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Swales in a garden

 
Posts: 39
Location: Central Virginia, USA
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So if Swales are tree growing systems will they be of use in a garden as well? I decided to build a few Swales for my garden terraces, but I am not sure if they will really benefit or just Waterlog my garden.

I dug a swale that will pull some water from the drainage ditch next to my driveway (no traffic, gravel road, water comes from hill above my house). The swale is on contour. I plan to fill the swale with wood chips And use it as an access point/walkway. It probably needs to be wider.

I am also considering digging Swales perpendicular to this one which will be between the garden rows. This will distribute water out to the ends of the terrace from this original swale.

Is this a good idea? Bad idea? What do you guys think? Thanks so much!

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Posts: 330
Location: S. Ontario Canada
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Any way you can create a constant moisture level in the soil will help your plants. Trees will try to put roots down to where they can find that constant level but your annuals can't do that.
I think you have the right idea.
 
Diego de la Vega
Posts: 39
Location: Central Virginia, USA
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Here is the update after a hard day's labor:

With the help of my boys, I was able to widen the swale to 2 feet which is enough for a wheel barrow to fit, but not turn around. We filled in the swale with wood chips and used the wood chips we had left to start to cover the bed. We then seeded everything with red clover.
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Posts: 149
Location: Massachusetts
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I like that idea , I have been looking for ways to use my wood chips to store water from rain close to my plants and that seems like a great idea . the wood chips will decay slow in the walkway and not steal nitrogen from the soil

 
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