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Temporary Garden

 
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So I am moving out to some land on six acres of mostly woods, I'm clearing smaller brush and smaller honeylocust trees to set up a temporary camp while I get to know the land better. I will park my skoolie with the door and side facing the NE towards the pond. I hope to stock the pond for fishing and put ducks and geese out there. I want to set up a temporary garden for this season, incase it isn't the ideal location as I get to know my land.
I *think* I am going to rototill a section that is about thirty feet by a hundred feet sloping gently towards the pond. The narrow end of this rectangle is the north to south side and the longer length of this section is going from top of rise at the west sloping down to the pond on the east.
I think this is a good location for a garden because it will get more sun than other areas as there is only one large tree at the south east corner on the bank of the pond. Can I water the garden with pond water by carrying it up to the top of the garden? I am thinking of having the rows and beds have small trenches so the water will run off back into the pond. The slope will make watering easier as I can pour the water in a few locations and it will roll downhill.
I think I will need some type of fence to keep animals out. I have seen turkey and rabbits but I'm guessing (and hoping for fall hunting) that there are deer too. Is there a way to make an effective fence out of honey locust branches? How big would a honey locust branch woven like fence have to be? Or would a better option be digging holes and using the trees as fence poles then using chicken wire? (I don't think I can afford field fence for the garden and feel it would be too permanent for a temporary structure.
My kids want to start planting onions and potatoes this next week when we head out there. Any suggestions to get them gardening ASAP while I'm cutting small trees. They say they want to put onions and potatoes on the other side of the pond where they have been fishing.  
Right now the only permanent structure I will be making this soon into the game is a storm shelter/root cellar. I will me making this out of earth bags but am a bit intimidated by digging and filling them by hand! I would like it to be big enough to be comfortable for four people and two dogs to stay in overnight whenever our NOAA radio sounds.
 
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Hi Gail, I like using remesh for simple fences.  It's the mesh stuff they put in garage floor slabs and comes in a 5' wide roll that is either 50 or 150' long.  It's cheap, rusty and beefy.  The 150' rolls are damn heavy but the 50' ones are ok to handle.

Could your trees act as fence posts?  Just remove all but the ones along the perimeter and use them to hold up a fence?

The remesh is only 5' high so it won't fully keep deer out.  But if you suspend it 2' off the ground (stapled/tied/wired to the trees or fence posts) and the use 2' chicken wire for the bottom two feet, you'd end up with a 7' high fence that also keeps rabbits out.

Another option is to put it at ground level and then string some wire or strings at 6' and 7' to keep the deer from jumping it.  The rabbits can get through so you may still need some extra fencing at ground level.

It doesn't go up and down over bumps and terrain changes very well unless you cut it into pieces.  It can be cut with beefy linesman pliers or the smallest bolt cutter.

I use it to make sinuous fences on open ground where it can stand by itself without posts.  Here's a link:  Creative fence idea

This spring I'm building another fence with remesh around my orchard.  It will be a straight fence and I'll try some other tactics to keep deer out.  I'm really into making unusual fences that keep deer out.  I'm currently up to five methods that are "unusual" and work.  Once my orchard is surrounded I'll be up to 7 that hopefully work.  I'll do a thread about them all once I have those built...
Wavy-remesh-fence-with-support-wires.jpg
Wavy remesh fence with support wires
Wavy remesh fence with support wires
 
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Gail Jardin wrote: Can I water the garden with pond water by carrying it up to the top of the garden? I am thinking of having the rows and beds have small trenches so the water will run off back into the pond. The slope will make watering easier as I can pour the water in a few locations and it will roll downhill.  


I would be cautious about that. If the slope is enough to make water to run downhill, you run the risk of erosion problems. In a year with heavy rains or sudden downpours, you could see all your soil and plants washed into the pond. It's usually better to plant along the coutour of the hill (that is, at right angles to the slope).
 
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Can I water the garden with pond water by carrying it up to the top of the garden?



I think that would get old fast. I'd be looking for an area downhill of the pond to garden so water could be siphoned into the garden.
 
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I think if I had to carry water uphill, I'd go for making it as efficient as possible. I'd see if I could put a tank on a platform by the pond high enough to run a hose to the top gravity fed, then only carry water up to the top of that thing. Would still suck, but it's only the vertical movement, not the vertical AND the horizontal. And vertical you can use a crank windlass to lift the buckets. Still sucks, but not quite as bad.

