Saturday, 12 April 2014

Swales and other gardening adventures

I am a bit of a magpie where gardening is concerned.

My gardening inspirations include
as well as practical 'TV' gardeners like
I have benefited from all of these people's ideas to address some of the problems I face, particularly how to mitigate water run off from my sloping block, and mitigate the hot summer northwesterly winds that blast up the hill.

For example, over the years I have created my Edna-Walling-curved back lawn.  However I did not simply make a level lawn - oh no!  I had read about the tremendous benefits of making your lawn into a swale in Don Burke's book, 'The Lazy Gardener,'  So that is what I did!  It took me two summers, but I did it.

My gently swale-shaped lawn has worked beautifully - while you can hardly tell it dips along the centre, it now stays green through most of the summer because it captures and holds water longer, with any excess water (mostly) flowing down to my veggie patches.  I am still amazed at how such a simple strategy like this works!

Now I think I might need more swales.

The unusual amount of rain (actual puddles and rivulets!!) has given me another opportunity to assess how water is moving through other areas of my garden - and I can see that the neglected area of the garden between the fence and the driveway is a bit of a problem.

The shape of the earth and mulch above show me that a considerable amount of water is flowing from next door under the fence.  While some of it collects here (next to the bottom of my veggie patch) . . .

. . . most of the water is lost down my driveway.

I will have to solve this by 'swale-ing' the land to re-direct the water, so it it not lost.

Addendum: I wrote the above a few days ago.  The last couple of days have been windy, and the rain seems to have blown away for now.  However I have not only been truly thankful for the lovely soaking rain, but also I have greatly appreciated the opportunity the rain has given for me to stop and explore these ideas to change things for the better.


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