the terrace heights subdivision
~ by Gianni on our previous farm
Last fall we began working to transform a hillside cow pasture, over run with sumac and ragweed, into a system of terraced planting spaces that utilizes the rain water that had been rutting out our road to irrigate the field. Nick named Terrace Heights; the system currently includes 2 swales, a collection pool and 4 terraces.
By using an A Frame Level we were able to find the level contour of our hillside and create obstacles and detours in the right places to direct and slow the flow of run off water. The system is not yet perfected and it gets tweaked a little each time we get a hard rain, 1st by nature and then by me. We are collaborating with nature to get the most use and least damage out of the many flash floods that occur here each year.
The tin roofing in the photos was used during construction to mark where the terraces would go and have simply not been removed yet. The portable electric fence lines are being used as trellis's.
Terrace Heights resides above the frost line; we have hope that this will extend the season a little and have placed many fruit tree starts in the area to possibly avoid the late spring blossom killing frost that takes a lot of fruit from our lower fruit trees.
This remote experimental plot has historically been a haven for deer who had enjoyed disappearing amongst the sumacs. Prior to bush hogging, the sumacs were so thick that a deer could be 20ft away and not be seen (until startled by a nosy dog). After analyzing several lists of deer "resistant" garden foods and assessing our own experience with what the deer around here will eat; we planted a variety of deer's most hated foods and herbs in this area. With the exceptions of the Scarlett Runner Beans and the Fruit Tree starts the list below may help you plan your deer free garden space.
Currently growing in Terrace Heights are:
Red Russian Kale, Musselburgh Leeks, Blue Solaise Leeks, Detroit Red Beets, Swiss Chard, Romanesco, Black Tuscan Kale, Blue Scotch Kale, Green Onions, Onions, Scallions, Dill, Ashwagandha, Cleome, Joe Pie, Cilantro, Mahogany Nasturtium, Creeping Canary, Chicory, Jalapenos, Pasilla's, Trailing Nasturtium, Scarlet Runners, Hulless Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Long Purple Eggplant, Lungo Bianco, Cucumbers, Genovese Basil, Lavender, Mugwort, Spilanthes, Milk Thistle, Wild Dagga, Thyme, St. John's Wort, Lamb's Quarters, Parcel, Blackberries and about 50 1st year fruit trees.