Rainy Season Swale Project

Rainy season is a good time to plant, remove invasive plants, and make a swale! A swale is a ditch that you build along the contour of the land to catch and slow down the flow of water. This will prevent the water from eroding the soil and creating a deep gully. Instead, you can direct the water towards trees and other plants.

Here is Tonji presenting our first swale project!


This is our first swale project. We’re collecting the water from the areas — here, the roofs, the run off water– because that area is higher and it slopes down here to the reforestation area. 

(So) This swale is about  100 meters and the water comes here, comes out here, at this point, and the water is collected in this swale which is around a hundred meters, to stop erosion inside the reforestation area there. 

(Because) That area has a slope, so all the water gets stuck here and collected and is slowly watering the trees that we are replanting as well as the forest area slowly.

You can see this drizzle has collected that amount of water and its going down here and if you follow the swale line a hundred meters then it will hopefully water these plants every time it rains. 

(So) These are Talisay and other trees. So this replanted area should be one of the best in the future because it will have a great water supply!

Why Permaculture?

You know how kids nowadays are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, be creative, and think out of the box?  Attending a Permaculture Design Course is like that, but for grown-ups who are interested in farming, nature, and the environment.

Learning conventional farming is like going to a traditional school. You learn formulas and schedules. I haven’t learned conventional farming, but that’s what I imagine it’s like!

Attending a two week Permaculture Design Course is like going to a progressive, non-traditional school where you learn how to learn. Instead of formulas and schedules, you have ethics, principles, and prime directives. You learn how to recognize patterns, read the landscape, assess needs and resources, find your own solutions, and see problems as opportunities. We were also introduced to skills like grafting, knife sharpening, bamboo building, cooking, and more.

Permaculture design is the practice of designing sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns


We came home very inspired and after attending the two week Permaculture Design Course hosted by Kul Kul Farm in Bali in April 2017.  We also felt more focused, determined, and excited by all the possibilities!

Here’s permaculture in action!

The Bombax ceiba was getting choked by the grass and vines. We are using the leaves of the very abundant Gliricidia sepium as protective mulch for the Bombax ceiba. IMG_1459

Using the wood from the invasive Leucaena leucocephala to slow down water run-off in this small gully.


Making compost out of two waste products– horse manure and dry grass.

There are so many more interesting projects to try! Just going slowly or poco a poco, as our Permaculture teacher  Chris Shanks  always likes to say!