All ideas for contour lines!

Any questions or comments you have about Natural Sequence Farming processes. These could include general questions or ones about your personal problems.

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gbell
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Post by gbell » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:23 pm

[bump on this old thread]

yeah, what kind of seeds would survive the grinding a cow's teeth give?
you'd also want to select species that could compete with grasses...

Stringybark
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Post by Stringybark » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:25 pm

Alot of seeds tend to pass through most animals unprocessed. I guess it's a numbers game. Some seeds get chewed, others slip through. Get a handful of small seed (poppy seeds for instance) and eat them. You won't need to chew them all.
In a sheep or cattle feedlot, where they may be on a high % whole grain diet. You will see seeds in their droppings.
Cattle have a large mouth and throat, so a thumbnail sized seed could possibly pass through the system.
Most human parents who have changed nappies will be able to support this as well.

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:05 pm

That's what I was thinking. Many seeds pass through the gut of animals only to land in a nice little pack of fertiliser. If you got just 1 per pat you would be doing alright! :)

gwmbox
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Post by gwmbox » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:04 am

Photos guys, would love to see some more photos of what you have done :)

Cheers

Greg
--
- VERY new to farming - have a small farm
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matto
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Post by matto » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:55 pm

brettmtl wrote: Also was re-reading Back from the Brink and noticed that Peter says to use two swales. So I now realise my swale is only 20% complete
I couldn't quite work out why. Does anyone know?

Through reading rainforest regeneration books, they also say to use the double swale. In between the swales bury a waterproof liner, so water will sit in the middle and store rain and increase the humidity until the trees are established.
It is also a way of artificially creating a higher water table, especially when the nearest creek is KM's away

So am currently looking at options for the liner.
Spoke to a rubber recycling place that make liner but it will cost a small fortune.

What does Peter or anyone else who has done this know?
Hi brett,
I have been lucky enough to visit a farm in victoria that has contours designed by Peter. These were set in the top half of a slope and looked as one swale would look about 200mm deep and then on the downslope side at the base of the mound sat another shallower swale. These were planted out either side of the top mound. Probably quite different to what you are talking about with the rainforest books. Hope this helps.

duane
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Post by duane » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:47 pm

Julene and Clem

This is a difficult concept to grasp using alphanumeric descriptions.

It is almost impossible for me to describe it CLEARLY in words.

I need an animator to help.

Is there anyone out there expert in this field who might be able to assist?

This is SO critical to get it right.

duane
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Post by duane » Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:21 pm

Julene

That drawing on p190 is not technically correct.

Even though it appears in Peter's book, it was drawn by another person, without ever having seen what PA described. Hence, it is not 100% correct.

It, therefore, gives the reader the wrong impression.

I am going to attempt to explain.

On the slope ther is a line of EQUAL LEVEL---the contour line. This is the critical thing!!!

Some Swales are DRAINS and as such they can cause erosion and move salt. The Permaculture swale OR on-contour, water-harvesting permaculture swales does NOT have a fall....thanks to Clem for the reference below.

Imagine this contour line being like a pencil line on a piece of paper or a marker paint line on the landscape.

Are you with me???

Now, and here is the big difference in what Brett and others have described and done and what should be done.

Next, to build the contour you have to follow this sprayed line with your excavator or bobcat and DIG into the ground RIGHT on the line and if your machine is downhill drag out the soil to a depth on no more than 300-500mm.

Do this all the way along the length of the contour line.

This is what is known at the CUT part of the operation.

Next is the FILL part of the operation.

This is where the excavated spoil is mounded up, being careful not to compact it so that it resembles the big mound on p190. Note it doesnt have to be a point as shown in the diagram.

Complete this along the entire length of the contour.

When complete, using a shovel to tidy up any lumps of soil which may have fallen over and onto the contour line.

You have now completed the top contour.

the next operation if you want the double contour is again spray your line, below the first mound.

Then all you have to do is to place your mulch, compost, manure or whatever, in a mound say not more than 200-300mm high on the low side of the contour line.

That's it.

Now the next question I hear you ask is "will this be big enough to cope with a big rainfall area?"

The answer to that is NO.

But it will cope with a sudden storm that drops 2".

The bigger your rainfall the bigger the mounds need to be.

A picture will always paint a thousand words, but I hope this helps.

There is more but let's see how that sits with everyone.
Last edited by duane on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Clem
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Post by Clem » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:30 pm

Duane,

Thanks for taking the time but I understand perfectly what a contour is and how contour lines are made. As I said in a previous post - there are a lot of definitions of a swale but the type I was referring to was the "On Contour" type with no slope or gradient ie. a contour ditch. I guess my reluctance to use the term Contour is because it is usually associated with Contour Drains.

I see the book has referred to them as Contour Channels - so that might be a better term to use.

The swale definition I was referring to and I think the one most people refer to when they talk about swales is here: http://permaculture-and-sanity.com/pcar ... swales.php

duane
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Post by duane » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:48 am

Clem

Thank you for that information.

There still remains some BIG differences between the permie water harvesting swale and the PA contour channel (thx again Clem).

Does anyone know what the DIFFERENCES are??? The differences are based on the functioning efficiencies of the Australian landscape, which PA has spoken of thru out his books.

We can all use this as a 'learning' exercise.....

duane
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Post by duane » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:09 am


Julene
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Post by Julene » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:05 am

[quote="duane"]

Next, to build the contour you have to follow this sprayed line with your excavator or bobcat and DIG into the ground RIGHT on the line and if your machine is downhill drag out the soil to a depth on no more than 300-500mm.

Do this all the way along the length of the contour line.

This is what is known at the CUT part of the operation.

Next is the FILL part of the operation.

This is where the excavated spoil is mounded up, being careful not to compact it so that it resembles the big mound on p190. Note it doesnt have to be a point as shown in the diagram.

Complete this along the entire length of the contour.

When complete, using a shovel to tidy up any lumps of soil which may have fallen over and onto the contour line.

You have now completed the top contour.

[quote]

Just to make sure I understand:

When you FILL, you will mound the soil on the UP HILL side of the line you have dug - is that right?

Julene

Clem
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Post by Clem » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:28 am

duane wrote:See also http://naturalsequencefarming.com/forum ... =2587#2587 for more info re contours
Once again Duane, thanks for that link. I hadn't read that topic before.
Last edited by Clem on Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duane
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Post by duane » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:58 am

Julene

No....you make the mound (fill) on the downward side of the line...I'll see if I can get a drawing uploaded.

KP
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Post by KP » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:13 pm

Hello Duane - I've had a bash at a crude drawing - can I send it (not sure how to post)

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