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Anna Hopping
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Mountainair, New Mexico, United States
Climate Zone:
Cold Arid

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Beginning to rain and fine tuning rain catchments

Posted by Anna Hopping almost 9 years ago

introduced to permacuture principles and seeing successes from light rains

This summer I began to see permacuture videos on you tube. And I saw a whole new world of possibility. By then it began to rain small rains and I planted summer ground cover. The rain was light and over a time period so it soaked in. no run off in the yard. had a small river in the South. did i catch my part or is there more to catch?


I went to work on the channels from the West Street. At this point they are just ditches. Now I am learning to see better what is there and I make some adjustments. The ditch catches water from the ditch but not the road. The soil along the edge of the road is higher than the street. I had dug an opening size of shovel through to the street. I wanted to catch more water. I was working in the light rain and I saw the water run a small stream along the edge of the street. So I took off the gravely soil that was higher than the road at an angle up the hill so that the water flowing its path now angled right into my ditch and berm combo.  


We began to get several small light rains and each time I extended these channels as I observed the wetness. I was not able to abserve while it was raining. But I looked to see where and how far the water flowed and adjusted.


I noticed the basin at the west drive had filled up a 2 times. Maybe other rains filled it as well. I am getting water into the ground but I do not think there has been an over flow. My rose bush on the high side of the basin is looking better than it ever has and grown a lot.


Now I know to cut and drop and so I have cut and dropped several times this year.

I have also learned about the food forest. My plans are changing. I still want the wind breaks where they are but instead of hedges there will be larger areas with combined plantings. Wind is a major issue for me here.


As I cut and dropped I noticed the moisture that was flowing under ground from in the yard to the planting on the other side of the fence. This would be my zone 4 or 5 it was nice to see it gaining benefit from the zone above it.


For 2 months we have had several small rains. Some have recorded having 9 inches total. I do not think I got that much but what I got has brought up the weeds. I had created a berm around a large planting of lilacs. I had hoped the water from the patio would flow into it and the berm would hold it to water them. Behind the lilacs I created an area for a Benfield insect planting with a walk raised to hold water for the next couture. Well with the rains. I noticed the russen alfalfa had grown tall along this berm. So I have proof it worked. The bed beneath it had a small crop from rain it caught. We have not had a large rain with an over flow to see how they work as of yet. The basins are all wet from catching water. The edges of the basins are soaked and growing weeds which I am chopping and dropping extending the area. All this has been in place for several years but we have not had rains to try them out. Now I can see the difference in where I have caught water and where it rained and was not held.

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