Permaculture Earthworks in the Hudson Valley

Yeehaw! Working with permaculture water-harvesting principles, we dug a small pond and connected it to more than 400ft of rain-capturing-forest-garden-watering contour swales. I worked with Tristan Vis (a past PDC student of Geoff Lawton‘s and mine) and a local earthmover Dick Stokes for 8 hours yesterday to get everything in the ground, cleaned up, and seeded with a mix of nitrogen-fixing groundcovers.

Dick skillfully operated an 8-ton CAT D4C Bulldozer in concert with a 4-ton excavator to dig the swales and excavate the pond. We calculated the water catchment on top of the ridge to be approximately 19,000 gallons per month (average), and the 400ft of swales (3 ft wide at the base, 4 ft wide at a height of 1.5 ft) have capacity to catch and infiltrate approximately 18,000 gallons into the ground when full.

We seeded the swales with red clover (Trifolium pratense)& Alfalfa/lucerne (Medicago sativa).

Here’s Tristan & I in front of the lower swale.

Interested in permaculture earthworks for your property? Contact me over at

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