Krater Garden finished construction
Same krater garden planted and growing.
So what is a krater garden?
Sepp Holzer, The “Rebel Farmer” from Austria, developed the krater garden after a trip to Siberia. The crater garden is, well….a crater, with terraced sides. Water collects in the bottom of the crater and feeds the plants grown on the terraces. Krater gardens also create micro-climates in which plants that cannot normally be grown in a particular zone may thrive.
Why would I want to make a krater garden?
Well, why not? My land is pretty flat and pretty dead. I’m in a High, dry and windy area. I need to take advantage of wind protection and water harvesting opportunities. I also like the idea of increasing the square footage of my 40 acre property.
Initially I was going to go big, really big. However, big earth works come with big price tags, also, permits. So after speaking with the local water permit person I was granted permission to do a small krater garden without requiring a permit. I had the honor of being the first person in Wyoming to mention krater gardens and I had to send a lot of krater garden information to explain what I was talking about.
So the plan is to use the bucket of our small tractor to dig a krater garden that is no more than 3 feet deep and 14′ in diameter. Of course, that is the water harvesting portion of it. I didn’t hear them say I couldn’t do the terraces larger so I’m going with as big as I can with my limited earth moving equipment. You might be wondering how we came upon 3′ and 14′ in size. Well, the simple answer is that I’d dug a duck pond with the tractor before and from that experience knew that 3′ was as good as I was getting. The duck pond is also 14′ in diameter so it seemed like a good idea to get that approved since I’d dug it before I was quite aware of water law and regulation.
It is winter here right now but that is just fine as the planning stage is in full force. I need to pick the location for this garden and plan the plantings. I’ve been making the front of the house the experimental area, so now I need to pick which part will be cratered. If the crater garden does well I may expand the concept to the rest of the property. I am right now imagining 40 acres pock marked with 3′ deep craters.
I will most assuredly keep everyone updated with my krater garden progress.
Thanks again to Zach Weiss for granting me permission to use his photographs. Be sure to check him out! (http://www.elementalecosystems.com/crater-gardens.html)