April 5, 2022

Pasture Swale Prep: Moving That Pile of Dirt

The biggest project on our spring project list is getting a start on our pasture swales. Our garden swale is functioning beautifully, so the next step is to extend our swale system to the pastures. We want to start the next swale near the one in the garden, to take advantage of its overflow. However, we had an obstacle; a big pile of fill dirt that Dan made when he dug out the old buried swimming pool. I finally have some progress to report.

Photo from "Our Agrarian Year: Spring Project List."

Disappearing the pile was done in stages. March was rainy, but in between rains it was warm enough to dry things out. Between the tractor and scrape blade and some hand digging, we redistributed the pile over several weeks.

Dan started by spreading out as much as the scrap blade could reach.

Then we had to knock the top of the pile down by hand.

More spreading until he got to the fence.

This last bit at the fenceline was moved by hand as well.

Then he secured the fence once again, to keep the goats from escaping.

Looking at it from the pool side, a view that has been
blocked by that huge pile of dirt for over two years!

The soil was fill dirt: a mixture of sand, clay, silt, rocks, and mica flakes. I don't expect much in terms of fertility, but spreading it out on the pasture was the fastest and easiest option. It's a relief to have it done.

Next, we'll measure and mark a level line to dig the swale. Then, I'll broadcast pasture forage seed over the soil and cover it with old barn bedding. The old straw and manure will be protect the seed and feed the soil. All weather permitting, of course!


Ed said...

I’ll never get used to that red soil.

daisy g said...

I'll bet it feels great getting that monumental task done!

Leigh said...

Ed, eventually, you get used to it (I've lived with it more than half my life now.) So, when I improve the soil in my garden beds, for example, I'm thrilled with the darkening color. :)

Daisy, it does!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, all I can think is "What a relief it is finally done".

Renee Nefe said...

One more check off the list! yay

Leigh said...

TB, indeed. That pile of dirt has been sitting there so long, I feared it was a permanent feature!

Renee, always a relief!

Annie in Ocala said...

"When your no longer digging in the dirt it'll be because your turning back into it...." Was what my late true friend told me many a time. He would get mad because of how that clay/gumbo stuck to his shoes when he was following me around trying to help.. He was right. I hope. Great job! A relief I'm sure...

wyomingheart said...

What a great project to get done, and it looks fabulous! Looking forward to seeing the swale project, too. What do you have planted in the garden? Have a great rest of your week!

Retired Knitter said...

It always feels good to get a big job like that done.

Leigh said...

Annie, great gardener quote. :) I actually like digging (as long as the soil isn't too wet or too dry!)

Wyomingheart, thanks! We just got another 1+ inch of rain, with more on the way, so I hope we are able to get the swales in soon! I've got a gardening post in the works!

RT, especially when the results are so visible!

Rosalea said...

That really is a nice view. Your soil is so VERY red! Watching your swale making with interest.