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Hugelculture Swale design questions

 
Posts: 21
Location: Prattsville, NY (Zone 5)
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Hi there Permies. I have a question regarding the designs of your hugelculture swales. Your experience and insights greatly appreciated.

Attached below is an illustration of three different designs.

Number 1 is just strait hugel on a slope with no swale.
Number 2 is a swale dug, but the hugel sits on the original elevation.
Number 3 involves the hugel being placed in the swale.

Now, does anyone have any insights they'd like to share regarding the better design?

We're building vegetable grow beds this spring, on contour, with swales that slope slightly down and draining into the next, all placed on top of well rotted, old logs and sticks, mostly sugar maple, poplar, and pine.

I'd assume that design number 3 would be the better alternative since more water would reach the wood and thus permeate the berm and thus irrigate the growies.

swales.jpg
[Thumbnail for swales.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 11802
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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d tyler huff
Posts: 21
Location: Prattsville, NY (Zone 5)
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Thanks for that link Tyler (wait, I'm Tyler too!).

Blow out is not a concern for us. Our swale berms wont be nearly high enough.

I'm talking about low lying grow beds. So, about 1ft of hugel (perhaps), and another 1 or 2 feet of soil, max.

These are standard "double dig" grow beds, but with hugel at the bottom.

Also, it seems, even with full size swales (say we were planting trees), design number 3 above would still mitigate any potential avalanche.


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Or something like this:

hugelswale.jpg
[Thumbnail for hugelswale.jpg]
 
Posts: 531
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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I like Texas Tyler's hugeley-swale-ish thing a little more than what you've got above. It just seems like a lot less likelihood of bad things happening. You don't just run the risk of blowout in this scenario, there is also the very real possibility of your hugel logs floating in all of that water and wrecking everything. This may never happen, but it sure would suck a lot if it did! Just out of curiosity why not terrace the slope and hugel on the flat? Just another possibility.....
 
pollinator
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Hey tyler huff, help me understand what your goal is. Might help me learn about something I have not heard of too!

My understanding of swales is that they are used to slow and trap water on a slope, to allow the water to soak into the ground.
They can be used in keyline systems with dams to store a lot more water.
Usually trees and shrubs are planted on the downhill side of the dirt burm to take advantage of the water lense underground.

A hugel is a method of creating deep, organic, grow beds, that use the wood as a sponge to hold water, that the plantings can use during dryer times.

So it seems that Tyler Ludens combination would allow both to be used to their full advantage?

What is your goal ?
 
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