Swales and berms are design features that capture and divert water across the landscape. Our swale gardens, created in 2015, feature permanent raised berms that act as fertile garden beds and indented, serpentine swales that both act as pathways and divert water away from key infrastructure. In particular, the main swale feature diverts runoff from our barn roof to parts of the gardens, naturally irrigating our crops. Other swales on our property divert water back to our wetlands.
Restoration orchards can be used to rehabilitate ecosystems by improving soil and water quality, increasing biodiversity, and providing sources of food and other resources for humans and wildlife. The first phase of our restoration orchard’s development began in 2015. We planted tree guilds on fertile, permaculture-inspired berms. Each guild features a dominant, northern tree species, such as oak, mountain ash, pear, or cherry, along with that tree’s supporting species, including berry bushes, fruit bearing vines, herbaceous annuals and perennials, ground covers, and bulbs. The restoration orchard will not only provide food for people, it will work to restore the soil and provide habitat and food for wildlife.