Hi, I'm new here and an Old Crone not adapting well to the computer age. But, here goes. I am leading a permaculture project at a local college. The spot I'm addressing is low, clay, wet in winter, dry in summer. I want to put in some ground covers that have berries. Low bush blueberries come to mind but....well my mind stopped there. Any suggestions?
I am located in South Coast Ma. We are in Zone 6.....this year anyway. The Garden I speak of is in Fall River, Ma. Do you know if Paw Paws tolerate wet feet? The ones I have at home are in rich, well drained soil. Thank you.....
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
I'd say go in after a hard rain, find the soon-to-be-ponds (pooling water) in the landscape and dig out the ponds when it's dry enough to dig. You can also find the ponds by finding contour lines using an a-frame or two stakes and a tube of water.
That's what I'm doing. With the dirt you dig out of your new pond, you could make a hugelkulture on the low side. 2 awesome elements with one dig.
I would also suggest doing it in increments. That way you can look at it for hours, not minutes, and make little adjustments here and there. It takes more time, but you won't make any huge mistakes. Plus you can modify where the water stands by digging more here or there.
The point with heavily watered land in the winter is directing water to the places where it's okay to pool in the fall-winter-early spring and having a water resource for summer. When you slow the water down, it's also recharging the water table, so in the summer the plants won't have to dig so deep for a drink.
I also bought a small pump to pump the pond out and put the water higher in the landscape (a second pond uphill).
I don't have any water access on the land and every time it rains heavily the pond gathers about 1000-2000 liters. I run half uphill and half goes into summer holding tanks.
I used to have a huge problem with flooding on the downhill side of the land. Now my only problems are a little area that gets too wet and we walk on it (will build up and sow), and a future mosquito problem in a place that already gets a lot of them.
Pond...hmmm? Sounds interesting. This being a group project it might get a tad complicated. Where the water pools is convenient as it isn't where the paths are. there is not electricity for a pump either. Thank you for your suggestions. I will bring them up to the group. We may not do too much more this season. The snow usually has flown by now... it's only a matter of time.
it could be a rainwater catchment system. you wouldn't need a pump, unless you want to use a pump to irrigate your plants. there are a lot of wonderful, edible, permaculture plants that would grow very well in a place that is flooded or just wet for most of the year. really all that you would need to do is dig.
as a teacher of permaculture, i don't understand why you think ponds need pumps ? none of the ponds near my house have pumps in them. the ones that do are manmade mosquito breeding systems.
it's clay soil and it retains moisture well in the winter. so dug a few more feet deep, it will probably hold water for all the year. it may be too late to reform the land where you are... but you did ask... in november.
as a teacher of permaculture, i don't understand why you think ponds need pumps ? none of the ponds near my house have pumps in them.
Ponds don't need pumps, but I do because I need the water in tanks. Even if it's best to keep water in the soil, I need some backup for irrigation.
More than pumps, ponds need a thriving and lush life around it to keep things (like mosquitoes) in check.
I really have to start thinking about the mosquito problem before this spring, so I can pre-plan that disaster.
ps: sorry for hijacking this thread. I can contribute the fact that blueberries like lots of water, while raspberries don't like it so much. If you have a pond+hugelkulture you can plant both (one on top, one near the pond).