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Developing edible landscape and alternative housing on soaked soil?

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Hi there,

it's perhaps not as bad as it sounds: but we're tinkering with the idea to convert a hectare or two (or three) into a landscape of alternative housing models (cob house, straw bale house, earth ship) and to create "edible landscapes". However, the ground is close of a creek, and is almost flat, with very low differences in height. I'd say that in botanical terms this would have been a potential flood area; more of a zone of willows and other trees which accept to get wet feet. The soil is heavy clay, and seems to be not very deep - 30 centimeters, al least on the small slopes further up. So, not sure about the depth.

The idea is to actually profit of these conditions and create a small lake and large natural swimming pool. This could be surrounded then by a few huts standing on poles. And then, a bit further away, other forms of houses as mentioned above. The former would be integrated into some form of "wetland vegetation", while the latter than should more be of something "normal" - hugelbeet etc.

I wonder however if with these soil and habitat conditions, we can successfully construct those alternative buildings and plant vegetables (this shouldn't be a problem as the roots are not deep), bushes and trees.

What do you think? Sure enough, these are not enough descriptors to reasonably judge the zone. But still, it would be great if someone with experience can share their view on this.

Thanks a lot for any hints!
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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We build bridges that have legs/pillar in river/sea. So it is technically doable.
Once you have the pillar/platform combo taken care of you could build with so many different housing style.
So the question is now what can I use to house pillars in a 0-5ft water. The Dutchmen should give you inspiration.

As for a list of plants that dont mind wetfeet:
Cranberry/blueberry family
Blackberry family
Edible aquatic plants
Sweet Flag
Acorus gramineus
Alisma canaliculatum
Alisma plantago-aquatica Great Water Plantain
Anemopsis californica Yerba Mansa
Aponogeton distachyos Water Hawthorn
Beckmannia eruciformis Sloughgrass
Beckmannia syzigachne American Sloughgrass

Ailanthus altissima Tree Of Heaven
Ajuga reptans Bugle
Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard
Allium brevistylum Shortstyle Onion
Allium canadense Canadian Garlic
Allium canadense mobilense Canadian Garlic
Allium validum Swamp Onion
Alnus cordata Italian Alder
Alnus glutinosa Alder

Crataegus monogna Hawthorn
Salvia divinorum Seer's Sage

Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Creeks do wild things when the rain is coming down for days, and everyone is away inside. I'd be tempted to wait for a flood, and then go see what it is like before building in a floodplain.
Stefan Schwarzer
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Thanks for the suggestions and ideas. Yes, indeed, not easy to deal with water. At least - or perhaps even more so - if it comes only once every couple of years. Drainage is surely an issue as well - it would help us to obtain a less soaked soil, while at the same time "pushing" the water into the creek, which in turn can get flooded much faster... Hmmm... Lots of observation and thoughts still to go into the project.
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Location: North Central Michigan
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the property our house and all of our neighbors houses on were once wetlands..the original homesteaders here built ponds and used the fill for the base for the homes and drainfields and roads..worked out really well..our home has a pond with a fill around house and drainfield and we love it...see our blog
Watchya got in that poodle gun? Anything for me? Or this tiny ad?
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
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