Category: Swales

The Transition from Swales to On Contour Hedges

One of permaculture´s most famed and acknowledged contributions to sustainable land management and ecologically sound agricultural practices are swales. From Australia to Finland to South Africa, thousands of permaculture practitioners from around the world have taken their laser levels, A-frame levels, and Bunyip water levels to map out the contour lines across the landscape that holds them. Once stakes have been placed across the contour lines across the land, either […]

Read More >
11 Comments

Why We Use Swales and How to Do It Appropriately

A swale is one of those permaculture terms that probably gets thrown around to readily (or inaccurately) and perhaps implemented irresponsibly. Only a few years into my permaculture career, I have certainly been guilty of this, and I have distinct memories of mistakes I made with regards to both attempting to construct swales and putting them in the wrong place. In my defense, and perhaps to my own credit, I […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Hugel Swales May be a Bad Idea

Ok, so this conversation has been addressed in the correct way and was explained by Jack Spirko at https://permaculturenews.org/2015/11/06/dont-try-building-hugel-swales-this-is-a-very-and-i-mean-very-bad-idea/. This very bad idea, Hugel-swales on contour, should not be done!!!!! We can however accomplish the morph on small scale as explained by Jack Spirko, but not in the true “this is how to build a swale” and “this is how to build a Hugel.” Again, do not do what I […]

Read More >
7 Comments

Urban Swales

Last year, we did a series of videos looking at the swale systems on our property and demonstration site. Part one looks at how we’ve combined the featuress of a Hügelkultur system, a wicking bed, and swales to nourish a productive garden that requires very little additional irrigation: Urban Swales Part 1: Weeping Tile & Mulched Pathways This second video in the urban swales series looks at permaculture design with […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Morocco Project Update

The earthworks have progressed nicely and below is a series of photos of when we were installing the earthworks and after the first decent rains of the season. Keeping in mind the site receives 250mm of rain per year and like a lot of dry-lands come’s in about 3 events in mid-winter.

Read More >
0 Comment

Bunyip Water Level: Measure Contour Lines & Swales

To have professional surveyors map our contour lines was going to cost thousands of dollars and many we spoke to outright refused because of the number of trees and acreage. The estimates we did receive were not frequent in elevational increments – one even came in at “every 60 feet!” So we ended up hiring a company only for marking our property boundaries. To map the inner swales and contour […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Mini Swales in an Urban Backyard

The term “swale” is often used by Permaculture people when designing large earth work constructions but it’s very rarely spoken of in an urban setting. Swales are most often discussed among permaculture people when designing large earthwork constructions – not something you would find in most people’s backyards. However, these techniques can be used just as effectively in an urban setting to keep your garden plants alive throughout the hot […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Found-Object Garden Design at The Farm Inn in Southern Belize

Something that has thoroughly impressed Kevin during our six weeks at The Farm Inn in the southern depths of Belize, where a paved highway has only just made it, is that we are only using things that are already on the property. When I hear him excitedly describe his concept of permaculture—what we, my wife Emma and I, are doing—to people, he always mentions this fact. Over the last few […]

Read More >
3 Comments

5 Fun and Fruitful Techniques for Small-Scale Earthworks

I’ve spent most of the last two years volunteering on farms throughout Central and South America, as well as a three-month sojourn through Spain, and in that time, I’ve learned a ton from the people I’ve worked with and, I like to think, shared a lot as well. I’ve been introduced to trees and plants I’d never encountered before. I’ve pruned and harvested in new ways. I’ve played with different […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Groundwater Re-charging

It’s a rainy Monsoon day. Today, it’s water, water everywhere, but soon there will not be a drop to drink. Think forward to April & May. Dry times ahead. And for some, water problems could come as early as February & March. Every monsoon, Goa receives around 3000mm of Monsoon rainwater. That’s a lot. In fact, it’s plenty, and more. So why are we faced with dwindling water tables, empty […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Swale Calculator Spacing Tool

Douglas Barnes of permaculturereflections, who is a sustainable designer from the countryside in Tweed Ontario, has created a great tool that can be used to help with Swale implementation. This calculator, located on his website here, addresses Swale spacing that has been a perennial question in Permaculture. This calculator turns the problem on its head and gives you the best estimate for spacing based on swale size. Why calculate spacing? […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Rapidly-Cut Swales with Tractor Blade

We are making early progress on our 320-acre Missouri permaculture-farm project (Jordan Rubin’s Heal the Planet Farm). Last fall, a local dozer operator was brought in to dig the first swales. It was a small dozer but it did a respectable job and did the work in a relatively short period of time compared to an excavator. See the blog post with video here. Before we brought the dozer back […]

Read More >
0 Comment