Home, home on the range…..

….but no deer and antelope playing here.

I’ve been wanting to put up a post for ages showing a plan of my particular ‘home on the range’ and the various growing areas, but have been defeated by trying to manipulate the installed drawing programs on the computer. I’ve finally decided to save a Google Earth shot and use that with additional photos.

So here it is :

home4

The property is one hectare (2.5 acres) in area and there’s a gentle slope from the top left corner of the photo to the bottom right (south-west corner to north-east corner). When we bought it 17 years ago, the areas labelled 1 and 2 and the house site had been previously cleared of understorey vegetation (with a few trees left) and were covered in weedy grass. The rest was remnant natural bush, mainly what is classified as heathy woodland in this locality, with a bit of grassy woodland on the north side. The natural, undisturbed soil in the bush area is deep grey sand supporting the heathy woodland and with a clay subsoil under the grassy woodland. The cleared areas 1 and 2 were mostly heavy clay infill, introduced after a previous owner removed the natural sandy soil and sold it for topsoil (we didn’t know that at the time—a neighbour told us later).

Areas 1 and 2 were the natural choice for the vegetable garden as there were minimal trees and it was in full sun for most of the day (the horrible, sticky, infill clay soil only became apparent after I tried to put a spade into it!). It also sloped slightly to the north, which meant good drainage.

We wanted to protect the bush section and arranged with the Trust for Nature Victoria to put a protective covenant on it, to prevent it ever being cleared. The covenant is binding on present and future owners. Of course, I now realise that there’s no such thing as ‘in perpetuity’, and it will eventually be cleared. I don’t expect an organisation like the Trust for Nature to survive the end of industrial civilisation, and the land will probably be wanted by a future owner to grow food during the collapse of industrial agriculture when oil seriously begins to run out. Nevertheless, I do my best to keep the bush intact and follow the management plan written by the Trust for the property.

We began clearing the weedy grass in area 1 for the vegetable garden, which started out by being 2 big wooden boxes, 2 m x 1 m x 90 cm high, into which was thrown anything and everything that would compost. I decided built-up beds would be easier than trying to dig that clay (and the rabbits which were starting to appear by then couldn’t reach up into the boxes). On the higher part of the slope above the boxes, we began planting 2 rows of fruit trees in zig-zag formation.

I grew quite a lot in those 2 boxes initially and as more home-made compost started to mount up I formed it into a long sausage shape on the ground. I thought it would be a good spot for pumpkins, having already learned that rabbits didn’t like pumpkin leaves.

The trouble was that the blackbirds loved the compost sausage and constantly dug into it, scattering it everywhere, exposing the plant roots and generally making a mess, as blackbirds always do. So I formed the compost into round piles and surrounded each one with a circle of wire about 80 cm in diameter. The wire circles mutated into what I called my ‘olympic rings’, but which a friend more aptly called ‘crop circles‘. They looked like this :

Eventually I ended up with 5 sets of rings, all in a row, making 35 individual growing areas—15 full rings and 20 half-rings. The growing medium in all of them was built up with composted material. The rings are 45 cm high and the compost, when I can get enough of it, is built up to about 20 cm.  The underlying soil wasn’t dug into at all. The wooden boxes were eventually abandoned.

Initially I watered by hand using water from the 9000 litre tank beside the house. The slope was enough to get a reasonable pressure by gravity alone. Later on, I made watering circles with fine sprays that I could just click the hose into and leave for half an hour or so. Sometimes I just prefer to stand there holding the hose. Hand watering is a favourite time for just observing, thinking and planning.

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Area 2 wasn’t developed as a food garden at all. I planted fast-growing wattles there to harvest for firewood, because cutting live trees from the bush was out of the question although there was plenty of dead stuff in there and branches were always falling. Areas 1 and 2 weren’t covered by the covenant—they were considered as the ‘domestic area’—where conservation isn’t the primary object.

When I did the permaculture design course six years ago, I realised that everything was badly designed, or rather, not designed at all and I set about trying to rectify it. The main food-growing area was too far from the house (zone 1), where it should have been, so, having discovered the wicking bed concept by then, I began establishing a series of wicking boxes and tubs around the house, for the more intensive growing typical of a zone 1 area. The ‘crop circles’ have been retained but mainly for winter crops, like garlic and leeks, where constant watering isn’t needed so much. All around them I’ve planted more fruit trees and other perennials to create a food forest.

