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The Paddock
The Paddock
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Burt Road, Woodanilling, Western Australia, AU
Climate zone:
Warm Temperate

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The Paddock

The Paddock

Woodanilling, AU

Alexandra Berendt Andrew Williamson Janice Ross Salah Hammad Terry Haven Valeria Andrews Zeljko Serdar

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Digging the first swale

Project: The Paddock

Posted by Amanda McLennan over 12 years ago

After originally believing that we needed to survey our entire site and hire a digger to dig a swale we were inspired to dig a mini-swale ourselves by hand.

August 2011

I subscribe to a variety of permaculture blogs and received one last year showing a man digging a swale the width and depth of a shovel head, having marked the contour of his land using a home-made A-frame level. I regret to admit I cannot find this blog entry anywhere to give you a link however it inspired me to do the same on our land in order to have a swale in the short term without the need for expensive equipment.

Having asked Mike to build me the A-frame level (here's a great picture of one I found on www.thegardenhound.com), A-frame levelI purchased one can of spray paint and some mulch then loaded two of our potted trees, a selection of seeds, two EcoBags and the shovel in the car and off we went to La Bella Vita to dig our first swale!

Using the A-frame level to find a contour about 4 metres long, we spray painted the contour and dug as accurately as possible along the line. The dirt removed from the swale was piled onto the down-hill slope and into this we planted one eucalypt and one avocado tree. We selected these particular trees only because they were the biggest of our potted trees and needed to be planted out as soon as possible.

Mike pushed a variety of pea, bean and other seeds into the dug-out swale then the mulch went over the top of the swale bank. One EcoBag was put around the stem of each tree and filled with water, as we would not be back to visit the trees for at least a month... in the end it was THREE months before we returned to see the fate of our trees... and swale.

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