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March 13th, 2019
Definition: A method or technique of planting vegetation (annual or perennial crops) on sloped land to reduce erosion and increase water retention and groundwater supply. To conserve water and reduce soil erosion, rows of vegetation must be planted from side to side, perpendicular to the slope and at an even elevation.
In the Forest Garden: It is extremely important for farmers to use contour planting whenever they are working on sloped lands. If a farmer plants their rows in the direction of the slope (top to bottom), as opposed to perpendicularly, heavy rains will flow unimpeded down the slope, displacing essential topsoil, water, and seeds.
Farmers also see the benefits of contour planting when it comes to labor. By planting the rows from side to side on the slope, rather than top to bottom, farmers are able to work more efficiently, significantly reducing the amount of effort/work needed for watering, planting, weeding and more.