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My Progress Gleying a Pond With Pigs

 
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Seth, could you elaborate on this?  Is the dead stake to prevent duck erosion while the willow is getting started?  

"Hey Michael, yes sepp used dead stakes with live plants.  The dead stake to create and keep the hole, as well as, allow moisture into the hole, and to decompose and feed the soil life.  In that same hole he planted what I believe was grapes in one case and willow in another."
 
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Location: Helena, Montana, Zone 4B, semi-arid, cold, mountainous
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Any updates?
 
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Im trying to get the wife to accept my pig hobby, I think the pond will be a good segway to that end goal. I have a good amount of clay in our soil and it is already very compacted, but I currently have no depressions in which to start. My goals are to create a pond fed by a recirculating wet stream and a dry stream bed leading to it from the downspouts on the house and road runoff. The streams, I imagine, would have to be lined with a pond liner, but Im hoping the pond could stay filled with the gleying technique.
Is there a optimum depth of the pond for gleying? Is there a point where it would be too big/wide for 2-3 pigs to create the pond? Once the pond is sealed would it be adviseable to add rocks around the edges and in the pond for erosion protection and fish caves or would this prevent the pond biofilm from being refreshed by falling fish/duck poop and leaf litter?
Currently my plan is to dig the pond first before the rainy season and use swales and the trench for the eventual stream to collect the most water off the lot to feed the pond. For my recirculating pump I was going to dig a side pit and insert 1 or a few IBC totes filled with a large sump tube and gravel to act as a filter before sending water to the top of the lot to begin the stream again. Hopefully this stream will collect enough leaf litter and clay dust to contribute to the pond and maintain it.
I have a bunch of videos on my youtube channel (HomesteadOC) of my lot, but I cant really find a great picture of where the pond will go. I have a tractor that could help with digging, but I only have a front loader and no backhoe and the ground is compacted soil 🙁. Any advice or tips on the project would be much appreciated.
 
gardener
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Before i acquired a skid steer, digging with a tractor was doable but took steps. A pto tiller was used to loosen the soil so the front bucket could scoop it. Before i got the tiller, i only had a single plow for the back. Basically the same thing except it took several passes with the plow. It  was one of those things where you figure it out with what you got.
 
Strider Wardle
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I guess I need a tiller...
 
pollinator
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Any news about the pond, maybe new pictures?
 
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Awesome thread- didn't even know this was a "thing"
 
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Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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Definitely one of the greats on permies, been following along for a number of years now, first pond definitely raving sucess!
As for second, I definitely think conical shape helped with quick seal, I also seem to remember you had a gallon per minute overflow or something going into their water trough, maybe constant water flow helped, removing larger stones as you mentioned also and I would think tighter fencing may help encourage more concentrated activity
I sometime get wood chips from tree companies that are mostly green leaves, maybe a load like that would help?
Feeding wet food scraps in the area?
Digging a small conical hole in the center (hand dug scale) to jumpstart things?
 
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Michael Newby wrote:

Victor Johanson wrote:I'd love to see others do more start-to-finish documentation of creating a pond with pigs, it's funny how many people can't wrap their head around it when I try to explain what I've been doing.



People's minds don't invest for projects they don't really care about. The more people are actually interested, like the folks who read this thread, the more their thought processes will deepen.

I too have enjoyed this thread and I'm only at the end of page 1.

 
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This is a really amazing thread! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in. Any chance we could get an update? It has been a while since the last time you posted and I am curious how things are going.
 
pollinator
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Is Michael still around and able to give an update? We are planning a pond project and considering using pigs to gley.
 
Michael Cox
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Our glueing project. Pigs have been in for a month, and it is starting to show signs of working. Held water for 3 days since last rain. We have no surface flows here, as we are on chalk, so this is a very promising start.

3498B64A-72B0-4634-9F8B-F1E94B795036.jpeg
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pollinator
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Michael Cox wrote:Our glueing project. Pigs have been in for a month, and it is starting to show signs of working. Held water for 3 days since last rain. We have no surface flows here, as we are on chalk, so this is a very promising start.

some pig! Any updates on the Original Ponder?
 
Michael Cox
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I don't think he has been active on permies for quite some time unfortunately.
 
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Michael
There are small half acre dry dams in parts of the highlands of central Mexico.  Water accumulates during the wet season but quickly sinks into the rocky soil.  The water table is hundreds of feet down – wells are impractical.  This is a great hardship on the villages in these areas because they cannot rely on the water for their animals during the dry season.  I would like to help one of these villages to keep their water in the pond (see attached photo of the pond) during the dry season.  Since they have pigs as well as goats and chickens, it may be that the gleying method you describe may work for them.  The problem I see is that it takes a lot of pig manure to line a 20,000 sq ft pond.  Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks,
Robert Fraser
Berkeley, CA
robtfraser@sbcglobal.net
 
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Julia Winter wrote:Yes, my scientific background messes me up with this:  what does "Type 1 error" mean in terms of permaculture?

