I live in a bit of a valley with gently sloping land. When it rains, I have standing water in areas and squishy ground for a good week. If I dig, water usually fills the hole within 48 hours. The earth is mostly clay with some (1 to 2 inches?) good soil on top. I can get up to 48" of rain a year.
My questions: Would swales help? Is it possible to have swales help drainage in wet weather but keep moisture in hot summer months? Is there a happy medium? When it rains, the water really moves through the land. Would swales cause the water to move slower causing a back up of water making the land flood?
Tools I have to work with are small tractor, subsoiler, small plow head, boxblade, backhoe, front end loader, post hole digger, and old fashioned shovel.
Do you have access to junk wood? a hugel-swale sounds like what you need down low. The wood is the extra sponge (and nutrient) and gets the plantings up out of the swamp.
A subsoiler running key lines at the top of your property helps it soak in before it makes a swamp down lower. They really do a lot of help to pastures for very little money/time input.
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