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Swale berm planting suggestions

 
Dan Grubbs
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If you look at the swale/berm I cut yesterday on our farm, you'll see about a 300-foot swale that is about 18 inches deep, four feet wide and a burm of about two feet in height. Today I covered the berm with a thick coat of hay to keep the rain from washing it away before I get things planted on it. So, obviously, I'm asking for planting suggestions. I will be ordering a variety of nut trees to plant, too.

I want both food and soil regeneration on our farm. On either side of the swale/berm is pasture and open for most anything, but likely will grow various forage for our goats next year. We live in Northwest Missouri in the upper part of hardiness Zone 6a. What would you all suggest?

 
Dan Grubbs
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Here are the photos.
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Dan Grubbs
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bumping up ... looking for suggestions
 
Jay Hayes
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Those look great man. I have no good suggestions on the plants, but wanted to say thanks for the post. I have very similar equipment in a very similar location and have been wondering if it would work for swales. the answer is clearly yes. Would you mind continuing to post as you proceed with plantings? I am also very interested in seeing how your swales fill and drain in that nice looking soil.

My spot is near Moberly, Mo. How far North and West are you?

Have you ever checked out the Missouri Department of Conservation nursery options? http://extra.mdc.mo.gov/cgi-bin/mdcdevpub/apps/seedlings/search.cgi?record=all

The ordering starts next week and they have a good number of native fruit and nut trees available. I have been ordering a few hundred a year from them and am pleased with the price and quality of the seedlings.

Do you plan on keeping the area between the swales as hay ground? Are you wanting the swales to be planted in trees, or shrubs that won't throw as much shade?

How far apart did you place your swales? What is the approximate slope?

Thanks again for the posts.

J
 
Miles Flansburg
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Legumes, radishes, turnups, potatoes, almost anything really just to get the polyculture going.

What is your plan? just water catchment? Trees?
 
Dan Grubbs
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Jay:
Good to hear from you. I'm just north of Kansas City (Holt) and I would be happy to talk to you if you would like to get more details about how I did the swale and berm. I certainly know about the MDC's reforrestation program and that is exactly where I buy my trees for my orchard and where I will buy my trees come Nov. 1 when the catalog is ready. Send me a PM with your phone, email and address and we can chat. I actually live in Liberty and will move once we build our house on the Holt farm.

Jay and Miles:
My plan is to order some fruit and nut trees from my state nursury and plan them along with some berry bushes, comfrey, and some nitrogen fixers along the berm. I'm filling the swale with biomass (cut branches and loose hay) to let it decompose and be carried by the water. I think I like the idea of even more polyculture on the berms to use the berm as diverse edges of the spaces between the swales. My hope is to grow forage crops between the swales that will be harvestable for goat feed. I plan on raising meat goats and would like to use part of these spaces to grow most of their food besides the rotated paddocks they'll be in so I don't have to buy feed. I should probably spend the 2014 growing season just in soil replenishment crops between the swales because the pasture has had hay taken from it for years and nothing has been given back to the soil in all that time. Eventually, I'd like to possibly join the three swales and have it fill into a pond as an overflow. That's something a few years down the road, however.

The approximate slope is about 40 feet in drop in a run of about 900 feet. That's a very rough estimate. Currently two swales spaced about 200 feet apart. My desire is to cut another one in the spring that is right in the middle between the two. I think the placement is born more of the way the land lays and its features than any other logic. I could be all wet, however. The uphill swale is about 250 feet long and the downhill swale is about 225 feet long. These are estimates; I haven't measured them. I'm following more of a gut feeling about this than any scientific method. Again, I could be way wrong and end uplearning from my mistakes.

I'm always willing to listen to suggestions and critique. It's how I'll learn.

Dan
 
Leila Rich
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I know very little about this stuff, especially in your foreign climate
I googled 'nitrogen fixing trees' and surprise surprise, a permies thread popped up!
Looks to have some good links.
Ooh hickory! Pecans...not exactly a small tree...
American pawpaw apparently grows down your way?
Randomly found 'Wild Edibles of Missouri' in PDF. Looks quite cool.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Dan, it sounds like you have a solid plan. Keep us up to date on your progress!
 