Zone 1—wicking boxes and tubs near the house :

The 3 oval shapes to the right (north) of areas 1 and 2 were originally covered in weedy grass. I wanted some pools, so we slashed the grass and had a chap with an earth mover come in and dig out three pools (the 3 ovals). The overflow from the water tank runs down beside the path and into the first pool. It’s very shallow, only just above my ankles when full. Because of the slope, the water overflows into the second pool and then into the third. The second is a bit deeper, almost knee high and the third probably up to my thigh, although they have all become shallower over the years as debris accumulates on the bottom. The first pool usually dries out in summer and in a very dry summer the second will as well. There have only been a couple of summers when the third has dried out completely. Usually there’s a still a boggy puddle in the middle by the end of the season.

The first pool :

Stupidly, because of not knowing much about water plants, I planted reeds and rushes at the edges of the pools. Of course, they migrated towards the centre as water levels dropped and now there are no areas of water free of growth. The most prolific is the native Water Ribbons (Triglochin procera), which is supposed to have edible tubers utilised by the aborigines, but I’ve dug down almost to China and have never found anything remotely tuber-like to eat.  It has spread profusely from seed. At least the ducks like fossicking in amongst the strappy leaves. But it’s good nutrient for composting, so each summer as the water disappears I cut it down with hedge clippers and add it to the compost. When the rains come and the pools fill again, I get a couple of months of seeing actual water, before it all regrows again.

This is the second pool, looking towards the third. There is water in it, but it’s not exactly visible unless you’re standing right beside it. It is good frog habitat though (I’ve recorded 6 species), and a White-faced Heron comes regularly and stands quietly in the water, making frequent darts at edible goodies :

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The path on the right runs the full length of the property, from the house to the rear fence. On the right (south side) of the path is the food forest and on the north side of the pools is remnant bush, so it divides the property into 2 areas—conservation and food-growing.

I’m now thinking about what to do with area 2. Most of the woodlot trees have either died and fallen over, or fallen over while living and I’ve been removing them and tidying up the area. This is what it looks like at the moment :

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I’m thinking of extending the food forest into area 2. I’ve started to dig a few swales, with a view to planting fruit trees and I allowed edible chickweed to take over as a ground cover through the winter and spring. It has all died back now, but has left a useful legacy of millions of seeds. That’s self-sown Warrigal Greens (New Zealand Spinach) on the left and I’ve raked sticks into a hugelkulture mound with swale behind, on the right.  As a food forest it won’t get any watering, so I need to think about what I plant that will tolerate what are probably going to be drier and hotter summers. It means doing some research about plants that will survive with an average rainfall of 640 mm annually (about 25 inches). That’s the next big project.

What I’m going to do now is take a walk from the house down the path to the back fence (about 150 metres) taking photos all the way on the right hand side of the path. The bush will be on the left. So here we go.

I’m standing with the house about 2 metres behind me. First up, in the background, are some Manna Gums, not close enough to ever fall on the house, but big enough to flatten anything they did fall on :

Just some native plants underneath at present :

Past the first lot of Manna Gums and some more native plants and a couple more Manna Gums. There’s feijoa, redcurrant and tamarillo on the left. They’re planted in the drainage line that takes the grey water from the house. Never any watering needed there :

The gums aren’t very healthy and have already lost some huge branches. Further down the path—there are some hugelkultur beds just visible on the left of the path, with asparagus, rhubarb and an espaliered Granny Smith apple :

The seat is where I cut my kindling wood, with a bow saw (lay the branch on the seat, hold it down with a foot and cut—no, the branch, not the foot) :

Beyond that is a bath where I’ve been collecting rainwater and then comes the compost tumbler :

The bath is going to be converted into a dedicated potato bed and I’ve been filling it with weeds and prunings to compost down in preparation. There’s still water in it and I’ll have to reach down through the gunk and find the plug to pull before I can get the potato bed going. That’s a pumpkin sprawling over the top of the kindling heap.

