Swales

 
 

Swales are trenches dug in-between raised beds that help collect water runoff in farm fields to in turn irrigate the crops. At our farm, we dug eighteen inch deep by eighteen inch wide swales between our raised beds that run the length of our farm field. Each swale was back-filled with wood chips which hold multiple purposes. The woodchips promote beneficial bacterial and fungal life which help decompose them to enrich our soil, and the wood chips  also absorb rainwater like a sponge and slowly release that water to our crops. Our swales, therefore, allow the watering of our crops to be a lesser task on the farm. In general, we only water our newly planted and transplanted crops in addition to the “needier crops” when the field heat is particularly strong.