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Before & After - swales

This week we celebrate the anniversary of our Back to La Tierra project. It is 2 years ago that we received our first guests in our Sand Studio. On this first photo of this week's BEFORE & AFTER series, you can see the result of two years of permaculture in action.

A LOT of observing, studying, talking, thinking and designing had to happen before picking up a shovel. Also a lot more was needed than shovels to move enormous amounts of earth and create sufficient depth for the swales. Simon is your man if you need this work done to perfection and if you appreciate reliability and timeliness. Also, he's a really nice guy. Levelling and digging the first swales took about 5 days of mini-digger work.

A special thank you to Michiel Arts, our permaculture guru, who stressed the importance of being meticulous in getting the levels just right and took out his ruler every 10 minutes to double check them all. We thank him practically every day. Swales constitute the foundation of every permaculture project and we can not stress this enough in our courses. On any land, even if you do not have immediate plans to go become a die hard permie, swales will not only help to limit watering your garden when the weather gets warmer but it will also protect you from floods. Swales is the way to go (see our previous post on this here).

What have we learned in these 2 years about this part of the garden:

  • don't get a puppy in this phase (hahaha!) they undo the meticulous work in 2 minutes

  • sow berm (higher part) immediately after digging the swale with a good cover crop

  • get roots in the ground everywhere! any roots are better than no roots (which means cut possible weeds instead of uprooting them)


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