Dan Grubbs
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We had our first moderate rain since we built the swales. My wife and I ran out to the place after work yesterday and snapped this photo. Being a noobie permie, I am assuming this is doing what is supposed to do. This is one stretch of the swale where I don't have any biomass in the swale, but will be filling that up with some goodies this weekend. We have some small trees and limbs to cut off, so I can put the boughs in the swale and I still have some hay I can include in there, too.
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Miles Flansburg
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Nice. that water is soaking in and will move downhill from there, underground, adding water to more than just the swale area.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Dan Grubbs
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Thanks for the reassurance and the reference to the podcast, Miles. I wish I had all my trees to plant right away, but I don't. I'll have to be patient and simply keep things mulched until I have them ready to plant.
 
Dan Grubbs
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I just ordered trees and shrubs for my swales. Here's the short list. I do plan on ordering other things, including comfrey, but this is what I'm starting with tonight.

10 Pecan trees
10 Persimmon
10 Hazelnut trees
10 False Indigo
10 Elderberry
10 Pawpaw trees

I live in an awesome state with a reforrestation program of native trees and this order cost me $55.00 delivered to my door. Is that awesome, or what?

More updates to come.

Dan
 
Miles Flansburg
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Awesome ! Keep us up dated.
 
R Hasting
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Awesome Dan! Looks great. I like your tree selection too.

Plant them in such a way that there are no two trees of the same type in close proximity.

In addition, for each tree you have there, you should plant an alder and a locust in proximity for the nitrogen fixing. They would do great for you there.
They will act as support trees, and in a few years, you will be cutting them back for firewood, mulch, chop-and-drop, and it will give you a serious soil improvement.

I would add one more fruit tree to the list. I would add mulberry. Perhaps the Illinois Everbearing might be considered. It will produce mounds of fruit for three months in the summer.
An awesome food for people and animals.

I would add a handful off apples as well, which will do great in your climate.Spread them apart to avoid the pest problems, and when they get taller, for fungus and blight control, trim the branches to above the splash zone, at least 4 feet.

Your swale looks awesome! Any recent pics with the rain you have had recently?

Richard


 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Those are some sexy lookin' swales!

Richard had some really good suggestions.

Also, as geoff lawton repeated tried to beat into our brains - "swales are tree growing systems" - so it looks like you're headed in the right direction.

Additionally:
--native support species, preferably native legumes to your area (many of which goats love) should be grown on the uphill side of the swale to stabilize the back cut.
--food trees should be grown on the berm side to stabilize the berm and benefit from the additional water
--Geoff not only plants trees on the berm but a variety of shrub and herb layer legumes as well which he seeds thickly, all together. These also help feed the fruit/nut trees.
--chop and drop the support species into the swale as well as around the trees. Goats will naturally browse any trees hanging over fences, etc.

Keep the pics coming - looks great!
 
R Scott
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Really nice job. You are making me want a plow.

Kansas forests does bare root trees in the spring: http://www.kansasforests.org/programs/conservationtrees/conservationtrees.shtml

I think Missouri does something similar, but I don't have the link. KS will ship anywhere and are correct climate for you. Sales start in December for spring delivery, you want to be higher on the list in case they don't have enough sprouts available--first come, first served.

 
Akiva Silver
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I think that swale is really beautiful. I recently bought a one bottom plow for making swales, and it is so nice to see what can be done.
I have a small nursery here in upstate NY. If you're interested, I sell comfrey root cuttings for $1 each, if you want over 100 I can cut the price to 50 cents a piece.
Thanks for your post
Akiva
 
Wi Tim
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Dan Grubbs wrote:I just ordered trees and shrubs for my swales. Here's the short list. I do plan on ordering other things, including comfrey, but this is what I'm starting with tonight.

10 Pecan trees
10 Persimmon
10 Hazelnut trees
10 False Indigo
10 Elderberry
10 Pawpaw trees

I live in an awesome state with a reforrestation program of native trees and this order cost me $55.00 delivered to my door. Is that awesome, or what?

More updates to come.

Dan


I think I would include some traditional fruits as well - apples, pears, cherries. And as far as I know, hazelnuts prefer to have some shade.
 
Dan Grubbs
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Thanks all for the advice and recommendations. I'm pleased so far and am anxious to get the trees planted.

Wi Tim - I have apple trees and crab apple trees on the property already, not close, however. I want to plan some pears, but I'll have to save up a few dollars to buy them. Cherry would also be a nice addition. I'll explore varieties soon.

Akiva - the plow will work, but you have to switch back and forth between the moldboard plow and a drag blade to more the earth over so you can dig deeper with the plow again. It's a tedius process, but far cheeper than renting earthmoving machinery.