Behind the tumbler are 2 compost heaps inside wire cages and an elderly compost bin, acquired from a friend who didn’t want it. The bin takes weeds and shares veggie scraps with the worm farm, which is under the house. One of the compost heaps (with the blue tarp), takes the material from the composting toilet and the other takes just weeds and other debris. Slow composting. I’m not into tossing stuff around with a pitchfork. Haven’t got the energy anymore :

We’re now coming to the main food forest area and the row of crop circles in the foreground. Behind are citrus trees—Japanese Seedless Mandarin, Valencia Orange, Washington Navel Orange and Lisbon Lemon. Behind them, an Imperial Mandarin that doesn’t do well. Oh, it produces lots of mandarins, but they’re only golf ball size, if that. I generally don’t bother picking them. I read that Imperials don’t do well in Melbourne. I think it’s more a case of it doesn’t get enough summer water for its liking and it’s at the top of the slope, so probably a bit too well drained. I’ve dug individual small swales behind each fruit tree and I fill these with water once a week during summer. I’ve planted 5 tamarillos within the crop circles, thinking that when I watered the veggies in the circles the tamarillos would get watered too. They survive OK but those big floppy leaves need a lot of water and they eventually end up as trunks with all the leaves at the top (the one in the foreground is newly planted) :

A bit further down and there’s a lime in the back row and in front an apricot (Moor Park variety), a self-sown plum, a couple of d’Anjou pears and a seedling Red Delicious apple (hasn’t set a lot of fruit—it’s due for the chop). The thornless blackberries are under the net on the left. This section on the right is at the bottom of the slope, there are no swales for each fruit tree and they seem to do well enough without a lot of summer watering. I suspect water is moving down through the soil from the swales on the slope above :

Further down the path (the 3 pools are now on my left) and there’s a quince, loquat, plums further back and asparagus (gone to fern) in front. Somewhere in there as well, there’s a dwarf Stella cherry, 2 pears, 2 apples and a seedling-grown apricot :

Now we’re coming to area 2 which is what I want to open up as another food forest. There’s a couple of huge wattles beside the path (a Black Wattle and a Blackwood) and a seat that has seen better days which, if you sit on it (don’t try it until I’ve hammered all the nails back in), you will be facing the third pool in front of you:

Now we’re past the seat and another shot of the area I want to add to the food forest :

We’re almost at the end of the path—it curves round to the left here and runs along the rear of the property, but since a huge branch of a Swamp Gum (half the tree, in fact), fell across it, there’s no access. The neighbour behind me says he will come and cut it up for me when I’m ready. He’ll get the big logs (which I can’t split) and I’ll get the smaller stuff. There’s a gravel path under all those leaves—just haven’t raked it for a while :

Finally, a couple of photos of the bush section. There are numerous walking and maintenance tracks through it.

From the deck :

Further in :

Along one of the walking tracks :

And that’s about it. It’s a lot of work, looking after the food-growing areas and managing the bush, but I couldn’t go back to living in quarter-acre suburbia again. It is so quiet here; the neighbours are far enough away to not be visible or audible (yet they are friendly and helpful when you do see them) and it’s amazing how the presence of so many trees moderates the climate by creating coolness on hot days. I am incredibly fortunate to live here.

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21 Responses to “Home, home on the range…..”

  1. narf7 Says:

    Good lord, where do I start! What an amazing property you have Bev and it’s only like that because you have worked so hard and been so studious in learning how to manage and maintain it. Its easier to understand what you are talking about now when you talk about various aspects of your garden, food forest and bushland as now I can see where they actually are in relation to your home. I am getting quite excited seeing what has and hasn’t worked for you. I think we share a common soil with heavy clay base. I get the feeling it’s the Aussie norm unless you live on the coast and have limestone and sand. We have the added (dubious) ‘benefit’ of rocks everywhere to add to the equation. It’s great to have ready bed markers etc. but you have to dig and lug them so not so easy on the back.

    Do you have many wallabies on your property? I am guessing the crop circles assist in preventing them from scoffing what you grow? I put a similar wire circle around a small area of Jerusalem artichokes that grew in a pile of compost outside the protected areas (where it’s a free-for-all with whichever segment of nature decides to predate it the first) and they have survived sans water and although they aren’t doing that well, they are still alive.

    I might take note of your crop circle idea as it would be cheap to implement, would give some protection to the plants inside and I might start attempting to grow more outside Sanctuary etc. I just have to ensure that the possums don’t fancy it. They eat just about everything around here including loquat leaves that are tough as old boots! I might have to start growing pumpkins as they should be safe from rats as the feral cats would scoff them with glee.

    Reading this post shows me that you have incredible determination and drive Bev. What you have done to get your property to where it is now is amazing. I am in awe of your vision for your property and how you went about getting it to become a reality. I haven’t thought much about hugels etc. and would love some ponds down at the bottom of the property as we have such a steep slope that in winter everything runs off into the Tamar river. It would be good to be able to have some water stay put on the property. We do know a few people with earth moving equipment. Might be time to start saving up methinks.

