Brisbane Local Food

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It's the rainy season here in Australia, so I decided to put in some proper swales.

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 24, 2019 at 19:28

I put some pretty substantial rocks on the corners where the water would undermine banks.  I'm not so worried about banks.  My biggest worry is that I'm worried a big downpour will move the mulch.  I'm wondering if I could plant a few vetiver inside the swales to slow the flow.  I could also then use it to increase the height of the banks and maybe chuck a few more big rocks into the low points.   

Comment by Dave Riley on April 24, 2019 at 18:50

True -- Christa is right: Vetiver is a good option --and you'll save on your sugarcane mulch bill as you'd have a domestic harvest of mulch.

'Swale' is very much a Permaculture term that presumes physical digging and heaping. Whereas Vetiver 'grows' a swale if you lay it out according to your contour preferences -- your sculpting to a plan.

Watching the video you'd have two options, I reckon:

  1. Planting Vetiver to consolidate the banks of your  drain (as you've shaped it) -- especially where the force of the water during a  storm could undermine the bank. your bank is also only so deep/high when Vetiver may give your more hold back without erosion
  2. Planting Vetiver across the flow to create pooling to slow the water rate and encourage the water to seep into the soil behind the hedge so less is lost to the street without domestic flooding.

I'm not qualified to 'consult' on bio-enginneering challenges   -- but yours is a small scale problem that a few plants -- later divided into greater numbers -- could readily solve.

Christa's drainage problem --that she applied Vetiver to -- seems similar to yours.

My guess is that many rising blocks on smallish lots in the Brisbane foothills could utilize Vetiver plantings for drainage management...with the added advantage of a ready mulch harvest.

And Vetiver, as grasses go, looks good.

Comment by Christa on April 24, 2019 at 14:52

Have you thought about using some vetiver around the edges to hold the banks of soil.  It looks much better than the last time we saw it, Andrew.

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