Your sure going to have a variety of methods at work.
I noticed that your beds were really long, One bed 100' and the other 80'.
I can tell you for ease of getting around in your garden its better to keep the beds 40 or 50' long like mentioned in Scotts book,(Hankins suggested 50').
If your half way up one bed and want to check out someting on the otherside its along walk.
I have found over the years, especially now that I have over 50 beds now and the longest bed is 40', is that I find myself weaving around my beds quite often. And its easy to move around my garden because the beds are shorter(18'-40'long). Also for disease purposes.
You could put a pathway across, halfway down each of your beds, so you can get to the other side. I think you would find traveling in your garden more pleasurable this way, especially with those steep hills you have.
I think scotts way of 40' is good but I actually think even shorter beds are better.
Just noticed somthing in Scotts book this morning that might be of interest to you.
\"For smaller sections (hopefully close to 20' long), weigh out a few bags with only one ounce of seeds in them. My experience has been that germination is not quite as good on steep slopes, so I now weigh out a heavy two ounces when I am seeding such sections.\"
From the pictures of your plantings it looks like your slopes are pretty steep, but pictures can be deceiving. If they are steep you may want to plant your next beds a little heavier.
I have read through Scotts book so many times and it's amazing how many times I pick it up again and find someting new, that I don't remember reading before.
I can't overemphasize how helpful this thread has been. The seeds I ordered should be delivered today, so I have scheduled a lot of time to get some in the ground. The only bad thing is my back and hamstrings are killing me today. We had some wicked wind yesterday, and as a result, I ended up picking up limbs and sticks for six hours. Those stupid soft maple trees drop limbs when they FORECAST bad weather.
Next fall I may just dig up a few of those to make a break in the beds at about 1/2 way point and transplant a few small roots to another area, or may be able to fill in some where the plants are thin. I can do just enough to make a walk way thru, something like 2-3' wide.
Those beds are located on the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of a fairly long north/north-east facing hillside. I found some wild seng growing on that same hillside a bit higher than the top end of those beds.
In the lower half of those beds the soil turns a bit more rocky/sandy and I expect the plants will do best in that lower half. Will just have to wait and see for a few years to find that out for sure.
Question for you - when I was working up that bed yesterday, I first raked the leaves over to the side clearing a 4' wide strip, then went back over with my garden rake and raked as much of that loose leaf compost & some loose dirt over to the other side of the bed.
Then I scratched the rest up good using the garden weasel and garden rake. I found that the garden rake seemed to work just as well (could be because the soil we nice a loose, because of the good rains recently). I used the garden weasel some but even with the handle fully extended it is quite a bit shorter than my long handle garden rake.
That shorter handle makes you bend over more, and can't reach out as far, and soon starts working on your back.
I eventually just put the garden weasel down and only used the rake and it seemed to do a good enough job.
It was still by far the most difficult part of the job, raking that soil top up to get it loose and fluffy.
But now compared to the Hankins method where you did the furrows, this one was a piece of cake !
I am still thinking about finding a better tool (and not excluding something like a gas powered mantis tiller) to get that soil worked up a bit without working yourself out quite so much.
If I was 20 years younger probably would not be thinking like that but the older you get the more you can sure appreciate a tool that gets the job done and spares the old back some aching.
I will keep looking around on that and see what I can find. I will have plenty of cash here soon (when ever we sell our seng) and may just buy a small tiller, something I can use in my garden, but could also use in the woods a bit for chewing up that top 1-2\" of the soil.
We do have some steep hillsides around here but I would not call this location steep.
Those two beds vary between 10 & 30 degree sloap (my best guess, just by looking at them).
When I look at those nice pics you have shown of your planting areas it looks like flat land to me. I wonder if the drainage will be good enough so you don't have root rot problems. You probably have more sloap in your areas than it looks like in the pics.
When Billy looks at my bed pictures he is probably thinking flat land because he is used to walking those steep moutain side hillsides.
I guess everyones definition of steep could be alittle different based on what they are used to seeing & walking on.
My hillsides look very much the same as those pics in Scotts book where he shows the pics of them raking down a strip, planting seeds, then raking down another strip. The sloap is about the same in these two beds as what he is showing in those pictures.
I will see how these two beds work out next spring and adjust the seeding rate accordingly. And if I do plant any steeper places will tweak the seeding rate on up to around 1 seed every 4\". I tried to do 1 ever 6\" in this planting.
Here is the cultivator I use. Its the Hound Dog by Ames. Its more Heavy duty than the other brands I've seen. It has an Adjustable handle that extends out to 55\". It works great for my height, but I'm only 5'5\" tall.
I was looking at the pictures of the hand cultivtor that you have. And I was wondering, do the three shafts that come out from the end of the handle, do they come streight out or do they come out at an angle? The reason I ask is because on mine, if I use it with the three shafts horizontal, It tears up the ground quite easily. If I flip it over, it does very little to the soil.
With mine I could till the soil easily with with one hand, just the weight of cultivator pushing down on the soil.