    How does chickweed go in dry situations? It looks like yours is doing well (along with the N.Z. spinach) I got a few sprigs with roots from a walking track that I was bouncing along behind Earl on and planted them in Sanctuary as I want a decent green mulch growing around and under the fruit, avocado etc. trees in there. I also planted oca in there and they are going mental so hopefully they keep some of the soil moisture from evaporating along with the mulch I have been collecting from the park over the other side of the Batman bridge (whenever they mow it. Free mulch!)

    Its lovely to see the little areas that you use for different purposes Bev. Thank you so much for illustrating your property and how you have set it out to us all. It’s a truly valuable resource to look at and I am saving this post in PDF format so that I can use it to look at and work out how to do things here. We have a much more severe gradient on our property so its slightly different but we have bushland as well as a tangle of weedy jungle down from the house. I wonder if I could plant that area out with a food forest?

    We are thinking about running our grey water down through the garden profile like you do. We use safe products (as we have a septic) and its a complete waste of this valuable resource. We would just have to unhook it from where it goes into the septic line and reroute it someplace else. I don’t blame you for not tossing compost around. I will send you some of my young and most determined (and stupid) chickens to toss it around for you if you like. Earl keeps their numbers down as when they come inside the house fence they are declared ‘toys’ and I often find a spent chook on the lawn when it has expired mid ‘play’.

    I need to get hold of some comfrey STAT. SO many ideas now! Thank you again for sharing this excellent post Bev. You are a true and most generous guru indeed 🙂

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Fran, thanks, as always, for the generous comments and the exchange of info as to how things work in your neck of the woods.
      To answer your questions: there used to be wallabies in the general area some years ago. When we first bought the land, we found wallaby droppings down the back, but I have never sighted any here. After the fires we had here (just after we bought the land, but hadn’t built), many people got the wind up and cleared their properties, so I don’t think there would be enough habitat for wallabies any more. We do have the odd echidna pottering about though.
      Chickweed is an annual which germinates with the autumn rains and grows through the winter months, then flowers, sets seed and dies back as the weather warms, so I assume it wouldn’t like dryness. After the rain we just had, there are tiny seedlings everywhere. I mostly pull it up for the chooks, but sometimes stick it in a sandwich.
      The wire circles are made with rolls of wire from Bunnings which are 90 cm wide. I cut them in half, hence the 45 cm height. I would have liked them to be a tad taller, but it would have meant a short section which wouldn’t have been much good for anything. The circles keep out the baby bunnies, but a big one can reach up and chew plants round the edges and one day I surprised one who had actually jumped into a circle. He tried to pretend I couldn’t see him, but I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and gave him a good fright before he got away. The blackbirds still get in there and toss the mulch around, so when I sow seed or plant small seedlings I just peg a piece of netting over the top till the plants are big enough to be OK. You could try wires circles with netting over the top to keep out the possums, but you’d need a decent height for any plant that was tall. Most veggies are OK because they’re short.

      I was lucky that this post got through. I’ve been writing it and adding to it for ages….when I hit publish it disappeared and I couldn’t find it! It wasn’t at the blog and it wasn’t in the trash. It turned out that it had so many edits, going back to last December, that it had got confused and posted itself according to the very first save and so it appeared in amongst last December’s posts. Took me an hour’s panicking and Googling WordPress for help to find where it was.(I’m going to save this reply before I hit the button in case I lose this too,…..bl**dy WordPress!!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • narf7 Says:

        I think we do things upside-down-topsy-turvy here on Serendipity Farm. The chickweed runs through summer and then dies back. I have been throwing it out to the chooks of late as a fair bit of it grew in my wicking beds and I allowed it to grow as green mulch. I love the taste of it as I think it tastes like corn.

        I think your wire circle idea has some serious merit for here. It’s cheap to implement, it works and I can heap up compost in there which will soften the soil underneath it and give the worms habitat as well. I could also run a drip line to each circle and water them that way. This year has been a true revelation when it comes to watering. I know it’s been cooler and milder than most years but I have only had to water about twice a week thanks to the drip irrigation, tonnes of mulch heaped up in Sanctuary (I have a stack in chook wheat bags waiting to be reapplied when needed including the last lot of bedding hay from the chook shed) and the brilliant wicking beds and I have gained back my early summer mornings where once I was out there at 4.30am watering till at least 6.30am by hand and often having to do it every single day with most of my veggies wilting by the evening.

