I can’t remember the exact dates & when I get all major jobs done I will start keeping track of when we have rain, it was a few months ago. It poured & poured with rain.
The south-west side of the property in the horses paddock again a reasonably sloped area, I could not deal with laying in bed at night listening to the rain thinking about how much top soil was being washed down into the gully & out onto the council laneway. I waited for the rain to ease, it doesn’t have to be dry day to get work done, with A frame (I had to make a new one out of some long garden stakes) & spade not a flat nosed shovel, a curved spade & proceeded to dig out more swale & berms. Yes I have done them in the horses paddock they are not a trip hazard as the edges are all soft & the berms are very visible. As it was something new in the paddock as with some horses, the berms were the most terrifying things in their paddock for a few days. Starting from the top corner the swales collect runoff from the roadside as drainage is a bit of a joke around here so I use it to my benefit. Never complain always resolve. The top berm fills then slowly the water ebbs out & down to the next swale. the berms now have a native white shrubby plant that seems to come up quite prolific around the place shame the horses don’t eat it, it does hold the berm together until I decide what fodder I will plant there.
Taking approximately 4 full days I had sliced & diced the paddock into a perfect berm & swale crescendo. The areas I chose to follow were pretty much clay no top soil at all so it sliced beautifully, as I got closer to the base of the gully the clay was about a foot deep & underneath was this amazing dark rich soil, it was like striking gold. Now if I had the machinery I would have dug up as much clay as possible then as much soil as possible & mixed it all together to create the most amazing land ever. Alas I don’t have machinery, I know that I can plant there & the root system of whatever I plant will have an abundance of growing room & nutrient.
The funny thing in all this is my curious neighbours in my street, everyone is really polite love our neighbourhood it is awesome (nearly everyone) when you drive up our street our land is in full view of everyone who passes, all the neighbours would slow down for a sticky beak. I give them a wave, funny though only one has asked what I am up to, no one had offered to help , not that I expect that by any means, if I saw someone digging trenches in my neighbourhood id be introducing myself a like-minded spirit or a mass murderer lets find out shall we. Taking me about 4 or 5 days I had dug a series of swale, with enough space to get a car & trailer through weaving your way in & out. Have to allow for access so paddocks can be easily cleaned.
There are another 2 swale above the 2 in the second photo as you can see the soil under the clay is great, they now have beautiful grass shoots coming up in the swale & the berm has, you can see the plant top in the lower right hand corner, yeh well there the ones growing all along the berms now. The greenery outside the fenceline is not native grasses Is mainly weed one that gives horses an illness called big head a horrible nasty pussy swelling between the eyes & up on their forehead. If you’re wondering why I haven’t let the horses eat that down, at the moment that’s why & I just try keep it from seeding. That’s all part of my to do list a whole other story.
In the first photo it is taken facing up the hill to the left of the 2 berms in the first photo, are you confused. So go to the gully of the first photo turn around & look up at the berms now turn to your left, there you go, you got it now? Never mind I’m enough to confuse anyone. the ground through the second photo has a lot of tree roots throughout & there was quite a lot of debris, I have used that debri to create the berms, it is still the same principle as the swale still slows water flow & holds moisture & as it all breaks down creates beautiful rich soil, I will go along & dig swale eventually to continue to hold the soil but for now this is working great & the fire boys love it as it actually creates a series of fire breaks for them so if we get a fire through on the ground it will be easier to contain, warning. Do not, I repeat do not build those gardens where you bury a whole lot of timber under soil & stuff as in a fire these can burn for days even after firies have put them out, they start spot fires all over again, not a good idea especially if you live in a high fire danger area like us.
Given that the photos are of land that is right next to each it is incredibly diverse that’s why permaculture works don’t try change what you cant work with it & alter what you can to make it work.
I hope with today’s post I have inspired encouraged shown you that you can do anything you don’t need machinery or even a helping hand. You can do this, a bit of patience, prayer & perseverance, knowing it will all come together & people will start asking how & why is your land so much more efficient than mine? Come along let me show you keep reading keep doing or if you have done this id love to see your story.
THE PROOF WILL BE IN THE PRODUCE.