turning the field into a garden

Behind our house is a large field that I immediately wanted to turn into a food forest garden, but I was warned by the neighbor that it flooded. I was too excited and planted several citrus and fruit trees back there anyways.

March 2014

Then it flooded. Every year. Some seasons were worse than others but most of the time it was deep enough to take a kayak back there.

September 2014

I was bummed and or several years, this big green field sat vacant. We spent half the year mowing it, and the other half it was a big puddle. It served as a great spot for bird watching, as hundreds of ibis would fly in to eat the tadpoles and other little critters that were stuck as the water receded.

September 2015

After 5 years, I decided I was going to try to make it work and I headed out with my shovel and started digging.

September 2022

I dug a huge hole and made a banana circle. Bananas love water and fertilizer, so the hole will fill up as the field floods, and the matter inside the whole will decompose and feed the plants. Although it did go underwater a few times, the bananas did fine and continued to thrive year after year.

My friend let me borrow his tractor so we dug a ditch to accumulate some of the water. It wasn’t nearly enough. I eventually had an excavator come out (twice) and make it a pond.

We took the dirt from the pond, and laid it out in 1-3 foot tall rows across the field, basically creating swales and berms. When it rains, the field still floods, but the berms are up high enough that the plants are on their own little island as the water stays in the low-lying ditches between them.

Digging the ditch