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reconsidering the clay bank N of pond

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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...ok...always reconsidering something around here..

when Joel expanded the size of the pond he piled a whole lot of clay and mud in a long narrow ridge north of our pond..

his plan was to move it all..but I have gotten to thinking..there is a woods north of the pile and a pond to the south..it is nearly all clay but has some cattails and mud mixed in..

i'm wondering if it will partially break down over the winter..being totally exposed to the elements..

and ok..it got me thinking..it is a high point area with good water and frost drainage with sun to the south and protection from north winds..

soooooooooooooooo

I'm thinking..maybe this would be a good area to plant some trees..

first i was thinking fruit trees..but then i'm thinking..ok..the fruit will just roll down the bank into the pond (quite steep).....the far east end of the bank wouldn't be so bad..ad there is a flattish area around it..but the west area you can't even walk there..very steep..

but it would be a good wildlife zone..

it is probably about 75 ' long east to west and about 20' wide..and about 6' high at the center ridge.

i know there are a lot of things that grow well in clay..and if it breaks down enough..i could dig hols in the clay to fill with good stuff and maybe even make the higha rea drain some water down into those holes..and plant in the holes..but owuld have to also have some drainage out of the holse so they didn't become little ponds.

just a thought..welcome all kinds of input..

to the east of this area is a garden and a trio of walnut trees..north is woods..mostly aspen, some maple, and to the west is an open field with spotty evergreens, alders and an apple, south is pond.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i forgot to mention i did start a willow in a lower area of this bank near the west end, on the pond side..and along the pond have put in a baby alberta spruce, austrian pine and redleaf smoke bush as well as a few flowers along the pond, iris, daylily, ajuga, hardy geranium, etc...so i would like it to be fairly attractive..i love to sit on the flat area and watch the wildlife
 
rose macaskie
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Can you get some wood and such into the clay, clay is so heavy to work, so it would be a sort of huglekilture bed and because clay is heavy and needs lots of vegetable matter.
    What about throwing vegetable seeds around on the banks and seeing if they take. I have thrown vegetable seeds around and it is fun, i have found a cabbage growing at the foot of my pampas grass, hardly a good place for it just by my back door.  I never meant to have pampas grass, my mother did not approve of it she thought it was too showy but i brought a small bit of grass and it turned into an enormous clump of pampas grass just by my back door. Gardens have a life of their own. It is funny to see vegetables were you did not at all expect them because you threw the seed everywhere and it will be fun whatching them grow. rose macaskie.
     
 
rose macaskie
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I have thought of another reply.
    geoff lawton says that bamboo is good on the upside of canals  he says that as the roots are shallow they hold the ground in place without doing i can't remember what sort of harm to the pond or chanel or whatever.
  As to bamboo there is a bit of video of them digging up bamboo shoots to eat in Japan and thinning out the bamboo cutting out lots of bamboos so their bamboo groves don't turn into a thickets which i liked knowing because i wanted to know how to control my bamboo a bit.
      My bamboo cuts my neighbor out well i can walk out the back door in the morning hair in a mess, cup of coffee in my hand without him seeing me anymore because of a bamboo clump i planted which is extending fast. This is not very friendly but i am not sure that he is very friendly he doubles up with my husband and not with me, machism, so i don't feel as if i have to be nice to him. Anyway i prefer to walk around looking a mess protected from veiw.

    I suppose as you live in a cold bit of America your priority must be to do what sepp does to make his ponds warm the air, get the sun to reflect off them so it heats up your air. agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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as i said with the fruit trees, most of this bank is too difficult to walk on and fruit would roll down into the pond..no way to harvest it..so vegetables would be out of the question..they wouldn't get any care as i couldn't get to them..

i'm thinking of a more permanent planting ..that doesn't have to be tended..

if the banks do break down some from the winter weather..that will be helpful..and there is a LOT of vegetation mixed in as it was full full full of cattails when it was dug up..

but it is so solid you can't get a shovel into it..and so rought and steep you can't climb on it..at all..

it will be very difficult to plant ..or dig any holes into..i'll proably have  to use a pick to get any planting hole into it.

early on i did plant a willow whip ..and along the bank planted the other plants i mentioned above..but there is a large large area that is nothing but blank hard clay bank..

i probably shouild go ahead and let Joel move it with the tractor..if he can..but when i was reconsidering..i was thinking the bank making a berm or hill might be useful on our very flat property.

was thinking that the height of the bank with the pond below and woods behind..might be a more protected area from frost.