R Scott - I already ordered mine from the Missouri nursury, so I'm good to go for now. They are all indigenous trees from Missouri. Thanks for the link to Kansas program. I'll check it out next.

Jennifer - Thanks for the outline of Geoff's advice and your planting recommendations.

I'm having a blast and am so looking forward to spring and it's only November!!

Dan
 
R Hasting
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Dan Grubbs wrote:Thanks all for the advice and recommendations. I'm pleased so far and am anxious to get the trees planted.

Wi Tim - I have apple trees and crab apple trees on the property already, not close, however. I want to plan some pears, but I'll have to save up a few dollars to buy them. Cherry would also be a nice addition. I'll explore varieties soon.
...

Dan


Yes, one way to stack that would be to look at the nanking cherries which will do great as long as it isn't in the shade.
 
Dan Grubbs
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Thanks, R Hastings, I'll look into those cherries.

I also have another question for experienced tree people.

I'm in Zone 6a in Northwest Missouri and since most of the trees I can buy are bear root seedlings from our state nursury that aren't ready to order until after Nov. 1 of each year. So, my question is whether it's better to plant in the spring or fall. I planted our wild plum and pawpaw from last year's order in the spring and they all came out of dormancy well and flourished. But, I're read that planting bear root seedlings (fruit, nut, berry) is better done in the fall. I'd sure love some experienced folks to give me the pros and cons of either.

Dan
 
Heather Staas
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Not sure about the cherries around goats, supposed to avoid them around my sheep I've heard. Your plan and your swale looks great.. I've been researching tree and shrub forage plants for sheep too, zone 5b/ 6a, and willow and poplar are on my lists. Apple and crabapple, and I'll be growing pumpkins and clovers too. That's my short list so far. I'll be planting these around grazing cells and using livestock fencing to allow sheep to browse the edges and whatever I drop for fodder without eating/killing the plants. Apple and pumpkin for fall feeding. Probably some raspberries and blackberries for myself, sheep will keep it from spreading out of the treed area too far.
 
Marianne West
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Akiva Silver. How can I order comfrey from you?
 
Meghan Orbek
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Thanks everyone for all the info in this thread! And thanks, Dan, for all you've shared. Beautiful photos, too.

I'm currently monomaniacally planning a similar swale for implementation this early spring in Massachusetts. We have quite sandy, rocky soil that was used for pasture for a long time, then went fallow, and now for some years has been cultivated for hay by a dairy farmer friend of ours. (Though I don't plan to till it anymore myself, I've gotta say there's been a distinct improvement in the soil quality as a result of his efforts- large rock removal, cow manuring, and nitro fixing planting for several years.)

I believe my swale will be of similar dimensions to yours, Dan. Though because of the extremely fast draining nature of my soil I'm thinking of making it wider and shallower. Any thoughts on that would be gratefully accepted.

So this is the planting scheme I've been dreaming up (and sources) from uphill to downhill. I've divided it into 4 long horizontal zones: 1. descending into trench 2. bottom of trench 3. uphill side of berm 4. downhill side of berm (of course I'm sure it'll be more wild than regimented by the time all said is done)

1. The "descending into trench" section borders my backyard and I'm planning an alternating sheet mulch cardboard pathways with patches of the following in between:
borage (from seed) & woodland strawberry (oikos)
alfalfa
red clover
buckwheat
white clover
rye
clover & poppies cover crop mix

2. Bottom of trench and base of berm:
huang qi, french or garden sorrel, indigos (wild or yellow) and (true or blue) as well as indigo bush, paw paw from seed (may start it in paper pots around now and place outside- currently stratifying in the fridge), comfrey (root cuttings from the garden), and lambs quarters because it is delicious

3. Berm- uphill side: this will be the driest area especially until organic matter builds up in several years
hyssop, kidney vetch, monarda, some pear and persimmon from seed, sea buckthorn, sheep sorrel, maybe some plum (from seed)

4. downhill side of berm
tall trees: most of the pear and persimmon seeds, white oak (from found seeds, currently in pots outside), mulberry from seed, wild goose plum from seed (future understory), shagbark hickory (found seeds- also in pots outside but I might have blown it by lazily keeping them in my car since fall... pretty dry in there...) and beloved paw paw
ground covers: red clover, sheep sorrel, radish (daikon type), fava bean, marigolds, asian mustards?, and possibly lambsquarter.

