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swale specifics

 
P Thickens
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Thank you, Mr. Lawton, for taking the time to answer all our questions.

Swales are essential, and I was wondering... how little can you get away with? Does the swale have to be X cm for it to work? Does total rainfall equate to swale depth or just max dump volume per large storm, mitigated by soil type?

What about dropping rocks in an on-contour row, to create a bermed swale with the help of detritus from runoff -- would that work? What about swales or stumps inside a the bermed swale to assist with permanence?

Mulching a swale helps reduce evaporation, but is that assistance offset by the swale filling in with OM and needing to be re-dug (ug!)? What's the best way to dig out a swale? How does one deal with swales on a slope, where the ends of the swale are dictated by others' property?
 
Greg Harvey
Posts: 28
Location: Columbia, Missouri
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I'd like to chime in too. Are hugelkultur swales significantly better?
Which plants would get more moisture, three feet uphill from the swale or three feet downhill? I don't imagine planting a tree right in the swale would make good sense.

Greg Harvey

 
Darren Collins
Posts: 34
Location: Jamberoo, NSW, Australia
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This guide goes a long way towards answering many of your questions:

http://permaculture.org.au/2010/12/15/a-guide-to-back-flood-swales/

It has really good diagrams, explains calculations on swale spacing and cross-section, how to dig, how to design overflows, etc.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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