• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

swales dug, what about loading them up hugel-style?  RSS feed

 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We had the back-hoe operator dig three swales last month across our 3 acre property. He got it done in time so we could take our flood irrigation turn before the canal shut off. Swale #1 filled completely, and started to spill down to #2. That is good news, since we didn't have any water on this property all summer. The soil here drains fast and was really dry to start. And we haven't built in any spillways between the levels.

We have a line of cottonwoods that shed a ton of dead wood each winter. I can also get some other branches and rotted wood, sawdust, spoiled hay, maybe baled cornstalks, some for the labor of hauling, some at a minimal cost. Should I start piling these into the swales? It seems like it could not hurt and might help. Any downsides before I start dragging timber around? Much of our precipitation is in the form of snow, so I'd like to get on it ASAP and start banking water when our new trees will need it come next June.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Ann - how fun to have the earth movers there - that must have been quite something!!

I quickie check didn't give me your annual precipitation. That being said, I'm familiar with Utah snow (born in Ogden) and I think you would be ok to pile some wood, leaves and other organic matter (not soil) into the swales and let winter's moisture break them down for you. In the spring you could either choose to leave the resultant material in there or harvest what might be some pretty awesome compost!

Take lots of pics of whatever you do and keep us posted. It's all a grand experiment. You're trailblazing here!
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
About 12" snow in the last 48 hours. Winds scouring the field for the first few hours, blowing snow into--the swales! 12" can be our annual snowfall, so this is great for so early in the season.

I posted notices all around the area offering to take trimmings and leaves, heard from a neighbor before the storm, 3 pick-up loads of branches and fruit tree prunings. I didn't see if he got it dumped in before the snow, but it doesn't matter, it will show up eventually.

Since a lot of our snow just evaporates rather than melts, these swales could be the change maker we hoped for.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You should leave the swale as a depression. However I would digg the swale deeper and then half fill it with logs to "store" water.
Or you could digg another row of "swales" and then back fill then to ground level
 
Bring me the box labeled "thinking cap" ... and then read this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!