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Terrace Farming

Discussion in 'Research' started by D. Gray Warrior, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I want fictional culture to practice terrace farming since they live in the mountains.
    I did some research and noticed that terrace farming is prevalent in warm climates. What I could not find is if terrace farming is possible in a temperate or arid climate.
  2. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Spontaneously, I'd say that yes, it's possible. I think the question is more about whether it's practical or not.
    My (limited) understanding is that terrace farming is mainly used for rice, growing in water beds. The terraces are needed to keep the water in place.
    With grains that don't require these water beds to grow, there's less need for horizontal growth areas as they can grow on slopes and hillsides.

    So what I'm thinking is that you'll need to come up with a good crop that needs waterbeds to grow and which is a better option than regular grains.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I saw terraced farms in southern Italy. Not exactly arid, but not tropical, either. Also saw it in Liguria (northern Italy on the coast).
    Noma Galway likes this.
  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    The Inca and others in Peru seem to have gone in for Terracing too.
    Agricultural history of Peru

  5. Alcatas

    Alcatas Acolyte

    In a similar vein, here's wiki's article on terrace farming in general:

    Terrace farming wiki

    Regarding more arid climates:

    "Terraced paddy fields are used widely in rice, wheat and barley farming in east, south, and southeast Asia, as well as other places. Drier-climate terrace farming is common throughout the Mediterranean Basin, e.g., in Cadaqués, Catalonia, where they were used for vineyards, olive trees, cork oak, etc., on Mallorca, or in Cinque Terre, Italy.

    In the South American Andes, farmers have used terraces, known as andenes, for over a thousand years to farm potatoes, maize, and other native crops. Terraced farming was developed by the Wari' and other peoples of the south-central Andes before 1000 AD, centuries before they were used by the Inca, who adopted them. The terraces were built to make the most efficient use of shallow soil and to enable irrigation of crops."
  6. Captain Loye

    Captain Loye Dreamer

    Hey, Incan's were totally using terrace farming technique up in the Andes, which is pretty cold!

    They had a really good knowledge of how different arrangements of terraces (eg, height, depth, slope, wind-breaking walls) could create microclimatic conditions. They used these to create conditions that were warmer and wetter than the surrounding mountains which had two advantages - firstly, they could grow endemic crops like potatoes for longer (because they could protect the plants from winter winds) and could experiment with crops that wouldn't otherwise survive at that altitude (take this with a grain of salt, but there are reports Incans were growing rainforest plants like tomatoes and avocados up in the Andes using terraces).

    The Incans also used terrace farming as part of plant breeding programs, by creating terraces with different microclimates, and then testing different cross-bred varieties of their favourite plants and new plants coming in from trade.

    So, tl;dr - yes, terrace farming has been used in temperate conditions, and would be suitable for arid conditions too, as they can be used to alter the local environment to suit the crops you want.
  7. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate Sage

    Swiss wine is frequently grown terraced up mountain sides, which makes vendanger - picking the grapes - quite complicated. Not to mention weeding, fertilising and pruning the vines - possibly explaining why the wine is so expensive. I've personally helped press 'vin des glaciers', which is terraced up to the tree line, ie. not just temperate but edges of severely cold.
  8. AliceS

    AliceS Acolyte

    I've done a little terracing in my steep back yard. It's a lot of work to set up, but once it's there, you're set. I live in zone 6, so not tropical. It's just a matter of getting flat land out of steep land. More a grower's need than climate requirement.

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