Particularly, just as mulch. I often lay down a thick layer of wood and branches and just plant into it.
Yes, in syntropic agroforestry a concave raised bed with a thick layer of woody mulch is also the usual practice. But I'm worried in my situation it won't be enough to keep roots above the water table.
So if your swales are, say 25 meters apart, have the sill drain diagonally into the opposite end of the next swale.
I want to plant coffee in much more closely spaced rows, probably every 3 or 4 meters. If swales are placed this far apart, would you plant interswale rows on grade, or build mounds/ridges but without an accompanying ditch?
I would spread the berm out for the entire width of land between the two swales
Basically make terraces? This would require a lot of soil, and deep/wide swales.
Timothy Markus wrote:It looks very interesting to me. I've got a worn out hay field and a cleared sections of alders that I need to improve. It's also clay with a hardpan, so I need plants to start to work away at it.
I'm also intrigued by sorghum beer. I think I'll give that a shot if I can grow some.
Eliot Mason wrote:Well, sort of. If you build perfectly on contour then you are really building a series of dams on the hillside. In a rain event, that water has no place to go except through the swale ... and if does that you've got a problem! Also, its possible that the highest swale captures all of the water coming down the slope and holds it - and although "stacking" water up high isn't a bad idea the swales further down the slope are deprived of that water.
So you can instead build the swale slightly off contour, and have them zig-zag down the slope. Water coming down is then allowed to slowly wander along each swale before spilling into the next and changing direction.