From what I can tell they are using a permaculture technique of Swales to help fertilization. A swale is a strategically placed ditch or berm designed to slow down water dissipation and to direct precipitation to an intended area. It is a way to maximize the small amount of precipitation in an arid desert environment and create fertile soil.
Inside the swale ditch you could use some material that retains moisture, like newspaper or mulch. This will encourage plant growth along the swale roots which will help to prevent erosion of soil. It is a very smart landscaping technique for desert gardens.
There is a really informative video on youtube about constructing swales in the desert in Jordan. See the link below.
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