Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures

Erosion Control and Planting Water

Water flowing in from the street at Finch Frolic Garden Permaculture. All water is sunk on site through a series of rain catchment basins. That equals hundreds of thousands of gallons of water even during dry years.

Whether you live in a drought area as I do in Southern California, or an area that floods, proper management of water is essential. Sinking water safely and effectively involves digging swales (level bottomed ditches), and/or rain catchment basins, or dry but functional steambeds that sink water rather than expel it, or even just mulch-filled pits. Most can be done with a shovel. One inch of rain on an acre in one hour is 27,154 gallons of pure, slightly acidic water. Rainwater is a far better source for watering plants than chemical-laden domestic water, or mineral-heavy well water.

Here is a Powerpoint lecture I gave for the Fallbrook Climate Action Committee last month, which shows you the basics of erosion control and water sinkage. It also goes into using one-rock dams, media lunas, and Zuni bowls (such exotic names for such simple and common sense structures!) to heal erosion cuts. These can be done on even small erosion cuts.

Now is the time to sink water rather than have it drain into the streets. The hardscapes expelling water through drains is what causes most street flooding, as the natural plant and leaf-covered soil is no longer there to soak it up, and the vegetation is greatly reduced so that the water isn’t held in place through vascular systems. If every property safely sank and captured rainwater, everything would benefit. It isn’t difficult to do.

On the Resources page of this blog, under Finch Frolic Garden YouTube channel, I’ve bookmarked many experts showing water harvesting, sinking and control. Give yourself a little time to watch and be inspired.


  • Diane

    Hi Patrice! How nice of you to comment. Big changes in my life. I married, retired, and have just moved to a forested property in Oregon, all within 4 months. My property will go up for sale in April, and hopefully someone with permaculture and preserving habitat in mind will purchase it. Thanks for the passionvines, which are still growing well, and for the exchange of information. I hope all is well with you, and best of health. Take care, Diane

  • Patrice (310/384-7549)

    Hi Diane, a good friend of mine (Randall W.) gave me the sad news that you were retiring and moving out of state. I was suddenly really sad about the news. Blaming myself for not having that minute of time to stop by and say hi. Last time that I saw you was at El Toro market. We chat for a few minutes and said goodbye promising that elusive meeting that never materialized .
    Hope you are styaround and will have that opportunity before you finally leave.

    Best personal regards,

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