I have a low spot in my yard that pools up for a day or two when it rains, I started digging a trench to drain it and found that it was a natural spring and continuously releases water into the trench so I continued to trench the entire area in a zig zag pattern creating definitive high and low spots with grade creating almost a small stream with high spots in between in rows, I plan on planting on the high spots but they are still quite soggy. Should I fill the trenches with stone, pile topsoil on the highspots higher, and then plant? Or should I just plant water loving plants in the Soggyish soil? Mind you it has aeration it is not saturated, just wet. Also, is there a word for this? I dont think it would qualify as swales, Its more of a stream with highspots that are continuously wet, self irrigating maybe? Its a hard spot with the spring at the highest point and takes about 4 or 5 days for the trench to stop running, but only a day or so for the high spots to run off and become prettty airy, just wet. Plus the sod was flipped onto the high spots adding a layer of composting grass/aeration. Suggestions? I will add a picture tomorrow
I have one of these! The hill behind us has multiple rivulets and a couple of streams. And just behind the house is a large area of soggy (until early summer) clay, that will only grow plants that like water and, of course, daylilies.
I haven’t dug it but we wonder what can be done with it - a source of water if the well fails, or if power fails for a long period of time, we hope. Or a source of irrigation if we can direct it somehow around the house and garage.
I'm sure there is a way to utilize it as a resource! Like you said as either a water source or an irrigation source, or in my case (hopefully) a self irrigating garden! Heres what I did with my soggy low spots, its raining right now and as you can see the trenches are already filling up, and the highspots are running off, im going to add some fresh topsoil to the high spots and get planting!
Mine is on a slope, and we have a small ditch at the bottom. The soil is clay until you get near the bottom. We have begun to spread wood chips on it in the hope that they will eventually add organic matter we can combine with the clay. Right now when you walk on it, there's a spring to your step! Very spongy.
I just filled two new raised beds, so I don't have any soil to add if I tried your system. But I'm thinking about it. I don't need for that spot to produce right now, and it's shaded on the east by our garage and on the west by a tree-covered hill. I do fantasize about finding clay-loving, shade-loving, bog plants to put in there! Our first year here there was a drought, and it was pretty dry by the end of September, although much more moist than the rest of the yard and gardens.
I will put something in the soil that will promote wicking so water can crawl further from source. I will install a rotary pump that runs on 12 volts DC and connect it directly to a solar panel. Solar power is great as long as battery is excluded. A 12 V DC motor will start running at 3 volts albeit at lower speed. Rotary pumps will deliver water commensurate to speed. I will pump the water to an elevated tank with overflow going to the garden. on higher grounds. This set up will water garden on higher grounds during the day and on lower grounds at night.
dont forget the "no water switch off relay" to protect pump from dry running.
I’ve got a similar project on my hands, but it’s more of an accidental artificial spring. I was planning the water systems on the property of some friends, and I noticed that a certain spot was quite soggy. I decided that the best thing to do in that particular area was intensify the water by bringing it in from across the property at a 2% grade, and create some kind of water feature. When I started building it, I found a drain pipe that ended literally inches uphill from the earthworks I was digging. It turns out that, since the property is so soggy, a drain pipe had been put in that went all the way around the house, and then went down to the top of the minor ridge that I was digging on. The first pic is the latest one I have of it; I have finished it since on the same pattern; the second is of the same seasonal-crescent-zigzag-stream-water garden; and the last shows the spot where the drain pipe goes into the swale that drains into the whatchamacallit.
Earthworks are the skeleton; the plants and animals flesh out the design.
Here’s good advice for practice: go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee. – Martin H. Fischer
Do Re Mi Fa So La Tiny Ad
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while