This is my first swale and I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm going for functional soil building and hydrology repair. The swale is positioned behind my house towards the top of a gentle slope and because the soil drains so fast and the swale will be shallow I believe there is reduced risk of berm collapse or major erosion in the case of very heavy rain. (Actually most of the water moves through a deep underground spring... which has an intimate relationship with my basement...) This is why I'm willing to try sheet mulching in patches. It also will help me save on seed. Much of what I'm planting is expansive and will fill up places previously covered in cardboard in the second and third years (I'm guessing). Sheet mulching has been reeeally fun for me in the past two years of experimenting with it- so hopefully it won't create an erosion disaster in this case.

I know this is a lot of species, but some of them I only have a handful of and almost all of it I'm starting from seed (three indoor flats going right now... due to germinate in FOREVER agh I'm so excited) so by implementation time I probably won't have as much to start as I'm planning here. I got a lot of seeds from Horizon Seed which sells stuff that elsewhere can only be found as live plants (more expensive) but can be very challenging to start from seed (so if you're not diligent they don't always work out) and Oikos which breeds perennial crops for my zone (very cold hardy) and has pretty awesome prices. Oikos also has tree seeds available at fair prices when they have an excess available. (this determined the bulk of my tree species.) I also got some stuff from Jung's (very cost effective). The rest is scavenged.

In the fall I will be able to perhaps get some more food bearing trees and shrubs. I've been thinking service berry, quince, elderberry, currant, chestnut, etc but I will have a better idea further on.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated... and any questions as well. Some parts of my plan I'm not too sure about- like planting alfalfa and rye (even though it'll be in manageable edge patches) and direct sowing so many tree seeds. (100 pear, 100 persimmon, 50 plum, 25 paw paw) I've had pretty good luck with planting in paper cartons like used for milk and ice cream. Perforate the bottom with a sharp knife for drainage and then plant the whole thing later in the ground- roots grow right through the perforations and then the whole thing degrades. Half gallon milk jugs are tall and narrow so they might allow for the development of a long tap root like the paw paw has- then as soon as the ground is thawed, plant the whole deal so that fickle tap root doesn't get insecure/pent up/alarmed.

Whew! Thanks everyone. If you read this whole thing, you're just as far gone as I am. I've been crouched over my computer and books researching swales, guilds, and all related material for days straight (snow days this week). I'm really obsessed with this project. I needed to share. Hope it's of some use or interest to somebody.
 
Dan Grubbs
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I've just added a third swale similar to the two I've shown in the photos above. I'll share more photos and maybe a vid or two soon. I still have a bit of hand tweaking to do to it, but this new swale I built will be the first in the series of five swales (two built prior) that are generally equidistant apart starting from just below the top of our hill to just above the shoulder of the base of the hill when it changes to concave and flattens out. We'll practice alley cropping between them and grow forage for our future goat operation. I'm trying to get things already in cycle before the animals are on site. I'd love to not have to buy any feed at all and grow a diversity of forage betweent the swales and grow human goodies on the swales.

I picked up 25 lbs of sericea lespedeza seed today to plant in one of these alleys. This plant contains tannin and is a natural dewormer for goats. Couple this forage with ACV/copper suppliment and paddock shift system and we believe we'll be able to manage our parasite load without antibiotics. We'll plant next weekend to get that perennial well established and mowed each time before it gets too woody. We're not going to plow or drill. I'm going to borrow a six foot disk and we'll set it at no more than 1/2 inch depth and drag that behind the tractor making grooves in the soil. Following that, we'll hand broadcast the sericea lespedeza seed in the alley and then we'll change out to a drag harrow to scratch the surface enough to ensure the seed has a good chance of making contact with soil. I feel pretty good about this approach, but the proof will be in the pudding. I have no intention of plowing this ground for obvious reasons. I didn't think the disk/harrow approach would be too disturbing to the soil. I know the lespedeza will compete with the mixed grass that's already there, but I'm okay with that. When we mow it and bundle it, we'll have a nice mix of brome, fescue and lespedeza with a tiny bit of clover thrown in. I think this will make good food for our goats. We'll test this food theory on my neighbor's goats this summer who experience a bit of barberpole worm problems which we'll measure by FAMACHA scale. I'll keep you posted on our progress in the growing and feeding of the lespedeza.

Yes, I know it can be invasive, which is why I'll confine it between two swales with a buffer of a few feet.

Photos and video to come.
 
