Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Earthworks - Swales

The sun shines. The water evaporates. The gas condenses. The droplets fall. The water runs downhill as it gathers. This process happens whether we want it to or not. We can try to lessen the damage from this OR we can use it to our advantage. We chose to make it an asset.


We began to dig so we could slow down the movement of water. The swales, or ditches on contour, that we created will stop the water and help it accumulate and soak the ground around out plants. If it rains hard enough, it will fill the swales and continue flowing downhill and fill another swale. This repeats until the water, if there is enough, flows down into the pond like it would have without the swales.

This feature in our food forest helps us to lessen the need for water and also creates a small habitat for moisture-loving organisms. Later we filled these swales with old pine branches so that the water would be able to soak the branches and keep that area moist. In time, those branches will break down and turn into moist soil that abounds with fungal, bacterial, and plant life. 

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