May 24, 2023

Erosion - noun

Definition: In agriculture, this process refers to the wearing away of a field’s topsoil by the natural physical forces of water and wind or forces associated with farming activities such as tillage or livestock hooves.

Erosion in the Forest Garden:

Topsoil in a Forest Garden is a critical component in maximizing and optimizing the productivity of a parcel of land. The more stable and fertile the topsoil, the healthier and more vigorous the growth of the Forest Garden plants. Forest Garden farmers adopt a variety of techniques to prevent topsoil erosion.

The faster water flows over unprotected soil, the more soil erosion there will be. To slow, stop, spread, and sink water into the Forest Garden, farmers with sloped land can plant vegetative barriers through contour planting. Falling raindrops can also disturb the topsoil. So farmers can plant soil-protecting crops, grasses, and trees to cover the topsoil with vegetation. Not only do these techniques minimize soil displacement resulting from moving water and wind, but they also improve the soil's ability to absorb and retain water. 

To prevent harmful winds from carrying away topsoil, Forest Gardeners rely on their living fence to act as a windbreak. Rather than allowing winds to circulate through the site, windbreaks slow and divert winds upward. Planting alleys to segment the site can prevent winds from causing damage further in the field should they clear the windbreak.