:D
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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It depends on the height differential, but a 12 VDC pony pump or bilge pump can move a remarkable amount of water. Sometimes it's important to choose where your hands-on effort is best invested.
 
Mike Haasl
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Yes, I was going to suggest a solar pump to fill a tank/pond/reservoir up at the garden.  I think they're affordable and you'll be busy enough with other work to be hauling water uphill.  Unless the kids need to earn an allowance....
 
Gail Jardin
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I like the idea of a $50 IBC tote and a solar powered pump to fill it from the pond. I doubt that tote could hold anything other than garden water though. The idea got me thinking however about filling another tote from the creek about a quarter mile from the property for other purposes. Would my berkey filter make creek water safe to drink? Or would I have to have three totes, one for pond water for the garden, one for creek water for laundry, animals, maybe showers etc, and one for 'imported' drinking water from the nearest RV fill station? We get a lot of rain in the Ozarks but each summer there are a few weeks where it maybe rains just once a week so my garden will need watering one way or another.
If I lived in a perfect world I could afford two pumps, one on a switch to fill the tank when it gets below a certain level, and one to pump from the tank to the drip irrigation lines (hypothetical lines I do not have). Thanks for getting me thinking!
 
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there's some water pumps that are really affordable. you might want to get 2.

you might look into getting a pressure tank....especially for use inside.

another thing you could do is add timers. they are a bit of investment but how nice, automatic watering timers run on battery and could work good in that situation.

if you hooked up a tank on the top of the hill the water could slowly gather there until the timer came on and emptied your tank. the pump could also be on an electric timer, so it wasnt always running.

you might also considering making terraces. shaping some large steps out of the hill.

as for safe for drinking, you should at least boil it and also filter it. i would check it out real well or get it tested before drinking a lot of it.
 
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Rather than counting on electric you might consider whether you can utilize a spring above your garden. You'd need a pipe driven in the ground that flows into a tank. This needs to be above the garden, if that's possible. You'll get two pounds of water pressure for each foot the tank is above the garden. That's called the head. There's a fitting that screws onto the end of steel pipe called a well point. The one time I tried this I got nothing. I wanted water for cattle that didn't need me hauling water and a supply for them that didn't freeze. I didn't use an expert or even an amateur effort with "divining rods". I drove the pipe in about 5 foot and couldn't get it farther in.
 
John Indaburgh
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I wanted to also say that the spring water might be better for drinking. I once had unfiltered spring water that came from under a tree tested by the heath department. It flunked! But I later wondered if it really had E-Coli or if when they looked at it  the test had more sediment than they thought drinking water should have.
 
Gail Jardin
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Mike Barkley wrote:

Can I water the garden with pond water by carrying it up to the top of the garden?



I think that would get old fast. I'd be looking for an area downhill of the pond to garden so water could be siphoned into the garden.


Yeah that would not work at all. There are large rocks in the area downhill of the pond. The 'hill' is a very gentle slope like maybe 3 degrees. This is my location that seems best for now because it only has brambles in it and not trees. The only brambles have an intense root system that despite brushcutting last week, I literally spent four hours pulling up roots and rocks today!
 
Gail Jardin
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John Indaburgh wrote:Rather than counting on electric you might consider whether you can utilize a spring above your garden. You'd need a pipe driven in the ground that flows into a tank. This needs to be above the garden, if that's possible. You'll get two pounds of water pressure for each foot the tank is above the garden. That's called the head. There's a fitting that screws onto the end of steel pipe called a well point. The one time I tried this I got nothing. I wanted water for cattle that didn't need me hauling water and a supply for them that didn't freeze. I didn't use an expert or even an amateur effort with "divining rods". I drove the pipe in about 5 foot and couldn't get it farther in.


I have been praying I'd find a spring since buying this property, please feel free to join me in prayer. Any advice on finding a spring or shallow water table/vein?
 
Pearl Sutton
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My guess, based on the Berkey I run, is 99% odds you'd be ok filtering with it. If you can get the filtered water tested (ask local health dept who can do it) (or mail it someplace if you don't want locals knowing what you are doing) it would be MUCH safer. Odds are high, but not 100%. Testing might save you some serious misery. Be sure to put your toilet area well away from your water, failing that will kill you fast.

:D
 
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Gail Jardin wrote:Any advice on finding a spring or shallow water table/vein?