        The possums have stripped anything vaguely rose like on the property of leaves at the moment. We have a lot of wild roses and they have scoffed their leaves as well. They can be pretty ruthless about what they eat and can leave something all year and then the hungry gap comes and suddenly the old mandarin tree out near the chook yard has no leaves left on it. They are voracious eaters.

        That’s incredible that WordPress posted your post back in December?! I wonder why it did that? I guess you were saving your draft and adding to it so it decided to post it back when you initially started saving it. I have a post in draft as well. I will learn from your lesson! WordPress is a bollocks but I have to admit. I keep getting new followers to this blog no matter how sporadically I post where back on my self hosted site, I never got a single new follower and lost a fair few of my old ones. I guess the S.E.O. on WordPress.com is much better and we don’t realise how much work they do in the background to promote our posts. I am just glad I am not on Blogger as that REALLY sucks. The hoops that I have to jump through to get a comment posted are ridiculous and several older style Blogger blogs I can’t even post on at all. I am following one that has amazing vegan food and I can’t even thank them for their hard work so goodness only knows how many WordPress followers they have that they don’t realise that they do as they can’t comment!

        Cheers for putting up with my big comments Bev. I just get excited whenever I read your posts because they are cram packed full of excellent and most useful information that I can apply here. I feel like I have won the lottery when I read a post like your last one as there is so much that I can use in our own situation as your soil is very similar to ours and we are both living in the Aussie bush so tend to have the same/similar problems with wildlife etc. I have a (sodding) blackbird that has been scoffing my tomatoes and strawberries inside Narnia. We used the existing wide mesh fence as part of the build to save money and I think I am going to have to put more mesh on the fence as the blackbird is squeezing in through the wide mesh and scarfing everything that looks tasty to it. I have San Mazano tomatoes attempting to ripen and it has scoffed all of my Gross Lisse (the bollocks). Mutter mutter! Nature always seems to find a way doesn’t it?

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        • foodnstuff Says:

          I had a Blogger blog once. Blogger is the pits….and so are blackbirds.I hate them even more than rabbits….if that’s possible!

          Liked by 1 person

          • narf7 Says:

            My biggest hate is blackberries. I HATE them. I go at them like I am fighting for the allies and no matter how many scratches I get (that just makes me more furious at the sodding things) I keep going till I hack them to the ground. I don’t use poison so they grow back but that just gives me another go at them 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • foodnstuff Says:

              I hack them back to the ground, too, then I dig out the roots. Sometimes I just have to use poison. I select one of the thickest stems, cut it back (horizontal) to a point where I can get to it, then slowly drip undiluted glyphosate onto it, waiting as it’s sucked into the plant. Works a treat and will kill the whole clump.

              Liked by 1 person

              • narf7 Says:

                I did that with a tonne of glyphosate in the lower (jungle) part of the garden. We were trained how to cut and paste and drill and paint etc. at TAFE when we were studying horticulture so I knew what I was doing BUT the bastards grew back. I couldn’t see the rest of my life hacking, painting deadly poison and digging out blackberry bastards from our rocky soil so I made a decision to focus all of my angst against them and just keep mutilating them on a regular basis. I figure that one day they are going to give up!

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Specks Says:

    Thank you for the tour Bev. I am awed by your dedication. Best wishes, Specks.

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  3. Chris Says:

    It’s great to see your set up. Thanks for sharing. I can appreciate how much effort goes into this kind of posts.

    Our veg patch is only about 10 metres away, but I really think annual edibles should be planted close to the house, as yours are. You’re more likely to spot problems, provide remedies and harvest, when it’s so close to the house. I can see why you changed your set-up.

    I like the idea of ponds too. It’s amazing the life which can spring from a little depression in the ground, which collects water. Ours dry fairly quickly over summer, as I have no real shade around them. But yours look super healthy. I also like that you have all those paths, with the rest filled out with garden. Lots of work, but I’m sure a labour of love. 🙂

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Chris. I hope it remains a labour of love. I’d hate to think what I would do if it wasn’t…go shopping perhaps!! 😦

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  4. notsomethingelse Says:

    Quite a story, Bev. I’ll need to read through it again. Thanks for sharing.

    Easy to see that you have been and are doing some good things there. That’s pretty encouraging and inspiring to others, including me.

