Daddykirbs Orchard Earthworks: Full Swales

Full Swales: Rain Brings Encouragement

It’s been nearly a year since I finished my Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDCC, or commonly called the PDC). I’ve been observing the land and the way the water flows on it. Every big rain I go out and get my boots muddy looking to see how the water moves across my baby permaculture system. Every once in a while I get time to chip away at the design that resides mostly in my head. The labor sometimes seems fruitless. It’s difficult to know if I’m doing it right. My only credentials so far is an online course and lots of other online research.

Full Swales: Then comes the rain

This week we got a nice steady couple inches of rain. It was nice and soaking. I was sitting at work doing my normal daily grind when my wife called and said “The ducks are swimming in the swales.”. This lit me up! I was so ready to go home to see for myself.

How did they work? I hadn’t seen the swales, channels and ponds full of water yet. Sure there has been a little water here and there, but nothing enough to really show me what’s going on.

When I pulled in and went in the house I kissed my wife and she said “Are you changing your shoes to go see the swales?”. Oh yeah, she knows me too well. I had to go spend some time observing and reflecting on the details of this event.

Full Swales: Rain Brings Encouragement

Right away I could see the ducks swimming in the water. They looked so natural and happy. Their pleasure is mine as well. As I walked up to the orchard I paid attention to see where the water was standing, where it was running and what ground appeared dry. There is a gentle slope toward the front of our property where the orchard is.

The main swale that runs along the North side of the orchard isn’t finished. It’s almost level, but it’s only about three inches deep overall. The goal is to take another six inches or so out.

I  could feel my inner being smiling as I looked around to see what my design has done so far. It’s not perfect, but this event is teaching me where I can improve. Most of all it is encouraging me that I’m on the right track. Full swales.

Take a look at the photo gallery to see the full swales on the Daddykirbs Farm.

Check out the full swales on a smaller scale over at the Tenth Acre Farm, A homestead blogging buddy.

Using Swales in the Landscape - Part 2
Using Swales in the Landscape – Part 2: Tenth Acre Farm

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4 thoughts on “Full Swales: Rain Brings Encouragement”

    1. Thank you Amy! It is a lot of fun seeing all this come together. Eventually the ducks will be living full time in the orchard. The swales will be their playground.

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