Permaculture Literacy – HHA

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  • Jennifer Evers says:

    I live in Virginia; cfa is the code based on the scale presented in the climate zone lesson watched previously. As far as brittleness goes, I’m thinking I’m somewhere in the middle leaning towards the lower numbers on this scale. Here’s my question—we have periods of intense humidity as well as lots of rain—at least it has been this way lately. I’m not nervous about doing something to the land as much as I am unsure about how to manage the two opposing parts of my climate. I live in an area built on top of natural springs, but the land compacts so easily be cause of the summer sun followed by pooling of water on top of this because of the crust formed with intense sun and humidity in the summer months. How would building a swail benefit my land when water is abundant but yet not readily absorbed because of how compact it is? This is where I struggle—I have mostly flat land that used to be farmland and yet areas of the land pool with water anytime we get a good downpour. Would it be more beneficial to capture this rainfall with rain barrels or build a swail? There is some slope to the land, but slight and this is where the water tends to collect. How exactly do I use this to the advantage of rebuilding my land? I am worried that without the right planning, I’ll only make the water pooling worse and not more beneficial to the concept of holistic management.

    • Bret James says:

      Jennifer – this is a big question and might bet better suited for our Q&A if I don’t answer completely enough in this comment. Swales in wet landscapes are sometimes not needed, if the soil has consistent moisture, and might even cause problems. So it might not benefit your land. The key question is: does this landscape need more water? If not then no swale needed. But if there are areas that are too wet and areas that are too dry then yes a swale might be beneficial to balance out the water from one area to another. Ponding is only a problem if the area is needed to be used for something, or there is another area that is too dry, and I would interpret ponding as a good thing (at least it’s not running off and has a chance to absorb).Swales A soil test will give you an idea of your soils water holding capacity (both from knowing the ratio of sand/silt/clay and looking at the CEC level on a laboratory analysis). Now compaction and crusting are expected if the wet areas are in use, so the ideal thing is to keep equipment and people off the area. Also, is the area bare or thick with grasses, clovers etc? The latter will prevent much of the soil crusting. Yes you are correct that you having a good understanding of exactly how to manage the different areas of your land is important! Let me know if we need to take this conversation into further depth on Facebook or in the Q&A Jennifer.

  • Teresa Woods says:

    I appreciated this one because it hit the nail on the head for me. I have been frozen over not knowing what to do and living in the fear of making it worse. . . Gaining the confidence to move forward is exactly why I signed up for this course.


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