It’s nice to have flat land – but what about when you don’t? And you don’t have the cash to hire a backhoe to terrace it?
@allnaturalhomesteaders comments on YT:
“Dude I’ve been watching you for a hot min now, a few years. I just purchased a new property, your videos were perfect for my old property, but now I own a piece of the Appalachian mountains, and I have a huge mountain for a yard, meaning boulders, and a huge hill for a yard with a stream at the bottom, how would you garden this? We’ve thought about terracing it , like the Chinese do their gardens. But there’s Soo many boulders and it would probably take heavy equipment, something I can’t afford, so suggestions?? I have videos of my property on my page, I’m new to YouTube, as far as making videos, don’t judge me, 😂 but please let me know what to do with my mountain yard, I’m broke and want it to be ready to plant by spring. But I also want to be able to walk on it. Help!!!”
One of the main themes Smith covers in Tree Crops is the danger of farming corn on slopes. If you till any ground with a slope, you risk losing most or all of your topsoil when it rains.
Once it’s gone, it’s very, very hard to rebuild.
Usually, sloping ground is covered with perennial plants and trees that hold it together with their roots. Otherwise, you end up with bare rock or highly eroded subsoil.
My recommendation is to concentrate on trees and perennials anywhere there is a slope of 15% or more.
You might also use natural vegetative strips to gradually terrace portions of the land.
I would also hunt your land for already existing plants and fungi that may be useful, such as persimmon, ginseng, chanterelles, wild blueberries, blackberries, etc.
You can mix in some annual beds by stacking logs or making beds with whatever you have. Just prop it up well and get growing.
On sloping areas without beds, I would plant pears, chestnuts, plums, apples, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, persimmons, mulberries and other good trees, along with perennials like Jerusalem artichokes, raspberries, blueberries, Siberian pea shrub, goumi berries, Autumn olive, Chinese yam, Good King Henry, perennial kale, etc.
And also – don’t forget animals. Chickens, ducks and pigs are all pretty easy to raise.
Make good paths, then garden where you can and how you can, concentrating on keeping permanent roots in place and avoiding tillage.
It’s a fun journey. Congratulations on the new land!