Important earthworks and water management has been done at Quinta Kania! After over a month of intense rains, our terraces got flooded and spongy like in every spring. If you look up the statistics, the rainfall in Portugal over the year isn’t much less than in Central Europe. The reason why the soil can be so dry, is that the water doesn’t properly stay in the ground, but rather washes down the hill. One of the best thing we can do about that, is to create ponds, that can keep the water in over the long period of time. What does it do? It changes the micro-climate, attracts wildlife, improves the soil quality, allows the plants to grow stronger, brings more humidity and prevents wild fires. That’s just couple of many benefits of ponds.
How to do earthworks correct?
One of the most important permaculture principles is to Observe and interact. And that’s also the key to the understanding of earthworks! The best way to learn how the water influences the landscape is done by observation. It is actually great to do as little as possible for the first 4 seasons of the land, before you change anything there. Plants are our best friends here, because they will show us, how the water flows underground. Those plants, that have big needs in terms of water, will show us where the potential is. Catching the water in the correct spots might as well help with preventing erosion or a terrace collapse. So sometimes it really is just about trouble-shooting. Seeing, where the water causes some distraction and making our minds, how to help the water to settle in.