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Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:07 pm
by duane

the holes cut in your 'swale/contour' is a potential risk.

The potential is to cause a head wall cut. This could cause your structures to fail.

A better solution would pav been to put a pipe thru with a plug in it. This way you HAVE control over the flows.

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:33 pm
by Adrian
The manure we use is mainly pig waste, but also we have a small feed lot for the cattle also. The pig waste has alot of straw mixed in with it which comes out of our eco shelters that we use for housing the pigs inside of.
Try putting the manure in a pile along the top side of the swales you have. By doing this the water can bank up agaist it and seep through taking with it the godness of the waste.
We spread out about 2,000,000 kilograms of pig waste over the crop paddock which was about 120acres in size. This almost had a full cover over the top of the soil before we worked it back into the soil to stop oxidising of the waste.
In your case were you have you ground cover i would go with the piles of manure at about 3 to 4 foot high along the top side of your swales and then again half way down to your next swale.
Thats if you can get enough manure to do the job your after, otherwise just stick with going along the top of the swales.

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:06 pm
by brettmtl
I love your optimism Duane, it would seriously need to rain for two weeks to get any sort of head wall cut. The Operator who cut them suggested placing straw bales in each cut if I want to stop flow.
I am thinking about placing 100mm of wood chips in each one, to slow water flow down and build up carbon content.

Or as you suggested Adrian I could use pig waste. Thanks it is a great idea. There is a piggery 10 km away and I will see if they can help.
Man you must be in action, spreading that much mulch.
Was there any adverse effect on soil ph and so forth, or did the land love it?


Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:38 am
by duane
Peter talks of TWO very important criteria in the Australian landscape in regards to water movement and these man-made structures, PLUS water movement and natural barriers, that is:

Firstly, they have to built in such a way as they STOP the minimum erosion from occuring, and
Secondly, they have an unlimited maximum, which during flood conditions moves fertility from the hollows to the high ground.

These two things are key when planning your 'structures'.

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:57 pm
by Adrian
Secondly, they have an unlimited maximum, which during flood conditions moves fertility from the hollows to the high ground.
Duane does that count for the one in 100 year flood or the one in 20 year flood? :lol:

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:48 pm
by duane
1 in 100

slowing the flow

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:24 am
by Shirley Henderson
Can't you get weeds to grow in this gully type cut. When I saw the picture it looked to me like one of those dried out landscapes with giant cracks. If you imagine this to be a tiny cracked landscape instead of a large one. Quick growing weeds will soon fill it with mulch. I see potential for drying out further if you dont do something soon to retain any moisture that comes your way. Am I right or wrong. I am learning too.

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:21 pm
by Adrian
Shirley as far as i can tell he has no cattle on his property so as the rain events come and go the plant matter will over time cover the whole area.
Once this is done then he will have enough moisture in the soil to help the trees that he plants to grow with out the help of watering by hand.
The cooler months are coming again so the weeds and grasses will soon cover the area to shelter the earth for the next summer, I'm sure we will see more cover this time next year and even some extra growing time over summer with the increase of moisture trap under the dead plants.
Large cracks are not such a bad thing after all!
When a large rain event happens the water that would move across the top of the soil is now deep into the landscape trapping more for when the plants need it more. This is what Peter had talked about in his books in times of drought, by digging the paddocks up and having hard hooved animals crushing the soil to fill the cracks the benifits are lost in the next rain event, the seeds get trapped into the cracks and then when the water come the seeds can have plenty to start to germinate.
It's all in a matter of time, which is one thing that the earth has plenty of!

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:09 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Thanks Adrian and Brett. I will be following your posts and landscape pictures. I will be watching and sincerely supporting your efforts.

about the channels

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:00 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Hi Brett, I would love to hear what is happening on your land. We have had a lot of rain where I am. How about where you are. Is it greening up?

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:51 pm
by brettmtl
Hi Shirley,

There is a fair bit of cover at the moment, thanks for asking. Currently making seed balls, like chocolate truffles, instead, you blend compost and clay and place within a tree seed. I am using blackwood seeds.
Then allow these small balls about 3cm round to dry.
I can then walk around property and place them where I want trees to grow. A Japanese bloke developed this technique, Masanobu Fukuoka
This way the seed is protected and only grows when conditions are right. Garden Guerillas also use seedballs for roadside and freeway plantings.

Also was re-reading Back from the Brink and noticed that Peter says to use two swales. So I now realise my swale is only 20% complete
I couldn't quite work out why. Does anyone know?

Through reading rainforest regeneration books, they also say to use the double swale. In between the swales bury a waterproof liner, so water will sit in the middle and store rain and increase the humidity until the trees are established.
It is also a way of artificially creating a higher water table, especially when the nearest creek is KM's away

So am currently looking at options for the liner.
Spoke to a rubber recycling place that make liner but it will cost a small fortune.

What does Peter or anyone else who has done this know?

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:17 am
by Ian James
Certain minerals such as kaolin can be laid at the base of water holding excavations to seal,plug and prevent leakage.

It is possible to purchase large quantities of this powdery substance and spread over areas where sealant is required.

This method is commonly used in the outback in situations where a good catchment is found but constructed reservoirs fail due to lack of water holding particles within the soil.

I have a hunch this technique may be your answer.

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:07 am
by duane

this is Willy Smits excellent video ... orest.html

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:14 am
by duane
You can also use animals to make seedballs...simply add seed to hay in the area where you want the plants to grow and the seed comes out in its 'own compost' heap.

Let Nature do most of the work for you...I have seen amazing results using this technique with both sheep and cattle but no reason why other animals such as horses, birds etc could not be used.

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:17 pm
by brettmtl
That is very interesting Ian, I will find out where I can get some and trial an area. It makes a lot of sense and I have often wondered about the perched lakes of Fraser Island and what forms the seal in otherwise sand. Thanks a lot for your input, I really appreciate it.

Thanks Duane I loved the video, very inspiring, many insights.

Now about using animals for seed balls, does that only work for small seeds or for larger seeds such as Blackwoods. Sounds like a brilliant idea.
You have just reminded me of a farmer around Bendigo who 25 years ago wanted to create wetlands. He simple excavated land to form ponds and then buried dead branches upright around this.
These dead upright trees attracted birds to land on the branches and they deposited seeds when resting on the branches.
Thanks for the reminder