(Ooops, sorry to sidetrack.  I think this pond project is awesome.  Thanks so much for posting the photos!  I can see it in the future surrounded by trees and loveliness, all from the hard work of some pigs (and people). . .



"Type 1 error" refers to a design decision that dooms the project to failure from the start. You could think of it as a flawed keystone. And the only way to correct it is to go back to that decision, revise it to a viable choice and redo everything from that point forward.  It isn't just a big error. It's a critical failure error.  And it might not even seem like a big thing at the time.
 
pioneer
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My SIL claimed crawfish could seal a leaking pond. Her pond holds water just fine.
Has anyone heard of using crawfish to seal ponds and dirt dams?
 
pollinator
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Jay Angler wrote:Hi Michael,

Are you around to post an update? I'd love to know how it looks after two years. I really need to make some pocket ponds on parts of our property. Even if they don't hold water all year, if they help to slow storm run-off, it will be worth it.

Has anyone had experience of using geese or Muscovy to get the same effect?  Would their splashing make the pond too aerobic? Ours certainly seem capable of introducing small fine particles to a bucket of water!!

Thanks



Jay, did you ever try this with the geese? We are definitely going to give it a go here. We need some ponds and I was wondering how we were going to seal them on the loamy sand without buying a lot of clay.
And you are right, we have six geese and I have never met critters who could make such a mucky mess in a bucket or wading pool!
 
master gardener
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Andrea Locke wrote:Jay, did you ever try this with the geese? We are definitely going to give it a go here. We need some ponds and I was wondering how we were going to seal them on the loamy sand without buying a lot of clay.
And you are right, we have six geese and I have never met critters who could make such a mucky mess in a bucket or wading pool!

Alas no - there is too much Himalayan Blackberry in the way, not to mention a couple of dangerous dead trees I keep hoping the wind will take down. It's still on my wish list, but the two spots I'd like pocket ponds have no fencing either and I can't trust the geese to look both ways before crossing the road!
 
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Ducks and gees are defiantly an option to glay a pond, Another that I discovered this year was bunting a brush pile in the pond while it was dry at the end of summer. The ash and fine char did a good job of making it hold water this winter. Also destroyed the tough grass that grows in the wet area. I have another firewood tree to cut there so I plan to repeat with the limbs from that one.
 
pollinator
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Based on the holes they've made in one of my fields and the leaking present in my smaller pond (in an area riddled with them) I'd be hesitant to believe that.  In fact, I suspect their burrows have provided enough exit points that I can't get my smaller pond's level to rise above its current point.
 
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crawfish burrow down about 6inches or so. as far as them causing a leaking pond its pretty unlikely as they burrow pretty much right off the bank. i guess if this is a very small pond and only had a thin layer of clay over sand or something its possible because they will continue to move their burrows as water line drops. i dont see how they could possibly aid in sealing one though.

i do know cows work. the guy who built my fence had a pond that wouldnt hold and he put his hay ring in the dry pond for about a year and it sealed up. he was starting in an area that had some clay though so it was not totally built up by the cows. my brother is about to try this method but i wont have anything to report for at least a year

id be interested to hear the thought process on how crawfish could work though for sure

also he had a fairly large herd so i would imagine it taking alot longer using that method unless you were to build a temporary fence around the area to keep them in it all the time using just a few animals.

im no expert in this so just my opinion. i was lucky enough to have clay when i built my pond.
 
Laurel Jones
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Joe Hallmark wrote:crawfish burrow down about 6inches or so. as far as them causing a leaking pond its pretty unlikely as they burrow pretty much right off the bank. i guess if this is a very small pond and only had a thin layer of clay over sand or something its possible because they will continue to move their burrows as water line drops. i dont see how they could possibly aid in sealing one though.

i do know cows work. the guy who built my fence had a pond that wouldnt hold and he put his hay ring in the dry pond for about a year and it sealed up. he was starting in an area that had some clay though so it was not totally built up by the cows. my brother is about to try this method but i wont have anything to report for at least a year

id be interested to hear the thought process on how crawfish could work though for sure

also he had a fairly large herd so i would imagine it taking alot longer using that method unless you were to build a temporary fence around the area to keep them in it all the time using just a few animals.

im no expert in this so just my opinion. i was lucky enough to have clay when i built my pond.



Interesting.  Perhaps it's just the trees growing on the bank.  We have basically 100% clay soil so I'm frankly astounded that it leaks at all, however it does!  The area is riddled with crawfish holes so I (mistakenly) blamed it on them.  
 
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Laurel said, "We have basically 100% clay soil so I'm frankly astounded that it leaks at all,



Do you have rocks?  Some areas of Kentucky that I have visited are fairly rocky.

If so, that might be why this technique does not work for you.
 
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