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Water wise land shaping and rain harvesting

  • Visual presentation covering key concepts and strategies
  • Tour the numerous swales and water catchment systems and learn how they intercept, redirect and retain water in the landscape
  • Witness how swales and raised beds can be deployed in a food forest setting and how they benefit chickens, ducks and pigs
  • Discuss and demonstrate various tools and techniques
  • Utilising grey water and run-off
  • Mark out a contour line ready for swale construction

Suitable for 1 - 5 people. $5 for each additional person.
1 and a half hours  swale  water  education  $60.00
Freshly created swale

Freshly created swale

Details  It's never too late to add another swale, it's just a matter of squeezing it in amongst the existing plantings, fences and other obstacles.
The swales not only do a fantastic job of capturing and infiltrating surface runoff during rainy times but also break up the land in interesting and attractive ways.
Date  December 03, 2014Tags    Swale  Food forest  Water 
Log Swale / Hugelkultur

Log Swale / Hugelkultur

There is a theory that burying rotting logs can improve the water retention and that plants growing above can tap into that water trapped in the rotting 'sponge' of wood.

Since we had the digger on site I figured we should give it a go - stay tuned for results on this
October 12, 2011  Water  Drought  Digger  Swale 
The top swale

The top swale

Finally, after discovering and experimenting with swales for some time, I have rerouted the rainwater from the house roof to a newly created TOP SWALE. The new excavations run in a fairly straight line through the orchard and overflow into the recently reconfigured garden swales.January 18, 2013  rain  water  swale 
The way of the swale

The way of the swale

A swale is a permaculture technique designed to improve water catchment and retention on slopes. Applicable to varying scales, a swale is basically a ditch or terrace created along a contour line with the removed soil piled on the downhill side. As rainwater drains down the slope above is is caught and absorbed by the swale. Plantings made along the swale will have access to additional moisture for extended period.

My first attempt at a small swale follows the contour line on a northwest facing slope below an existing track. Because of the small size I was able to dig this by hand over 2 periods, using an A-frame level. Over the course of the next few months we will be scattering the kitchen scraps along the length for the chooks to work over, adding their manure and nutrients from the kitchen. Finally it will be planted up in a variety of different plants from ground covers, bulbs and shrubs to fruit and firewood trees.
June 12, 2011  swale  earthworks  rain water 
Building water catchment swales with a tractor

Building water catchment swales with a tractor

For those with a tractor, plough and simple drag blade, making large scale swales does not necessarily require employing contractors with heavy earth moving equipment. For the cost of the fuel and your time you can quickly add these simple water harvesting and infiltration systems to your land.  swale  tractor  water 
Water for everyone

Water for everyone

Water is the essence of life and as such we need to be thinking about how to make best use of what we have. The most important work we do is to implement solutions for capturing, storing, diverting and infiltrating rainwater and runoff. This helps build soil, nourish crops, prevent erosion, minimise drought and reduce or eliminate irrigation needs.
Learn about the art of land shaping for natural rainfall catchment, a practical guide to water harvesting and management.
Make the most of the water available, direct surplus water away from wet areas towards dry areas.
Use swales and terraces to halt the flow of water and nutrient off the land and allow it infiltrate and hydrate the soil.
August 21, 2014  water  swale  contour 
Raised woody swale / hugelkultur construction

Raised woody swale / hugelkultur construction

Details  We used the opportunity of having a small excavator on site recently to construct 5 wood filed raised growing mounds on contour.
This technique is often called hugelkultur and exploits the ability of rotten wood to absorb and hold amazing quantities of water which is later made available to plants growing nearby.
The end result was 5 mounds about 7 meters long and half a meter high, each packed with a full trailer load of rotten willow logs and a wheel barrow of pig manure.
An assortment of fruit trees and berry shrubs has been planted along side in various locations to capitalise on the moisture, slow release of minerals and micro-climate effects of wind, shelter, sun and shade.
Date  July 25, 2014Tags    swale  digger  water  hugelkultur