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swales, orchad and vegetable garden

 
Posts: 13
Location: Italy
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So, here we are again! since the last visit no rain at all...ok, desert are comin'

just joking...hope...

i would ask to you an opinion about my idea:
i've got a piece of land where actualy i have a "standard" vegetable garden and three fig three:



my idea is to remove the vegetable garden, start three swales from the fig threes (they are 16 meters of distance among them) install a little orchad with small plants and make the vegetable garden among the swales, using a lot of mulch in order to control weeds.

question: it is possible to make swales that can been "walkable"? ...i have child, i can't leave holes in my land... i saw this: swales and rotten wood , does anybody have some experience with this?

and: i need water but i need also sun in order to grow vegetable, i have to use small kind of plants for the orchad...maybe some apples and then some blackberry?

thanks to all!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11272
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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Here's an article I was just reading about using swales as garden paths and how well they work: http://milkwood.net/2011/11/22/a-way-through-the-woods-designing-the-paths-in-our-forest-garden/
 
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
3
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I'm designing walkable swales for my front yard orchard to capture grey water and rain water. I'm planning on digging 'french drains', or holes filled with gravel, topped with a few feet of wood chips. It'll give me some water storage capacity under my walkways. Just a design idea, but I've been musing on it for several months and I'm going to run with the idea.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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Tyler that was a great article..even though our property is on the flat I did find it very interesting.
 
Federico Carocci
Posts: 13
Location: Italy
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's an article I was just reading about using swales as garden paths and how well they work: http://milkwood.net/2011/11/22/a-way-through-the-woods-designing-the-paths-in-our-forest-garden/



yeah, this is exactly what i mean!
now some picture of the actual situation, i make three swales starting from the fig plants...make them with the plow and refine with showel:




next step: plant walnut, fig tree and other high plant above the swales, sow white clover, mint and strawberries ON THE SWALES, BELOW the swales plant apple and pears and other...

what do you think?
 
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
57
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If I'm understanding correctly what you're proposing then it is the opposite of what we do. We create terraces by fencing primarily along the contours of the land with a little slope down the terrace. The animals, winter, frost and rain gradually push the soil to the down hill fences which is how the terraces form. This allows the water from rains to soak into our land better which fills our water tables and it stops the top soil from washing down into the valley. It's a slow process compared with using big machinery but works great over large areas. I've also created some terraces with big iron (bulldozer, trackhoe & tractor). A faster method but more expensive and it mixes up the soil more. Both have their place and time.

See:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+terracing

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
 
Federico Carocci
Posts: 13
Location: Italy
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Walter Jeffries wrote:If I'm understanding correctly what you're proposing then it is the opposite of what we do.



uhmmmm
i think that my english is very very BAD!

i'm doing swales in order to catch and store water, i will fill the swales with hay and wood chips (if i find it)
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Federico Carocci wrote:

Walter Jeffries wrote:If I'm understanding correctly what you're proposing then it is the opposite of what we do.

uhmmmm i think that my english is very very BAD! i'm doing swales in order to catch and store water, i will fill the swales with hay and wood chips (if i find it)



By "opposite" I meant was that instead of digging a ditch as pictured we're building a terrace. Both a swale and a terrace will catch the water. The advantage of the terrace is it is a large flatter area. Since we're on steep hills and mountains it is nice to gain 'flat' ground.
 
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