I have had success with dowsing. I used a metal object hanging from a string, I think I used a more weighty ring and followed the direction it pulled toward. It wasn't pulling, per se, but it looked like an invisible magnet was having an effect on it. It's hard to explain, but if you try it, you'll see what I mean. Good luck!
 
John Indaburgh
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Gail
I can't help you find a spring, but I can pray that you find the knowledge.
I would guess that the water table is at about the level of the pond. However if the hill above your garden is high the water table may well be above the pond. I once said to someone that I was glad that the bottom of my well was above the level of the suburban creek I was told that the water table may actually lift the creek water into my well. I don't know if that's true. However; My well was about a 120 feet higher than the creek. The water table was always 15 feet below ground. The well was about 300 feet from the creek to the west and to the south there was a 45° slope about 60 feet from the well.
I have an auger that will drill a hole about an inch and a half in diameter in dirt It's about 8 feet long and has a fitting so that you can slide a piece of the shaft and turn it by hand. But.... I can only twist it about 18 inches into my garden soil which has no rocks.

I didn't mention earlier that I attempted to drive that pipe and the well point about horizontally into the hillside to create the spring.

It's not easy to do, but people do it. My mother lived in a house with a spring. The water ran all the time you needed it. You could take a shower, short shower with no source of power and no water bill.

Anyway good luck with your garden and an answer to your watering problem. If nothing else I'd fill a 5 gallon container and haul it in a wheel barrow.
 
Mike Barkley
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Well, it's sure hard to grow vegetables in rocks. Three degrees isn't too steep so I think a small pump &/or kid power will work fine. I have an IBC that fills from a roof. It is below one part of my garden. The water in the IBC provides enough pressure to run about half of the tank of water uphill if needed. If you use a pump (or a roof) to keep the IBC full a garden hose can be attached & if the garden is reasonably close my guess is most of your tank could be used via a garden hose. That's more than a ton of weight per full tank.  
 
Gail Jardin
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Pearl Sutton wrote:My guess, based on the Berkey I run, is 99% odds you'd be ok filtering with it. If you can get the filtered water tested (ask local health dept who can do it) (or mail it someplace if you don't want locals knowing what you are doing) it would be MUCH safer. Odds are high, but not 100%. Testing might save you some serious misery. Be sure to put your toilet area well away from your water, failing that will kill you fast.

:D



I am thinking of doing a composting toilet and having the compost pile on the opposite side of the pond and down hill from the pond so that any run off would not get into the pond. I wish I knew the history of how the pond got there and if it were man made or not. My bus also has grey and black water tanks, I am hoping to train my human kids to not use the black water tank/regular toilet but if it comes down to it I will be emptying that into a proper dump station or devising a way to carry the waste to the compost but that sounds almost too gross, even for me lol.
 
Gail Jardin
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Mike Barkley wrote:Well, it's sure hard to grow vegetables in rocks. Three degrees isn't too steep so I think a small pump &/or kid power will work fine. I have an IBC that fills from a roof. It is below one part of my garden. The water in the IBC provides enough pressure to run about half of the tank of water uphill if needed. If you use a pump (or a roof) to keep the IBC full a garden hose can be attached & if the garden is reasonably close my guess is most of your tank could be used via a garden hose. That's more than a ton of weight per full tank.  


Yup, these Ozark hills are great at growing rocks! From the intense root systems of dew berries I am finding I am thinking the soil has some potential! I had not thought about the simplicity you discovered using the water pressure to make water flow! I am now thinking I need to devise a way to catch rainwater from the earthbag storm shelter I am planning!
 
Mike Haasl
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Pressure makes water flow if it's higher than where it's going.  So Mike B's IBC tote is probably a foot or two below his garden.  But when it's full, the water level is above his garden so water will flow down the hose.  That's probably why it only works until his tank is half empty.

So if you hill is gentle enough, a tank at the pond that has a water level above the garden will work.  If that's only 3 feet, you're in business.  If you need the tank to be 10' high, that's a bigger problem.
 
Gail Jardin
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So the garden is turning out to be a trapezoid shape and is not nearly as big as I had thought I was going to make it be. SO far there is only about 450 square feet cleared with rocks and roots dug up. This would not all be growing area but would be paths as well. I think I need to find another site for a second temporary garden. I would like to have enough space to attempt to grow a fair portion of food for four people. One adult and several kids. I think this area will be easy access kitchen garden and I will need to find a new area to put in a potato patch and a corn patch.
 
Mike Haasl
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For that size garden, I would just count on rain with a back-up of hand watering for the first year.  If it were me...
 
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