Well, I am a newbie of the first order, but gaining soooo much info here. Thanks, Paul. I am trying like heck to transform our little parcel of land, at 8200 feet elevation in a dry Ponderosa forest, zone 5. I have just sheet mulched a large new garden area, and hoping it will digest over winter and be plantable in the spring. My question is about how to direct some water run off to this garden area. It sits at the bottom of a slight slope, which happens to be our driveway (gravel-dirt). In the monsoon season, there is a tremendous amount of run off that digs channels in the drive and naturally runs to one corner of the new garden area. . I'd sure like to use this water to full advantage. Should I use these channels and even enlarge them, or build a swale in front of the garden area? Because this is our driveway, I am limited in what I can do on the slope, because we do have to drive over it! The garden area itself is fairly level.
And another question I have regards hugelkultur beds. Is it more important to build them in appropriate relation to the slope of the land, or try to situate them so you can have a north and south slope?
you should be building pits to fill with wood, to store water, not hills.
there have been some folks building swales filled with branches that are having good luck as water and nutrient storage, and they can direct water to appropriate pits.
to really work best dig in and bury wood, then mulch over the top of them. if you leave em below grade, they will trap small rains too.
The hegelculture (hill) was for deep, wet, forest. They gave a place to stack downed wood, and to give dry roots, and water storage from winter.
In deserts , you need to trap water below grade, so it doesn't dry out as fast.
go ahead and build swales across the hills, and even better, dig a trench, mound downhil, fill with wood, and repack over the wood.
Next year you can plant in the trench, or the hill
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