Obviously 2012 was a dry year, and a tough year for growers and farmers. Being a small farm with good groundwater and the ability to drip irrigate, we didn’t suffer as much as dryland farmers did. But it still made a big impression on me and reignited my interest in farmscaping for passive water harvesting.
There’s been a lot of good work done on this, especially in Australia, where they suffer long and extreme droughts compounded by wildfires. The design disciplines of Permaculture and Keyline design both originated in Australia, and some of the foremost teachers and leaders like Darren Doherty and Geoff Lawton are based there. That’s where I got my basic concepts.
Essentially, I’m trying to slow down, spread out, and soak in the water that falls on the farm. This is especially important for our big “gully washer” rain events here in Nebraska. Swales and contour ripping are two techniques to achieve this.
Our system is in its very early stages: I’m looking forward to some thunderstorms this spring to test and refine the layout!