Farm pond question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Janis Sauncy, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Moved onto my new farmstead in October. I kinda-sorta have a pond. By that, I mean, when it rains, I have a pond and when it doesn't rain for a few days, I have a depression in the ground.

    The hillside behind me is full of springs and I don't think it's going to be too difficult to route the water into the pond area but it soaks into the ground. I've priced pond liners (at Home Depot) and, unless I win the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, that's kind of out of the question, at least for awhile.

    Any suggestions? Something that won't cost an arm and a leg or the sale of my first born?
     
  2. momanto

    momanto SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND

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    Janis, What State Are You In? Perhaps Some Of Your Neighbors Are Ht Members And Can Help You. How Wonderful To Have Springs In The Hills That You Can Tap.
     

  3. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    I'm in Washington state. I'm also a single parent without a bucket of money to spend on heavy equipment, etc. I have three boys that, if we could come up with a viable plan, would (and could) work at doing what was necessary (you know, with shovels and picks and stuff).

    Yeah, lots of water coming out of this hillside. I don't think my well could ever go dry. It's been kind of challenge this past winter trying to keep the water away from the house and driveway. Eventually, we'll probably put in a French drain (I think that's what it's called).

    I know my kids have visions of being able to plant bass in the pond. The area/pond is quite large (another reason I can't afford pond liner).
     
  4. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    Wish I was closer and could take a looksey at what you've got, but it sounds like you already are on the right path to a simple and (hopefully) fairly inexpensive plan to get water into the depression/pond area.
    Just how far away is the hillside with springs from the pond area? And are the springs all on the side facing the pond; or on the "other side of the hill?" It will make a BIG difference here. If they are fairly close together and on "this side" of the pond; so much the better. I would start by getting the "hired help/indentured servants" together for a pep rally and then present the "PLAN". Break the job up into workable segments and begin in stages; complete each stage and go onto the next.....celebrate each and every completion as one-step closer to the final goal. :dance: :bouncy: :bouncy: :bouncy: :goodjob:

    Personally, I think that your idea of a "French drain" has merit for use in this job. Begin by starting downhill at the pond site and laying out your ditch - 2 to 3 feet wide, by running strings as boundaries up the hillside on each side; have the boys dig out between them; piling dirt on one side only; away from the side that is closest to bringing in the needed heavy gravel later. Then work up the hill towards the springs. Some use pipe in this type of system; which makes it more expensive; it's possible depending on soil type, that this may not be necessary; check with your local extension service for suggestions as to what works in the area. And seek out locals who may have insight/previous experience in this field. :help: Here's hoping when all is said and done.....there will be a "fishing hole". :cool:
     
  5. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Two thoughts come to mind. Have a person who either digs ponds or the closest USGS rep check the soil of the depression and let you know if it is suitable for a pond, i.e. is clay available to seal it, is it too gravelly or sandy to hold water. The second idea is you can't afford heavy equipment (and I wouldn't spend money for that until you know the place can be plugged to hold water) are there any farmers nearby that might be willing to use their tractor and a scoop to dig a pond in exchange for you and your boys giving him needed labor (picking crops, bucking hay, ect).
     
  6. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    What about pigs? I read something on HT and something in Countryside as well about using pigs to seal up the bottom of a pond. It's mentioned briefly at the bottom of this page:
    http://www.richsoil.com/pigs/index.jsp

    Here's another, from http://www.agroforestry.net/overstory/overstory50.html
    Pond preparation

    Another application for the pig tractor is in pond preparation. In this case the wallowing and rooting behavior of the pigs, along with their manure and trampled crop residue combine to make a watertight pond bottom.

    In my family's case, we have had very good results turning boggy garden areas into ponds. First, we turn feeder pigs into the garden and let them eat crop residue and weeds. The pigs love to wallow and root in the boggy areas. After the area is thoroughly worked over by the pigs, we use a grader to scoop out the pond. We then return the pigs to wallow some more.

    The combination of compaction and gleying (similar to gluing) of manure and plant residue creates a perfect pond bottom that holds water for years. Any time the pond starts to leak, we'd just put a pig or two in there for a few days. Ponds usually leak at the water level, and that's where the pigs do the most good. Half in and half out of the water they lay there for hours just slicking the pond side to a impermeable surface, fixing leaks we can't see.
     
  7. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    Janis, I have a pond that sprung a leak about halfway up. I ask anyone that comes here to do any kind of construction/dirt work etc. about the problem. My favorite advice was from an excavating contractor, he said find some old drywall, like someone replacing theirs and throw it on the exposed sides of the pond. He said that as the pond began to fill the pressure of the water would press the gypsum into any leaks. I haven't tried it as I still have plenty of water for my needs and the occassion of free scrap dry wall has not presented itself. Sounds like it would work well tho, and he is an excavating contractor that digs ponds.
     
  8. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the suggestions. I'm going to have my kids sit down and go over them with me and see what might work for us. I know which one they won't want to try.......the suggestion about the pigs. Although it makes sense to me, my kids are SO done with animals. You know, been there, done that. Will never milk another goat, don't want to ever raise chickens for meat again, forget the turkeys, etc. (Mom has to have her layers, though). And since I depend on their help with chores and all, I guess they have a vote!

    But, keep all suggestions coming, please. I really appreciate it!

    Thanks again.
     
  9. sellis

    sellis Well-Known Member

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    what about getting some benzonite to seal the bottom of the pond ? have had friends try it and like it alot
     
  10. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    we put in bentonite and our pond still is leaky. Maybe we did not use enough or get it in the right place. we just got three more bags of bentonite. (It is a small pond). the pigs seems to be a good option, I would like to try it myself if I ever get pigs. we have a farmer in the vicinity whose pond was dry as a bone, he put up a sign "NO SWIMMING" What can I say, pigs fixed it, his cattle stand in it up to their shoulders now.
     
  11. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Yep just one pig will fix it.As the water starts to fill in he will keep working and sealing the edges.
    But Id imagine with any flow rate at all the water running in would be enough to keep it filled.If its filling with rain water already it cant be draining out that fast can it.Its amazing how just a little water flow adds up.

    Ill look for a link i have on my other computer,about building/maintaining bass ponds encase your kids really want to go that route.Theres things like gravel areas for them to bed and hiding places for the smaller fish that should be added before you let the pond fill up.It would be fun for them to do and learn about as well.Might make them dig faster for ya. :D
     
  12. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    There's a great article about farm pond costruction and maintenance in the most recent Mother Earth News. You should check it out.
     
  13. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    About the pig (my husband HATES them, loves pork tho) what does having a pig inthe water (pig poo too I bet) do to the water. I have about thirty five animals dependent on the water. I have a feeling it would be tainted. Anyone know?? Also is this "sure " thing as I already have a cat that will no longer "mouse". he thought it was a great treat to catch the demons when we first brought him home, now he watches them. PERIOD. he still does catch the birds tho(don't really want THAT). Might be worth the battle with hubby if the pig thing really works as long as I can still use the pond. I have a feeling cholera might result tho.