Contour Ripping

After a crazily cold night, I felt like getting out into the garden and try to warm-up, but the market garden was much to wet to be able to do anything in without destroying the lovely soil structure. After the recent rains, the market garden has perfectly stored the water in our mini swales and the garden beds (mini-berms) are slowly soaking away. So what to do…

I had made a small a-frame level at work for my fellow permie to mark out an on contour path and stepping stones, so I thought I would make myself one also. Three pieces of  scrap timber, screwed together and a small pouch spirit level screwed on (instead of a plumb bob) and an a-frame level finished, ready for contour plotting. I did test the a-frame on a dead level straight edge and it was spot on! My maths didn’t let me down:-)

I took the a-frame to our “test” paddock. This paddock is heavily compacted and has been fairly well grazed throughout the last season and into this winter. We are resting this one and I thought I may as well mark out some contours and give it a rip. The a-frame worked perfectly and for something that cost about $10 to make, it did a pretty good job! Each point was marked with landscapers paint and then onto the tractor with the Fergie sub-soiler attached and off I went.

Once the contours were ripped, it was much easier to see the “lay of the land” as it were. Between contour rips there is a difference of about 250mm and I am confident that the lines are pretty close to dead level (+/- 10mm) as I tested the top rips with a minor flooding by pumping from the dam. The water spread across the rip mounds and then into the rip lines themselves. Perfect!

It will be interesting to see the difference this makes to the land and the pasture. I can report that the sub-soiler, which went down about 600mm deep, exposed a goodly number of worms which quickly wriggled their way back to safety! A good sign in my books:-)

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