Chris Kott wrote:Any time I see questions about people starting swales on a slope, I get worried.
Chris Kott wrote:My usual suggestion, especially if you have time to let hydrology do its thing, is to lay deadfalls and fallen tree limbs into rows above ground on contour where you want your swales. They will at least act as sediment traps, and will slow the water enough to infiltrate instead of washing right downhill. The sediment will gather behind your contour swale barrier, and you will end up with a terraced effect. At that point, you have the option of enhancing each individual contour line swale.
Chris Kott wrote:I should, of course, have specified that I get worried when people start swales by digging into a slope. Good catch.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I built my first swale near the cabin at the bottom of the property. Because it was an easy place to start. Made it easier to observe how water and sediment flows during rainstorms.
Richard Cleaver wrote:Did you observe anything interesting or have any problems? Did you decide to dig more swales further up the slope?
Todd Parr wrote:If you start at the bottom, I think you are going to greatly increase your chance of a blowout. All the water from the entire slope will accumulate in that one ditch. If you start at the top, much less water will be captured in each swale.
Dan Grubbs wrote:Just as a kind of side note. People often ask the "spacing" question when discussing swales. I think there are a lot of factors that determine how far apart to space your swales. Certainly water volume calculations are critical to this determination. Another key factor is the mature height of trees associated with the swales and sun angle. After that, on larger properties, there are likely other factors. For me, once I understood the minimum number of swales and their volume potential (I was planting semi-dwarf trees, so solar arc was not an issue), the distance between swales was based on the size of the machinery I would run between them (sickle mower). I wanted to only make a defined number of passes with my sickle mower with full swaths. Running a tractor and sickle mower with only a half swath is not efficient.
What a plan calls for between swales (silvopasture, cash crops, etc.) can have an impact on the distance between swales. Just another thing to think about.
I may never be geoff lawton, but why would I take his course if I didn't intend to follow his footsteps?
chad Christopher- I have a much shorter explanation, and it comes from experience. Just put the swale(s) slightly off contour. And just DO IT. No matter what your plans include, nature will reshape, and let you know what it wants to do. Dig it, let nature take its course, and work from there.
A light switch went off and I knew this was a place in time that justified going into debt for machine rental.
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