i know fruit trees do well in those conditions in our area...up on banks..that is why most of my fruit trees are planted on the sloping area from our house and drainfield to the flat ground 4' below ..so this caught my attention as a possible place for something that would love the frost drainage..but that doesn't require harvesting or much care.

i don't want anything as invasive here as bamboo..we had it before and also knotweed, and it was just too invasive for our property.

i do have books and lists of things that grow in clay so i'll be looking over that information this winter to get some ideas of what might grow well there..

i tend to plant things like roses and barberry in our clay soil now....they do wonderfully..
 
rose macaskie
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I was looking through sepp holzer videos again and it is incredible what he does with ponds reflecting sunlight onto his slopes to heat bits of his mountain side. He was growing lemons up there, in the Alps! His farms at a thousand five hundred metres, aren't they? I suppose its the Alpes he lives in. Lemons hardly grow in Madrid, at anyrate i only know of one orange tree in gardens here and so I reckoned I certainly could not grow citrus fruit at a hundred feet in Guadalajara, a good deal south of the Alps i think. Here they grow onj the east coast were there are less frosts i suppose its on the mediterenean coast. Mind you his pond reflectors are on a south facing slope i suppose. Incredible, incredible, it  really make you want to try it for yourself. your pond is in a dip isn't it so maybe it can't be used like that. Where have the fotos of it gone.
  there is a mountain village in italy taht was always in the shade and trhey made a giant reflector so they coudl recieve a bit of sun during the day, they talked about it on the news.

      The fun thing about just throwing down vegetable seeds everywhere is just to find out where they come up and ho wthey do.
    I have clay and sandy soil and after the near fifteen years i have been there letting the weeds just grow and change the soil and you would not know it was clay anymore, it has become diggable at all times, well not in the dry summer months. In the first two years it made our clothes red where the clay splashed them and it does not any more. Some of the changes are just strange, why should it have stopped making our clothes reddish?
    I did not have to feed myself or earn money from it, that made it easier to let everything that grew there just be for bettering soils
    Have you seen the buckets full of mixed seeds sepp holzer carries around with him to chuck on his farm. How does he get so many seeds? He must spend a lot of time collecting seed, i reckon he is a workaholic to fill so much land with vegetables even if he does it without digging.  agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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well my bank is a south facing slope and it does heat from the ponds reflected sunlight..that would be until it freezes and is covered with snow.

right now we have no snow..our water freezes thin on top every night but thaws during the day most days still now in November..we are having an above normal November..which is nice with the coldest year last year since 1952..hope this is an omen for a warm winter.
 
rose macaskie
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Where my grandmother lived  the soil was clay and my mother said that if you dug a hole for a tree, planted the tree and filled up the hole with ordinary soil, compost or bought soil, thinking to give a treat to your tree then you had made a hole that would fill full of water and hold it rotting your tree roots. When clay gets wet it will hold water in any basin made in it, if you fill the basin with normal soil then when the clay gets wet you will have a basin full of soil soup, a waterlogged tree root, i fill the clay hole back in round the tree roots with the clay i have taken out of the holeinstead of trying to give my tree a better soil at least just round the roots it has when planted.
      The dents made in the soil by bombs dropped on the land their turned into ponds maybe  abomb compacts the soil well though. 
        Also the good earth you filled up the hole with when you plant the tree would not be as heavy or solid as clay, making it difficult for the tree to have a sufficient anchor in the hole it is planted in to help it push roots into the clay ground round the hole.
      May sound crazy but that is what people who lived in a heavy clay area said. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  Brenda Groth, there is one thing all the two peices i have on banks that spoken by Geoff Lawton and that written by the agricultural engineers who where followers of  Hugh Hammond Bennett great american fighter against erosion and for good soils, they all  say that you must seed all the cuttings in the hills for roads to pass through, all banks that will receive  heavy rain events, get the water streaming down them, you must seed them with grass seed or grass and clover and such to stop them the rain creating areas where the water runs down in small  streams rivertlets cuttign into the slopes, riverlets whoes beds soon  soon that deepen up in the loose soil  and then widen and cause major erosion problems, that eat into the farming land  behind the cuttings in hill made to help roads pass  and will end up eroding the roads too. agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have had to experiment with planting in clay soil for 381/2 years that we have lived on this property..the clay on our soil in some areas is well over 6' deep..solid clay..under a nice topsoil.

the bank is where the soil and the cattails were dug out to enlarge and deepen the pond..so it is layers of cattails, clay and topsoil..but mostly clay.

i am well aware that you can't dig a hole and plant into it in this type of soil without allowing for some drainage..or planting in a raised bed above the clay..in the topsoil area..

the only way plants can grow well in the clay areas are above the clay or plants that like to send their roots deep into the clay..but you can't dig and plant in a hole in the clay unless it is a  plant that likes living nearly in pure water.

the bank however, is sloped..so there is no problem creating drainage for the planting holes..they would be into the sides of the bank..or at the very top..and the water would run out and down and not be filling ponds around the roots
 
rose macaskie
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Brenda Groth I had forgotten you had some plants stuck under the mud which were likely to revive and poke their heasds up and fix the banks for you, i was just thinking of what the most usefull permaculture information i could fit into this bit on banks that you have introduced. agri rose macaskie.
 
