Category: Swales

Before Permaculture: Keyline Planning and Cultivation

Freshly keyline plowed (Photo: Kirsten Bradley) Plan the work then work the plan. — P.A. Yeomans Intro In the mid 1950s, Australian engineer P.A. Yeomans demonstrated a new system of land management he called the Keyline system. The consensus of the time, championed by people like Dr H.H. Bennett, was that soil was a finite resource and that once depleted “it was irretrievably lost as if consumed by fire”. P.A. […]

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Ridge to Valley – a Holistic Watershed Perspective

This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ‘swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly […]

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Talking Swales

While at Wadeye, Northern Territory, Australia, installing a permaculture design for Earth Ethics, this video was taken when I was explaining how to install swales and level sill spillways and what their function is, to some of the guys working on site. So if you want to understand how to install swales and spillways, this might help. Apologies for the unbuttoned shirt, I was not aware this was being filmed. […]

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Fascine, Revetments, and Wattle Hurdle

by Daniel Halsey This year I have been in Haiti after a downgraded hurricane, and then in New Jersey a week after Sandy. While in New Jersey two tornadoes passed by my old house. What do they have in common? In each case water was being limited in its flow by developement or the removal of natural structures that diffuse its energy. While working in Haiti and trying to build […]

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My Experience of Permaculture Aid Work in Ethiopia

I’m not sure it’s possible, looking back now, to say exactly what I was expecting when I hopped on that plane and flew to Ethiopia for an internship at Strawberry Fields, but one thing I am sure of is that it’s been one of the most transformative, edifying experiences I’ve had in my life.

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Pigscavation to Help Water Penetration

Capturing water before it runs off your property is key to rehydrating parched landscapes. Building ‘swales’ or channels along contour with uncompacted mounds is one way of assisting water infiltration. Building swales can also be an expensive exercise utilising heavy machinery which is expensive to transport and hire. Nick Huggins, of Jacmarall Farm uses an innovative way of building smaller swales that is within the economic reach of most small […]

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How To Survive the Coming Crises (free Geoff Lawton video)

At time of writing, our Zaytuna Farm Video Tour video has had almost 11,000 views, after only six months. A lot of people expressed their appreciation for this video, with some describing it as a "free DVD". Where we can, we want to provide more inspirational/instructional material for free, and today I’m writing to let you know about our latest effort towards fulfilling this goal. Click here to go to […]

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Planting Days Are Here! (Al Baydha, Saudi Arabia)

by Neal Spackman This week the project started planting the swales with 1000 very hardy desert trees. The team is working in shifts of laying drip line, digging holes, manuring and mulching swales, putting in compost, planting, mulching again, and then adjusting the drip emitter.

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Permagardens In Practice: Resilience in Action (Uganda, Africa)

PDCs are tricky. For two weeks we tumble into this community of unfamiliarly familiar, curious strangers. The constant whirlwind of habits, obligations, and distractions that composes our lives momentarily dissipates and we are thrust into this world where our main responsibility is to be open-minded, observe, think, learn, and connect. Yet, at the end of the day, we are singular beings and we all have our lives that we will […]

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Update on Permaculture Implementation and Design Development at Hafto Site, Hadiya Zone, Ethiopia

Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, […]

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Food Forests, Part 5: Water – Friend and Foe

I always thought that rain was a nurturing and gentle aspect of nature. You know how it is, you get a bit of rain and it helps all of the plants to grow, provides water for us and the animals and generally stops the place from drying out. That was my thinking back in an urban environment. In that area, the drainage infrastructure had been developed and maintained over the […]

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Permaculture in Palestine – a Green Revolution

by Melissa Andrews Olive trees stand the test of time in Palestine All images © Christopher List Photography It was a brisk, rather harried morning when my husband, photographer Christopher List, and I set off on a trip to delve deeper into the relatively unheard of phenomenon of permaculture. It felt like only yesterday when we’d announced to friends and family that were were going to Palestine, to study a […]

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