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Bamboo Replanting at Wübu, Livingston, Guatemala

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On the “Dry Hills,” an estimated three quarters of the 400 bamboo planted there in recent years died. Poor management may have contributed to the losses (infrequent weeding, and weeding practices that exposed bare soil to erosive rainfall and drying heat), but the harsh conditions also contributed.

Witherspoon Retreat, Cleveland, South Carolina

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The Witherspoon Retreat is a 3.8 acre property nestled upon Cedar Mountain on one of the first mountains ranges of the Appalachians and one of the only mountains in South Carolina.


The property lies on a moderate to steep slope with natural spring emerging from the ground on either property border.  The northern half of the property is forested, and a home is built on a terrace a third of the way up the property.  The house receives its water from a RAM pump that uses no electricity, and moves water from the western most spring to the faucets in the house. 

The back yard has a moderate slope.

The front yard has a very steep slope that causes problems with erosion.  
The plan is to use the RAM pumps to move water from the spring into a system of berms built on contour.  The water will slowly move downhill throughout the property settling in a series of aquaculture ponds, a bathing pool, livestock troughs, and animal ponds.

Berms along the tree line constructed from soil excavated fro…

Wübu, Livingston, Guatemala

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See more on this project at Wübu Agroforestry

Greenville, South Carolina, USA

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Hugelkultur Berms and Swales at Thrive Upstate Thomas Leonard and Carlos Terry built a system of berms and swales on contour at The Generous Garden Project at Thrive Upstate in Greenville, SC.  The system provided water harvesting ditches to reduce erosion by slowing the downhill flow of water and trapping organic matter. In addition the swales hold water allowing it to percolate into the ground.  This additional ground water provided superior plant growth of shade tolerant annuals, small perennials and fruit trees.
The system was build in a couple of hours by a team of two to three people.  The team used an A frame to mark the contour lines with fallen logs and branches collected from the adjacent forest.  Then they used an excavator to dig a ditch up hill from the marked contour lines.  This depression resulted in the swale.  The removed soil was pulled down hill to cover the wood and form a berm.

The elevated berms were planted in a poly culture of different crops.  Perennials such…

Minca, Colombia

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Terraces on Contour at CENIT Arte-Natura Total length: 24m (79ft)
In April of 2017, Sean Dixon-Sullivan built two terraces and a banana circle at CENIT Arte-Natura* in Minca, Colombia.  There were several objectives to this contour system: Erosion control - to catch any soil eroding from the construction site on the hill above.Food production - to provide healthy, organic food to the kitchen and to offset food costs.Education - to serve as a demonstration to locals and a subject for permaculture workshops, of which there have been three to date (August 2018).

Construction took two days with one person.  On the third day the terraces and banana circle were planted with students from CENIT's first workshop.  The process, pictured below, is as follows: First, Sean marked a level line across the hill using an A-level.  Then at each marker he excavated a hole using a post-hole digger and inserted stakes of Glericidia sepium (i.e. matarraton, madre de cacao, madera nerga), which resprout t…