The Ranch

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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby CJ in VT » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:12 am

Did you try using a pick ax to loosen it up a bit? That's what I had to use.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby matt walker » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:15 am

Yep, what a bone ringing job that is, isn't it? I can do it, slowly, and probably will, but wow is it painful, and painfully slow. The good news CJ is I was thinking of your advice and I totally buried stuff, while singing Peter Tosh's big hit "Hugelize It", naturally.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:19 am

That is very interesting Matt. So you are already seeing a new micro climate being formed by just changing the slope and adding a swale. Sounds like a win, win to me. You are getting much needed added warmth as well as retaining water and adding a huglebeet all at the same time. That sounds like it is worth some digging during one or two growing seasons for a life time of improvement. Keep up the good work. I will be interested to hear what you decide to plant there and how you feel it does compaired to other areas of your property.

PS When you use a pick never lift it higher than your head, let the weight of the tool do the work. Those cartoons of guys swinging a pick from their back way over their head is just that, cartoon comedy. You don't have to beat yourself up to operate a pick. If you are hitting solid rock, let the pick hit it and let it stay for a sec befor picking it up again. It is the vibration that cracks the rock. Good luck.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby Lollykoko » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:39 am

Too bad I'm not close enough to loan you my backhoe for a few days, Matt.

Could a jack hammer be of any use in breaking up the rock? I rented one last summer while someone was working on the repair of my fence. The concrete pads at the uprights were wider than they were deep, and freeze level is 3 ft.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby matt walker » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:49 am

Thanks you two. Lolly, I wish you were closer as well!

It's not as bad as I'm making it out to be. I landscaped one summer in Park City, Ut. I know what you guys are talking about regarding "cracking the rock" and using a jackhammer. It's nothing like that, I'm just whining. It's sorta soft-ish sandy loam, with a bunch of 12lb rocks everywhere. I just ring off of them the whole time, shovel or pick. Like three good cuts with the shovel and then BANG. I agree Guy, I just need to allow some time, and it won't be that big of a job. I probably did 1/20th or some such in a couple hours, so I just need to slowly pick away at it. I'm busy with real work all of a sudden, but I'm excited to show you guys. The micro climate is really evident.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby George Collins » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:38 pm

Here's the results to date of the swales I put in a couple months ago.

Image

As this aspect of the yard is between our house and the road, and since the goal is to keep the Southern view unobstructed, the inferior aspect of the berms are to be planted without the canopy or low tree layer. In the distance is the southeast aspect of the forest garden and beyond that is the pine thicket.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:24 am

They seem to have made a very noticable difference in the grass George. The grass looks much higher, greener, and thicker below the swales. Holding the water and allowing it to seep into the soil slowly really does change things for the better. Water is life and the more of it the plants get the better off they are. Thanks for sharing the pictures, they give us a much better idea of how things are working.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby CJ in VT » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:08 am

Here's my 1st attempt at a swale last summer.
Image
6 inch swale by CJ in VT, on Flickr
Just 6" wide and I threw some dirt on hay bales. That subsoil never grew such lush grass! The run-off from the pigs didn't hurt either.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby Lollykoko » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:46 am

Impressive photo, George. I'll have to make sure my brother in law sees that the next time I'm up there. He's more agreeable to my ideas if he knows some man says they will work. :|

CJ, that reminds me of the diversion work we had to do last October. I hope our excavation and berm are as effective as yours seem to be.
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Re: The Ranch, and swales on a north facing slope

Postby eeldip » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:24 am

wait. that is hand dug?
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