Spencer Davis
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Would love to see some updated pics!
 
Jason Kootenai
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Great information and pictures. I am curious about your swale building process. Looks like you have a two bottom plow? Would be excited to see an example of the moldboard plow and what it does. I have seen Swales dug with the FEL but that looks tedious in comparison. Keep up the great work.
 
Nick Segner
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Hi all.
Lovely thread. Lots of good info here. Wondering how your project is going Dan and also Megan Orbeks.

I had a general question regarding swale construction. We are buying 10 acres in NW WA and a tractor. We have to be choosy about the implements we are buying as we can't afford them all. We are most likely going to end up with a FEL and a backhoe.. There is no plow in the lot except a disk and a tiller implement.. He does have a scraper blade for the rear - would this be necessary if we are getting the backhoe? Is a backhoe an ideal tool for swale making?

Nick
 
Dan Grubbs
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Spencer, Jason and Nick:
Don't have the best of video, but this third of five swales is a bit better than the first two. We're learning how to build these things with the tools we have a bit better each time. This third swale is a bit smaller and tighter than the one immediately downhill from it. I got some advice that helped me understand the depth-width ratio of the swale and I kept the berm tighter to the swale. I'm sure there are critiques yet, and I welcome them.

http://youtu.be/0G7wPmaqxw8

Regarding use of the two-bottom moldboard plow ... it works pretty well to make these swales. I survey out and stake the contour line with a water level. Then I use that line and line up the plow right on that line by standing behind the tractor and seeing that I'm on line and then getting back up on the tractor and following the contour line carefully. I found it a bit difficult to make quick s-turns with my Ford 8N with only two-wheel drive and manual steering. When I built this swale, I borrowed my neighbor's 4WD tractor with power steering ... a world of difference and I was able to turn very tightly to follow the contour better. I make several passes to get to the depth I want and move the soil downhill. I didn't use the drag blade as much with this swale as I did more hand work which gave me a much cleaner and finished look, IMHO.

3rdSwale.JPG
[Thumbnail for 3rdSwale.JPG]
 
Dan Grubbs
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Okay, so somehow I'm having a brain fart and not being able to imbed the video in my post and I only have a link there. Sorry.
 
Bill Erickson
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Dan Grubbs wrote:Okay, so somehow I'm having a brain fart and not being able to imbed the video in my post and I only have a link there. Sorry.


Here you go Dan. You need to use the regular code it looks like, rather than the "youtu.be" one.

 
Dan Grubbs
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You're a peach, Bill.

I was going to make some reference to being a "click bitch" but then I'm not sure that everyone has watched Paul's video and might miss that humor.
 
Bill Erickson
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Dan Grubbs wrote:You're a peach, Bill.

I was going to make some reference to being a "click bitch" but then I'm not sure that everyone has watched Paul's video and might miss that humor.


I LOL'd at that, and I have watched that video. I think I only have 250 more podcasts and 100 videos left to listen/watch. Ah, epic waterfall of knowledge, slake my thirst some more.
 
Spencer Davis
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Hey Dan, It looked like you had dams built at both ends of the swale and I didn't see any spillways. Where is your water going to exit? I just started a hugel/swale project recently. I set the berm back 1-2' from the swale to provide a path to use when harvesting from the uphill side unfortunately I didn't go back enough because the berm is going to end up being right on edge by the time it is completely covered. I will post pics and video when I'm done.
 
Dan Grubbs
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Good eye, Spencer. I don't have spillways built in, but have small culverts planned in two spots in each berm to prevent overtopping of the berms. I also keep my end dams lower than the hight of the berms to also let water wash out that way off the end, which will spill over into an area of low critical need. This approach may not be effective, but I'm willing to give it a chance. My first two swales survived all fall and winter without issues, but the late spring and summer thunderstorms will be the test. I'll certainly report any failures and should I detect early signs of failures, I'll then pack down a spillway where I'm planning the flow through area for cold air as it moves down hill.

It'll be good to see your work, Spencer.
 
Spencer Davis
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Location: New Castle, IN
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Do you have experience with the culverts? If so, what advantages did you find? Also I noticed that you said in your first post you covered your berm with hay. I read somewhere that straw is best to be used cause hay had the potential to contain grass and "weed" seeds. Did he hay work out for ya?
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Straw can be surprisingly hard to find here on the edge of wheat country. It has more value as mulch/litter than a product to the farmers (not a bad thing).

