Digging swales and crescent ponds to green my high desert homestead

Digging swales and crescent ponds to green my high desert homestead

Another project I've been working on is extending the swales on my property to reach the outer perimeter.

Anywhere water would naturally accumulate, I have been carving out cresent shaped ponds and, in some cases, larger, more natural shaped ponds. After years of experience with swales, I have found that the swales hold water for roughly six months between rain and snow. This means that I should be able to start planting native drought-tolerant plants around the perimeter and drive. I'll also be putting down 5lbs of alfalfa, and I'll plant arugula out there once my plants come to seed. This is an exciting expansion for me as I will be able to see my land turn green way out where I could never water regularly. If you're ever between projects and need something affordable to enhance your property, you can always pull out the shovel and dig. 

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They’re definitely a great addition. I can tell more now than ever how much they affect water retention. The swales are all greening up and when the monsoons come, it’s going to be a beautiful thing.

Frugal Off Grid

Damn practical tips! We’re about to fence in a garden on a gentle slop, and I’m thinking swales and ponds around it will be pretty important.

Maurice Smith

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