Stormwater management is an important part of maintaining the health of our plants and trees. Because of the heavy clay content of the soil on parts of the Farm, water cannot percolate through the soil quickly enough to allow for proper drainage of rainwater.
Ponding of standing water for long periods either stunts the growth of the trees and plants or kills them.
Engineering a swale system was one of the first projects done to the property. As the land was all flat farmland, we needed to add contour to the ground. The swale system begins with a grassed swale that progresses to our rock swales that connect to ravines that go down to Lake Michigan. The swale system is connected by a series of culverts and French drains. Some water is diverted to our detention pond for use in our irrigation system, which supplies water to the lawns, as well as the drip irrigation systems in our raised vegetable and flower beds.
In Spring, the ground thawing, snow melting, and rain falling all contribute run off to the swale system, which can sometimes look like a white-water rapid, overflowing the banks. The rocks in the swales help take the energy out of the flow and assist with keeping erosion down to a minimum during these times of excessive run off.