In Permaculture Projects, Water

Last year, we did a series of videos looking at the swale systems on our property and demonstration site. Part one looks at how we’ve combined the featuress of a Hügelkultur system, a wicking bed, and swales to nourish a productive garden that requires very little additional irrigation:

Check out Part 2 and 3 on our video on swales

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Showing 6 comments
  • Jesse Stacken

    Hello Rob. Thanks for all the info. I’ve checked out all the videos and all the comments, but I’m wondering a couple things. You say you’ve put holes weeping tile. Where are they drilled? Sides, top, or all over? And how far apart are the holes?

    Also, you mentioned in your wicking bed video that swales too close to a house can be a problem. How far away from the house do they need to be?


    • Rob Avis


      Weeping tile already has holes in it. On Swales… I like to keep swales at least 10ft from the house foundation.

      Thanks for the comment,

  • Julia

    What is it that wicks the water from the swales into the garden beds? Is it the contact of the swale mulch with the soil below the bed? How does the water get up to the plant roots – especially the young plant roots of new transplants and sprouts?
    (I am so excited to see these videos. I am planning something similar but had no idea there were others doing the same. Thank you!)

    • Rob Avis

      Its all capillary motion driven. Soil naturally wicks. Mulch wicks and stores water. The mulch also harbors mycillium which acts as a water pump to the plants.

  • john

    what kind of wood is the mulch

    • Rob Avis

      What ever I can get for free. Cedar, gum, or camphor is not a good choice. Spruce, pine, poplar are all good. I work with local arborists to get free mulch.


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urban swales: Part Two