How “Keyline Design” Saves Our Soil


Click here to see this article which was originally posted by Shane Hardy on

Our new South field is wrapped around slopes and ridges where plowing nice straight rows can lead to erosion and soil loss in a heavy rain. To solve this problem we used a system called “keyline design” to plot our furrows so each one remains level.

Although our wee little plants are still rather small, visit this dosage I post this picture to show how this new system is working.  The large quantity of rainfall we had Tuesday evening through this morning would normally have caused water to go coursing down the pathways of our raised beds, medications see taking some of our precious topsoil with it.  As you can see in the pathways shown in the photo, water is held along the entire length of the pathways, meaning it will soak deeply into our soil for future use by the plants, and the nutrients and soil will be retained where they are in the field, rather that racing away into the nearest stream.  How exciting when things actually work out like you planned!  Thanks again to Ethan Roland at Appleseed Permaculture for helping us lay this out.

Read Shane’s post about Ethan Roland’s visit and more about keyline design at Cropsey Community Farm.