Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media
pacedge at magna.com.au
Fri Aug 17 02:20:11 EDT 2001
> From: kahless at waymark.net
> Subject: Re: portable A-frame
>I made a folding A-frame fro laying out contour plantings or contour ditches
> How does one use such a device for swales? I thought all I
> needed was a shovel (?)
The A-frame is used to locate the contour along which the swale will be
1) Clear the slope of long grass if it would hinder progress (this is not
always necessary - depends on how thick the stuff growing on the hill is).
2) Locate your starting point then plot the contour using the A-frame; try a
team of three for this - one to manipulate the A-frame, one following to
hammer in pegs marking the contour, a third to carry the spare pegs; the
pegs are made from any suitable stick found locally
3) With the contour pegged out, you can start the delightful task of
The A-frame is not a universally applicable device. The projects I work with
in the Solomon Islands (Kastom Gaden) tried the device but found only
limited interest among subsistence farmers.
Some of them did use cross-slope planting (something the projects encourages
because very steep slopes are cleared and cultivated in some locations) in
their slash and burn bush gardens but they simply planted by eye across the
slope rather than plot the contour.
Perhaps its use is more readily accepted among farmers with a history of
I agree that Rock and Naoli's idea of using " a rock or heavy object on the
other end, and hang down (like a plumb line)" is a simpler method than mine
of using a small spirit level. A lump of coral would do nicely.
The reason I mentioned the spirit level was that that is how I made a
permanent A-frame for use in out permacultulture design courses in Sydney so
I did not have to recreate it every time although we did make them in the
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