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Pond Digging?

 
Posts: 16
Location: Missouri
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We've been attempting since last year to hand dig a pond as I want to raise some cattails and if I can wapatoo.(spelled right?). I am looking for suggestions on the actual digging process.. and while I'd love a back hoe... we cannot afford one right now. The pond is going to be when done between 15'-20' in diameter and planning no deeper than 4'. I am also looking for suggestions on items besides a "pond liner" to keep the water in as so far what we have dug is not holding water.
 
Posts: 10
Location: PA
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Heavy equipment or livestock to tamp down the soil for pond (sans liner). I think..
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11353
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Bentonite clay. Comes in a bag. http://www.pondsealer.net/
 
Posts: 108
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
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cat urban chicken
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Right now I have a smallish trough dug in for wildlife to drink from. I keep refreshing it's watercontent but I would love to create a shallow more natural pond. The only bentonite readily available in smaller amounts is unscented bentonite clumping catlitter... could that be used?
 
Posts: 159
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No, the cat littler will not work.

What you are after is sodium bentonite clay...when wet it swell something like three hundred percent and seals the pond bottom...you just spread it and let it settle.
 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Here's an old thread that may give you some ideas: https://permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/3409#55318
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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use the clay and remember cattails require shallow water..here they grow where the water is less than 2' deep..but the deeper the pond is the better ..so make the center as deep as possible and then have it gradually shallow out..

you can RENT backhoes for the weekend fairly cheaply most areas.
 
Posts: 6
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I've been thinking about putting in a pond too but can't seem to find the time - so much to do on the farm!

Here's my latest idea - an experiment I intend to try this year: I'm going to plant the area of the pond with tiller radishes in late summer. About the time of the first frost I'm going to put pigs on the radish patch. My hope is that the radishes will open things up and inspire the pigs to dig extra deep. Once the rains come I'll see how the new pond fills.

Sounds like a fun project
 
Posts: 8
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When I want to dig some thing deep, I take a post hole digger and dig a bunch of holes first and the clean out what's left. Kind of like in wood working using a drill and chisel.
 
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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a 8 hour rental on a backhoe is $260.00 here for a large backhoe. I can drive it here in just under an hour, use it and return it when I need it.
kent
 
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/7568/Watershed-Intervention--Earthen-Dams

hand dug earth dam's that should sort you out step by step, everyone says bentonite without factoring the cost for the volume you need buy and compact into the soil. It's not something you sprinkle and fill, if you can't afford a backhoe you can't touch bentonite.
Gley lining is the answer that's probably not ready for you, you've got the structural issues to deal with before dealing with will it hold water. I've been growing catails in bathtubs i dug into the earth, cattails can invade down to 3 feet or grow well in 2 inches.

All you have to do is take that earthen dam video and simplify it for ponds since the scale is so much smaller.
 
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