Fred Morgan
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I doubt it is applicable, but I will mention it anyway. When we have clay soil like you are talking, we use manicito. It is sort of like peanuts, but low ground cover. It spreads well and creates its own nitrogen. This might lead me to think in the north, planting clover might be a good idea.
 
rose macaskie
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  If your berm is on the north sde of hte pond and the ond is  asun trap then the normal thing to do i suppose from a permaculturist point o fveiw or at any rate a sepp holzer on e would be to see if you can't grow things that normall you would ont be able to plant their because it was to cold like tomatoes or peppers. or getting even earlier crops of apples.
  If you put stones in the pond to make the water heat up could you retard freezing? You could try hot country things with your roses just to see. Any way you are the plant expert you would know what was to delicate heat wise for were you are an dwhat to experiment with. agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we don't have a lot of stones on our property but i did find a couple of dozen larger rocks and i did put them in among the plants right along the edge of the pond when i first had it dug..mostly to hold the banks and give the wildlife like turtles, frogs and snakes, a place to sun themselves..so there are some rocks there on the edge between the water and the soil..i have put in a few perennials as well as the above mentioned trees along the bank ..to get roots in to hold the soil and they are fairly well established.

i also had some ajuga reptans extra so i planted some of it with red leaves under a red leaf smoke tree that needed a new home..so that is along one 6 to 8' long area of the bank..there is also several hardy geraniums in other areas among the rocks..

i did cut a path along the bank for several feet..but then the clay was too hard and the bank too steep for me to climb over or cut a path into..i'm hoping the winter will break down the clay enough to where it can be worked with..i would like to be able to cut a path all the way around ..so i can walk on it..and then if i don't have the bank removed..i will be able to at least access around it.
 
rose macaskie
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I shall have to look up ajuga reptans. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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Will you put fish in the pond?  I have never tried eating carp or pike, we need some German recipes for them, maybe Lee Sattler could help.

    On you tube there is  a man who has a frog house a small bunshaped pot  with a side entrance made for frogs and toads to live in.
      Toads like vertical holes in the ground, there was one at my aunts and toads simply piled up in it hibernating i suppose and i was worried about them one on top of each other and over came my repulsion and started taking them out i never got to the bottom of that as i remember and really if they chose to hibernate like that they probably know that its alright. i wonedr how they planed to get out in spring?
      This is when i was a teenager. Teenagers are living in lots of different ways from the merely boyfriend one, trying to overcome a repulsion for putting their hands in holes to pull out slimy toads for example, a sort of attempt at adulthood at facing the dirty jobs bit, a "i can face up to unpleasant things, i want to learn to be an brave adult".
      I can imagine what Freud would have to say about my unfortunate choice of examples for alternative occupations to thinking of young men, he would say it was a symbol for sex and i would be left wreathing in fury at having things twisted like that.  As i was telling the story that meant having to overcome some degree of repulsion i thought how all the adults i know treat teenagers as if the only adventure of that age group was sexual i remember the world of ideas as being a great adventure too. I used to read the twins books as a child probably don't exist any more they were about twins in different countries in the world, the eskimo twins who fished throuhg the ice, the tibetan twins who drank tea with butter in ti. they were childrens novels. The native american twins had rights of passage to adult life like rolling naked in the snow and swimming in icy streams and these stories impressed me ia desire to learn to do horrible things though i am very bad at rolling in snow.
    There is a schoool of psychiatry that rests its ideas on the importance of people trying to fullfill some role of adult they have recieved and the tensions that this causes at the same and dangers of people trying to fulfill roles, for instance if a boy conceives his role as bread winner that is good, he earns the bread but in as much as he does not see himself as an d animator or caretaker of his family in other feilds do they have freinds are they learnign to be competent adults  he may find they walk out because he is affectively and organisationally no benefit at home, only at work.
  A sergeant may be good at defending himself and his from attack and good at getting people to do thigns but he may be impatient and hard, etc. agri rose macaskie
 
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