If you want some grass on the swale anyway, hay is not a bad option. I really like to find native prairie hay for doing things like this if I can, but that is also a challenge--especially if you don't have a tractor big enough to deal with round bales.

 
Dan Grubbs
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Spencer, good question on the culverts ... since these are my first swales I don't have experience using culvert pipe. This was recommended to me by a civil engineer friend of mine. If I have a failure event, I'm early enough in our process that it will be an easy thing to rebuild the berm with a spillway. There are only pasture paddocks between the swales at this point; I don't have alley crops in there yet except for one paddock where I've planted the lespedeza.
 
Meghan Orbek
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Location: Yonkers, NY/ Berkshires, MA USA
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Hey you guys

I have a decent update with pictures to share. My first swale was dug last month by an excavator friend of mine then raked, seeded, and sort of mulched by a pack of helpful friends.

If you've read my previous post about my elaborate swaleplans, I must say that they were very helpful for me and for the most part were loosely followed. You can see what my soil typically looks like in photo below. Pretty different from Dan's, it seems, so the physical profile of the swale is different from his- much shallower and wider to avoid dramatic collapse and erosion. In practice it ended up being slightly shallower than 2' deep ditch/2' high berm and a bit wider than the expected overall 8' width. The area covered is about 280' long, but because the swale is on contour and snaking it's longer than that.

It seems like this is a suitable shape for the soil and site. This is largely a soil restoration project to build up organic matter/nutrients starting at the site of the swale, so larger surface area is cool. More room to plant. Downhill will remain a clover/hay field harvested for our friend's organic cattle herd (but eventually- more swales) and uphill of the swale will start being developed as zones 1 and 2 this summer.

Anyway, PLANTING: loose zones with different seed.
(First of all, some sparse cardboard sheet mulch was put down, but I'll get back to that later.)
-EVERYWHERE got daikon. This partly due to my friend Armin's suggestion and reports of how delightful the effects have been in his own swale projects.

-Every 50 ft or so- at a spillway site the width of the excavator bucket- we seeded a path of white clover crossing the swale. We tried to avoid planting anything else over these paths

-The slope descending into the ditch was seeded alternately with 1.) a mix of buckwheat, hairy vetch, and winter rye (last of which I believe got eaten before it germinated) and 2.) a mix of red and crimson clovers with poppies 3.) the aforementioned white clover paths

-The bottom of the ditch, which is basically subsoil, was seeded with sweet yellow clover, which seems like an awesome plant, though I don't have any previous experience with it. Essential to my long term plan is cutting down every single one of these plants next summer before they go to seed. Very excited about the biomass that whole thing will produce.

-I kinda forget what the uphill slope of the berm was planted with… other than the white clover path patches. But it definitely got covered because it's loaded with germination. I think it got a lot of red clover as well as the mix that covered the downhill berm slope. Most of the russian comfrey roots were put in that zone as well (about 14, maybe fewer) A few days ago I put in blue and wild indigo seedlings, a few rue, and garden (french) sorrel there as well. (all my transplants were started indoors this past february)

-Top of the berm got a wide seeding of wild thyme and patches of lupine which will need to be thinned out. Bare spots will be filled in with dragon's blood sedum as another drought hardy ground cover. Just transplanted in were a fair number of hyssop and sheep sorrel plants.

-Downhill slope of berm got a seed mix of chives, yarrow, feverfew, and crimson clover. Heavy on the aromatic pest confusers (though not sure it will make much of a damn difference for larger creatures) since most wildlife will be approaching from the woods on that side.

Once seeded we spread around some available brush (from recent fruit tree pruning) to help keep the cardboard in place as well as seeds (very windy) and discourage birds from eating everything we just threw down.

There are still many more indigos to transplant in once they're a bit bigger as well as a few hyssop, dunbars and goose plum, oikos wild pear, black ever bearing mulberry (though may save those for other places), and sea buckthorn for the southern end bordering the neighbor's property with a very large and sprawling house. I also direct seeded paw paw along the north wet end of the swale (underground spring below) and some plum and pear along the length of it here and there- we'll see how they fare. They are mostly flagged so I can keep and eye out for them.

My intention is that the cardboard will make space for me to pop in transplants later. I like doing that- cut a hole and drop the transplant in. I find it is also useful to plant around. Creates above and below ground space- I put a bunch of my hyssop and indigo plants just outside the north edge of the cardboard so that there's a clear space for sun open to the south of the plant. If that makes any sense.









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