I'm getting ready to rent some heavy equipment in the next month or so to start building out swales and hugelbeds in our front yard. Since we live in Bend, Oregon (zone 6a/b w/ ~1' of rain per year average) and don't have irrigation I would like to make sure that I can leverage these swales and hugelbeds to create a very green and self sustaining environment. I've attached a picture of the swales I'm planning on digging out spread ~20 feet apart.
Looking for critiques on the frequency of the swales, how big the hugelbeds should be, and the most efficient way to water this portion of the property.
With just 12 inches of rain per year you are at the very edge of farming without irrigation.
You are going to need 2x maybe 3x spacing when compared with the labeling/east coast.
So if you normally would plant a tree every 30ft you are going to have increase that to 60ft or 90ft.
The same applies to spacing between rows. This will allow the roots to spread out more without competition for any available water.
I would also recommend against raised hugelbed. They worked great in wet/swampy germany/east coast.
It allows the top to be extra dry while the bottom stays wet into which the roots can grow into if needed.
In semi-arid placed you dont have to concern yourself with having a dry top.
The native indian of the west coast normally used sunken "hugelbed" infiltration basin.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
posted 6 years ago
I am anticipating having to run water, however, I'm hoping to optimize my property for the water that is ran. At this point, digging in isn't ideal since it's rocks every other shovel (larger than I can lift). My thought was to create swales that would hold the water, and provide as much evaporation protection as possible. Assming that I'm running water at thetop of each hugelbed - does that change anything?
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
Water the bottom of the swale and not the top, preferable on the north/east side where there is less sunlight.
Have each swale overflow into the next one in a ziz-zag pattern to for maximum time on the property, when there is a rain event.
Your current swale idea build on contour is better than just leaving things as they are, so go for it.
Hey! I live in Bend Oregon. I know you posted this 2 years ago, but I am extremely passionate about permaculture and I would love to come by and see your site as I've been wanting to see examples in the Central Oregon Climate to get inspiration!