Seven people standing and digging a swale in an orchard

Restoring Watersheds & Soils: PDC Reflections [Part 3/8]

This series of eight blog posts by Melissa Ott about the Santa Cruz Permaculture fall-winter 2017 Permaculture Design Course was originally posted on the Green Gal blog in April 2017.017.

Weekend Two: November 5-6, 2016

The second weekend of the Santa Cruz Permaculture Design course, we explored watersheds, water catchment, understanding climate and microclimates, and the characteristics and management of healthy soils.

The class spent a full day with Lydia Neilsen learning about watersheds, methods for water catchment and reuse, and how to slow, spread, and sink rainfall to rehydrate the earth.

Seven people standing and digging a swale in an orchard

Lydia is a wonderful teacher, full of passion and knowledge about water, how it flows on the land, and how we can better design our landscapes to sink the water into the ground. She taught us about greywater, rainwater catchment systems, incredible properties of water, as well as how to design a berm and swale on contour and then built it by hand as a group.

On Sunday, John Valenzuela joined us to teach about soils. He provided an overview of the different major climates on earth, how climates affect decomposition and soil development, and an introduction to all things compost.

People sitting at an outside table with an instructor standing near a flipchart.

Like Lydia, John is overflowing with knowledge, stories, and passion that make his lessons engaging and memorable. After class time outside learning how to develop and support healthy soils, we built a compost pile and worked in the garden with John.

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