I can't think of any way that subsurface irrigation will interfere with your swales - they are both designed to infiltrate water into the soil. The only issue would be accidentally cutting into your pipes when you lay out the swales. If you place your swales below the irrigation you might get water welling up into the swales - but so long as it is fairly clean water that won't be a problem. If you did end up with a semipermanent spring you could turn it into a reed bed or something.
Point(s) noted. Even if it was 12 years, that's cool. Its only small scale and more of a trial than anything else.
But knowing that If I was to do something on a large scale (which would only come after successful trials), I'd make sure I had contingencies ready for around the 10 year mark.
So have you got any guild success stories with the nects/peaches grasshopper? I ended up with a big list on paper and got a little lost in the stacking side of it all, in terms of harvesting. ...But also trying to maximise marketable produce withing the guild.
..And what varieties of nects/peaches are we talking about? Is it worth making attempts to start from seed?
Try Bill's introduction to permaculture, not so weighty and plenty of the bones to absorb. Also, I recommend a bus ride down to Adelaide to see what the Galwer Food Forest is up to.
Originally Posted by youngwarrior
Sorry eco, didn't see you there!
-that sub-system is playing with my head a bit. I assumed..that any water would drain away from the block to where ever the pipe goes. So if this water (was of usable quality) was intercepted I too thought it could fill swales...this is where I get confused.. that water is then going to seep back into that ground(from swale), through the sub-surface system and then back into the swale????is that right? and as this water is cycled through the system is it possible to get the quality better each time? and is this a perpetual thing or will the water eventually 'dry up'??..surely?
As water evaporates you'll get it lost to the system so yes you'll need to add more. If you are on mains supply or filling tanks with rain and using that water to feed your subsurface system you'll achieve that. The 'book' says that the best place to store water is your soil.
I think the swale would get filled by mains initially(or tanks before a big rain). With the swale also receiving the diverted water from sub-surface drainage system.
so if the drainage system is 3-4 feet down, does that mean that any soil below that will be deprived of water? -with the understanding that the water drains away as it reaches the drainage system.
I can't work out if that is a bad thing or not. It sounds good one way -essentially the swale needs filling less frequently.
But if the swale needs filling less frequently that means more of the water is being taken from where I want it(the soil), to just put it back there again!!!
so it's not logical to have both(swale and sub-surface drainage). the end result is a system that comprimises a swale, but makes up for it by contributing to that same swale. which in effect is comprimising the swale further, as it can only supply 3-4 feet of soil with water.
I'm not sure on what you mean by filling the swale with mains supply. Swales are to capture run off from rain events - or excess from a rain tank or grey water. You may as well water the garden with a hose rather than fill a swale up with one.
Like any storage system there will be times when there is less water 'banked' in the soil and times when there is plenty. That's Ok because plants have evolved with that since the dawn of time.
My stupid comment about filling it with mains was partly due to misinterpreting your comment, but also because I was thinking more so about the sub-surface system than the swale.
I realise swales are to catch run off but I'm in a low rainfall area so run off is pretty scarce.
Here’s another stupid question, do you ‘irrigate’(in some way) even when you have swales or do you rely only on the swale?
Sorry about my knowledge base eco, but I am here to learn and do appreciate your comments. My brain is trying to think in permaculture mode but I've also got a father (former broad acre farmer) in one ear preaching about how Permaculture/swales don't work if you don't live in high rainfall areas.
Like any question in permaculture the answer is - it depends. Ideally you aim towards growing plants that are suited to your local circumstances that don't need irrigation - other than perhaps the first few weeks to get them established. It's not the best use of resources to plant water hungry plants in a desert and then run a pump 24 / 7! But sometimes you need to be pragmatic - there may be things that you need to grow that do need irrigation.
I have rain water tanks so I can water the garden in a dry spell - but it is the vege beds I'm watering not the fruit trees. That's what I mean by being pragmatic. If I want to eat corn and lettuce I need to accept that I will need to water.
Swales are actually most useful in arid areas. If you are in a wet climate rain falls from the skin often enough to water everything without needing additional help. In most arid areas rain falls in massive but isolated events - so you need to be able to capture every last drop of it before it runs off your property. Swales are about being prepared in advance for those maximal rain events - not for average rain fall. So they need to be large enough to capture the biggest rain event that you get each year. That's the approach Geoff used in Jordan to establish the greening the desert site. There are a number of good presentations on dry land permaculture from last years Jordan Permaculture Convergence - if you look out on the main page of the website and search for Jordan - you should be able to find them. Make dad some pop corn and sit him in front of a few...