Skills and Gear for Self Reliance and Homesteading

Our First Swale on Contour – An Overview


We had always planned to have an Orchard on the homestead,

we ended up with putting that Orchard and including Permaculture as well. We have never used this technique so we joined the RT Permaculture Meetup here in Reno and met Neil Bertrando. We hired Neil to help us to do the design and work with us to put together a swale system for food and that also helps to contain erosion.

But we started looking at the concept last fall and over the winter decided to move forward with being able to grow more and use the natural water to our advantage. The idea of creating a food forest really had our attention. I am a firm believer that if you don’t really know something, hire someone and work WITH them, might as well get some education for your $$$.

At this point, we have dug and I did the finish form of the swales. We have the straw, wood chips and seed for the swales and we did pick up seed for other areas such as the spillways and rock-grass rundown areas. We will have a full video of the digging process as well as the planting we did in the swales and other areas we want to protect.

Here in Nevada, we don’t get a lot of rain but when we do, it’s a lot. So Swales hold the water and move it to where we need it. We will be putting Hugelkultur beds below the swales so that the water will flow into them from the swales. These are planned to be more along the lines of Sepp Holzer’s design, tall, very tall. So stay tuned and we will have more as we move along!

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