Ditch Lesson 1

There are several ditches on the farm that connect to a larger creek at the far end of the farm. The shallow ditches allow the soil to drain when it is waterlogged from rain. Our ditches had not been reworked in at least 5 years, which has not been a major issue. We hired a professional to clear out the large ditch that was starting to get dammed with weeds, but thought it might be good practice to work on the small ditches. We rented an excavator, and with the help of a landscaping friend, tried digging out the small ditch.

About an hour later, a blue pickup truck rumbles into the driveway. He was mildly amused with our ditching efforts, went to take a look, and then patiently explained why we were doing everything all wrong. The friend soundly agreed, as he had only progressed 10 feet in an hour. The small drainage ditches are meant to be v-shaped and 2 feet deep and not the Panama Canal. When dug vertically, the sides erode, slide down and widens.

1000 990 feet and eight hours later, we have a weed-free drainage ditch again. The friend probably won’t be volunteering to help on the farm for the remainder of this season.

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