5 Acres of Wet Peat 2 Feet Deep

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by landrand, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. landrand

    landrand New Member

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    I have 25 acres in Northern Michigan with about 5 acres of lowland next to a river. This lowland area contains about two feet of pure peat (1 foot of muck and 1 foot of pure peat). Below the peat is beach sand. I would like to make this 5 acres into a small farm.

    At the moment, the lowland area is quite wet. Several underground springs drain into the lowland area. I plan to dig several drainage trenches and try to dry the 5 acres out and make it into a small farm.

    Does anyone know if I'd be able to drive a farm tractor on dry peat that is 2' deep? When this soil is wet, it's pretty soft. Just walking on this wet peat I'll sink in an inch or so.

    I believe that if I'm able to dry this area out, I'll have very good soil for growing. If this peat can support heavy equipment, I'm going to try to mix the soil with sand.

    Any ideas or suggestions. I know very little about farming and soils but am looking forward to learning.
     
  2. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    Yikes. If I were you I'd get professional advice. guy in Marlboro MA was just buried alive (he's dead now) he was trying to trench to dry up a water problem and the whole thing just caved in on him. Be careful!!
     

  3. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Might want to check with the authorities too before you undertake any draining. Sounds like riparian area and may come under various jurisdictional regulations.

    In my area, I've never seen anyone farming bogs, but they often do dig them up to sell the peat or utilize it elsewhere, and in so doing create a small lake. Don't know how the sand below yours would affect it though.
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could most likely tile it and drain it. But the Goverment passed the Sodbuster - Swampbuster law in 1985 that makes it a federal offense to drain a wetland. Before you do anything to it, check with the FSA office nearest you. They are the ones who regulate all the farm programs. Who knows, they may have a program to fit your setup and start sending you yearly payments. They do have assistance payments for things like planting trees, windbreaks, putting in sod waterways. and many more. It could be to your advantage to check it out.
     
  5. landrand

    landrand New Member

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    I am currently in the process of obtaining permission from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) before attempting any activity in the wetland area.

    As part of the effort, the river resevoir is currenty being drained for dam maintenance. I'm trying to get permission from the DEQ to dredge (excavate) some of the peat in the dry river bed adjacent to my shorline. I want to haul as much of this peat to an upland area of my property and make a 4 acre farming area. I figure I'll mix the peat with sand to make a very rich topsoil for farming.

    In addition, I want to use the area adjacent to the shoreline (about 3-5 acres) for growing alfalfa or clover for deer/wildlife habitat. If I obtain permission to dry out this area, I'll have a 3-5 acre field consisting primarily of muck/peat "humus" that is 2 feet deep. Underneath this soil is beach sand. I don't know much about soils, but I do know that this stuff grows grass extremely well. My only concern is being able to work the material with a 5,000 lb farm tractor. I'll be able to mix some sand into the peat from the river dredging effort. Whether or not 2 feet of dry peat is able to support the weight of a tractor is to be determined. Any thoughts or ideas is greatly appreciated....

    By the way, I have a backhoe and a dump truck. I plan to rent an excavator or large bulldozer during excavation effort.
     
  6. poorme

    poorme Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like an awful lot of work for a few tillable acres....
     
  7. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    I think what you have sounds like what the HUGE farm corporations have in FL. They call them muck farms down there.

    I still have no idea how they get out there and harvest the stuff but evidently thats what they grow their root crops in. Carrot farm used muck farming. I worked in the packing plant part. Rented a mobile home next to it and one day ran out of carrots and knew they had harvested that area and knew there were still some carrots left.

    I took a couple of steps in there and sunk up to my ankle LOL!

    Contact some FL Muck Farmers or contact the FL Dept of Agriculture and find out if it is the same thing!
     
  8. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    I am from Michigan and whatever you do don't let the DNR/DEQ catch you or I'll be reading about you in the paper. You definately have to have a DEQ permit to do that and I suspect they will deny you.

    Ed