name.  There is a multi part video where they describe his approach, and why he does it.

Also, Geoff Lawton (I think that's how its spelled) discusses this as a water harvesting technique in one of his follow ups to greening the desert videos.  (I had to fish for it on youtube)

Basically, by changing the contour of the hillside the water doesn't just run down, it gets stopped on the terraces and percolates in to the hillside.  The hillside then SLOWLY allows the water to go down all the while holding on to what little rain they did get.  The trees are able to pull up this water reserve and thrive.  (look up "permaculture swales" again google or youtube they have a very good graphic on how this works)
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
terracing is a great way to use a slope..if you have the room and the energy  to build the terraces..

i garden on the slopes around our house and drainfield, however, i don't  use terracing..i plant things that like the drier conditions at the top and wetter conditions at the bottom.

i have always thought terracing is great if yoy NEED flat land and you have a hill..swales will help as well..but terraces give you more flattish land to walk on ..and makes steps up your hill for access..things like wheelborrows don't move well up and down terraces


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i have learned a effortless way to terrace a hillside, involving chickens.

step one - find the hill you want to terrace, section it off with fencing of some type( i used bird netting because its cheap)

step two - set up terrace walls where you want them on contour. do not backfill there is no need. ( i used local rock from our property to build the walls)

step 3 - let a bunch of chickens in the area

step 4 - add daily food scraps, weeds, anything organic in origin

the chickens will scratch downhill as they ALWAYS do. over time of adding material they will fill up the terraces with there scratched scraps, weeds and waste, a little bit of soil and of course there manure. let sit for a month or two or over winter. come spring you have leveled terraces, rich in organic matter, full of nutrients.

you could even add some rotten wood at the bottom of the walls so they eventually get burried and create almost a hugelkultur type terrace.

i learned this by total accicent but it works GREAT!
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Hm...not only is there a chicken tractor, now there's a chicken backhoe.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 340
Location: South West France
    
  15
Soil, I can confirm that that system works really well and after they've finished scratching, the bed is ready to plant up and mulch.



La Ferme de Sourrou : Nos projets avec PHOTOS
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i like those barrier walls made of the logs, great idea and cheap too. they also look good
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame


Joined: May 23, 2010
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
    
    3
When I was on one of the smaller greek islands several years ago, I was tremendously impressed by the miles upon miles of terraced hillsides, mostly abandoned.  Very little farming going on, but the remnants of a once great civilization were everywhere.  The island now has a population of maybe 2,000.  But in it's heyday over 3000 years ago it was 40,000 people or more.  Old stories spoke of a tenuous relationship between the people and the natural springs (and the water nymphs, the nyads) on the island.  It would appear to me that significant desertification has occurred over the millennia.  Rainwater cachement is the norm, with cisterns built under homes.  

The great untapped natural resource of the island appears to be a overwhelming summer population of grasshoppers and other bugs.  
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
Irene, what a beautiful picture, and what a great idea..

i have heard in the past that people have made terraces by catchment...using some type of berms or piles of logs, branches, etc..to provide a catchment ..but the chickens is a great idea as well..

what fertile terraces would be made..and other than providing the catchments there wouldn't be a lot of work, just some time..

great thread
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
yukkuri_kame wrote:The great untapped natural resource of the island appears to be a overwhelming summer population of grasshoppers and other bugs.  


Hm...chickens could eat insects in the summer, and olive pomace in the winter...good observation.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
When I took soil science classes, they taught that constructing terraces was terribly labor intensive. It was an article of 'fact' that all terraces in the world were built with machines or back-breaking labor, carrying baskets of soil up the mountainside. I don't think that is always true.

Terraces can be built very slowly with relatively little work - build a few inches of barrier, and let gravity do the work of leveling. When the soil has filled the upslope side of the wall, build the wall a bit higher. If the soil is rocky, move the rocks on the surface a few feet ... that not only creates the barrier, it also makes the soil in between easier to work if one is interested in tilling for some reason.

Cows and other animals grazing a hilside tend to walk back and forth perpendicular to the slope, and this has a bit of a terracing effect. I wouldn't be surprised if they have an instinct to frequent the key line more often than other areas - the change of slope may present them with greater opportunities at that location.
                                                                    


Joined: Jul 10, 2010
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
As I consider land for purchase my tastes have changed.
In the past I though green fields and agricultural bottom land was best.
After learning about the agricultural chemicals and the run off from roads and yards I am thinking differently.

Recently, we had a flood event on our agricultural bottom land.  We had trash, peoples belongings, raw sewage,  large vessels containing petroleum fuels and the like coming over our land.

Now I am thinking it is better to be higher in the drainage system.  This generally means a wooded hilly area.  An area that has never been tilled savaged by modern agriculture.

Without a level lot terracing may be the best option.

Fortunately, this hilly, wooded land is a lot less expensive.

 
 
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