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  5. Jane Says:

    Fantastic post and so timely for me as I have recently decided the orchard idea will never work on my patch and have started to try and change it to a food forest. I managed to dig two small and one larger Swales before we just had some really good rain. Just haven’t managed to finish planting the berms with trees yet. I think I will keep coming back to this post to keep me inspired and for some great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Jane, thanks for the comments and glad you found the post useful. Just one comment: it’s never recommended that you plant trees on the actual swale mounds (berms as the Americans call them), because it’s assumed that these will be loose material that was actually dug out of the swales and large trees anyway, won’t root down properly and will be more likely to blow over. Now I realise that by ‘trees’ you probably mean fruit trees and that these will be kept small so you can easily harvest the fruit, but it’s worth doing some more reading on the subject just to be sure there are no disappointments in the future. On large properties, swales are usually bigger than we gardeners would do in our smaller situations, and ‘big’ trees are planted behind, or in front of, swales, not in the loose soil, in order to shade the swale and prevent water loss by evaporation. The actual mounds are planted with small plants and groundcovers that will hold the soil together. I dug my swales behind the already-existing fruit trees and the (small) mounds are actually behind the trees. If I was starting from scratch (i.e. dig swale before planting), I would still plant the tree on the lower side of the swale, not on top in the loose soil. Of course, I don’t know how big your swales are, or the extent of the slope you’re dealing with, so this is meant to be a comment, not a criticism or anything. Let’s know how it goes.

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  6. Jane Says:

    Hi Bev,
    Thanks for that reply. From reading about swales I got the impression the trees were planted on the mounds, thanks for putting me right before before I went too far. My swales are quite small, the longest one about 6 meters but I have been pleased to see they are doing what I hoped for with the rain we have had so far. I have got some initial ground cover going on them. One of the short swales was dug on the uphill side of a citrus tree which was struggling for lack of water in the summer and then being hit by frost and often a lack of water in the winter, so it will be interesting to see how it fares over the next 12 months. When we do have a good downpour the water runs through my place from the surrounding properties like rivers and yet a few days later we are back to dust again. I am really pinning my last hope of growing anything, on the swales. If they don’t work I don’t know what else to try. The bottles work well for the vegetables but I want more than that, so I want to keep the water on my land as long as possible. The slope of my land is quite gentle, you are never aware of walking up or downhill.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Oh, wow! 6 metres is much longer than any of mine. My longest would be about 2 metres and most are just a metre or so, mainly because I dug them to suit the width of the fruit trees that were already there and well established.
      If you’ve got water running through the property like you say, then swales are going to make a huge difference in capturing that water and soaking it into the ground. It’s obvious from what you say that it isn’t soaking in if the ground is still dry even after heavy rain. Will be interested to see how you go. If you want to do a guest post on my blog (with photos…before and after) I’d be happy to put it up.

      Check out Brad Lancaster and his website. I have his book.

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  7. Jane Says:

    https://permies.com/t/28896/Swale-berm-planting-suggestions
    http://pointreturn.com/2009/12/swales
    Hi Bev,
    I found quite a few suggestions for planting on the swale mounds. Geoff Lawtons greening the desert movie got me started as l thought if he could grow food there I should surely have a garden of Eden here. The two sites above finally got me digging and the pointreturn article and slideshow really inspired me to do the hard work! Now I’m feeling a bit confused, still the Swales I have dug so far have caught a lot of water from the usual runoff. So that is good.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Jane, thanks for the videos….will try and watch them tonight. The Greening the Desert videos are certainly inspiring…..Geoff Lawton seems to have the magic touch.

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  8. Jane Says:

    Well with a head full of swales and confusion I went and made a banana cake and by the time I had the first bite I realised your argument for not planting on the mounds made too much sense to ignore. My swales after all are only small hand dug ones, so when I get my trees they will be planted in the ground next to the mound. However I will leave the three small citrus trees already planted in the mound of one of the small swales just to see what happens eventually.
    Thank you for the offer of doing a guest post. I have no idea how to do that you would have to tell me what to do. I did take a couple of photos with my old iPhone when I started to dig and you can see how dry it was, and also when the swales first filled.
    Thanks also for the Brad Lancaster link very interesting. I will see if I can get his books from the library.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I think if your swale mounds are small it really doesn’t matter so much what you plant on them. It seems that the recommendations really deal with planting huge trees on huge swale mounds, which is where you can get into trouble. Your small citrus trees shouldn’t be any trouble.

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