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Dale's Hugelkultur/Aquaponics Pond from Natural Seep

 
Dale Hodgins
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There is a boggy bit of forest on flat land about 200 m from my property. It's to the north and a little higher than my south facing gentle slope. Water leaks from this and runs underground along hard pan down a little valley bottom that has maples and alder on the higher banks. There's an area about 50 ft wide by 300 ft long that grows only salmon berries and ferns.

I pointed this out to my tenant Randy who has 40 years of excavator and dozer experience. He explained the situation and showed me the best spot to place a shallow well using those big concrete rings. The slopes of this valley are made of gravel, so we'll try to avoid disturbing the hard pan. I'm at the top of a ridge that lies high above the Nanaino river. There are bands of gravel beneath the hard pan that could drain a lake.

We're going to start by digging a pond in the dry conditions of late summer and see if it fills up. The pond will be close to a one acre flatter area that slopes south. This is the most promising garden area on the whole place. Water will only need to be raised 20 ft or less to be used here.

Many of the hardwoods growing in this area will be piled up on the higher terraces near the pond to form hugelkultur beds. An artificial beaver dam hugelkultur will trap pond overflow along my southern boundary. I don't want this bed to impound water so it will be altered if that occurs.

Aquaponics - Water that is used to irrigate the slopes should drain back to the pond. A warm pond in full southern sun that is stocked with fish, will create a nutrient rich soup for the plants. The inclusion of wood waste in the beds should ensure efficient absorption of nitrate and other nutrients. I'd like to use pond water on the plants whenever possible since the pond will be constantly in a state of algal bloom during the warm months. By placing a well with a few hundred gallon reserve up hill from the pond, it would be possible to pump the dirtiest, richest water from a deep spot and then immediately top up the pond to a desired level. In order to avoid washing nutrient over a spillway, the pond could draw from the upper reserve using a float valve similar to that in the back of a toilet. Whenever there is too much water coming down the valley, it would be able to flow over the well and past the pond to the river below.

This entire little valley is about half an acre, so were not talking Aswan Dam. I'd like to go up to 10 ft. deep but all of that will be determined once we determine the scope of this resource. I'd like it to be 5000 sq. ft. , to never run short of water, never get murky and never leak. I'd also like it to stay piss warm through snowy winters, I'd like a lot of things

There are three other spots on the property where a pond could make sense. This one seems the most promising due to the slope and potential storage. It's also in a very park like zone with mature trees and sweeping views nearby. The other spots are low areas with plenty of moisture throughout the year but it is unclear whether there is any flow through from distant sources of surface water. I'll dig something in these spots and see if it is possible to pump them dry. Any hole that constantly refills during dry weather will be improved further.

Hot tub/wading pool - There's a flat spot near the well site where a bathing area would be nice. I'm thinking of something under 200 sq. ft. And less than 3 feet deep that could be roofed in glass for solar heating. Comfortable bathing is likely for 8 months of the year. Reflectors would turn it into a breadbox style water heater during the cool spring and fall. This pool would never need chemicals since it would be drained down into the pond regularly. Biodegradable soaps and shampoo would be allowed since algal bloom in the pond is expected. The pool could be seen as a pre-heater for incoming well water destined for the pond.

Photos - 1. This is a shot across the little valley. I stood right in the thick of it but the lush growth produced photos that were a sea of green with no context.
2. The wet area starts just beyond this 900 sq. ft. 14 ft. tall hugelkultur/slash pile that has been rotting for 22 months. To the right of the pile, the elevation drops about 25 ft. over a 300 ft. run.

3. This is the view from atop the giant hugelkultur mound. All of this stuff belonging to Randy, will be removed eventually and the area will be farmed. None of this is visible from the pond site.
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Miles Flansburg
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Looking forward to seeing your work here Dale. I have a couple of spots that I have been thinking of doing the same thing with.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There are quite a few other hugelkultur and aquaponic projects that I am keen to try in this area.

Aquaponic roofing with a hugelkultur component first came to mind back in Sept 2011 shortly after I first learned of hugelkultur.

Beaver Lodge Hugelkultur - A hugelkultur placed in the center of a shallow pond would wick directly from it, so that no pumping is required. Set on large stumps with a little mesh to prevent fine material from falling into the water, we'd have a sponge but also partially submerged stumps where fish could find refuge. The whole thing would look like a wading pool with an abandoned beaver lodge in the middle. This might prove to be an excellent way to keep deer off prized vegetables. Grow them on little islands.

Warm side ponds for water chestnut and other warm water crops seldom seen this far north. My slope and orientation give me an advantage with heat lovers. Dark basalt rock will help with heat absorption.

Vegetable rafts could be set afloat in the sunniest part of the pond. Growing medium would rest on pea gravel that barely touches the water. Hopefully the roots would go into the water beneath. I suspect that many plants will not tolerate this but others might thrive. Choosing soil that wicks just the right amount should help. It might be more trouble than it's worth but the idea of deer having to swim to and board a raft in order to steal vegetables appeals to me strongly.
 
Edith Stacey
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Location: Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
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Hi Dale:

Looks like a great project in the works.

There is a short video by geoff lawton on edibles to add to a pond, some of which may do ok in your climate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJylRPl1-50

I did grow galangal in my property in Auckland, New Zealand one year, thought I'd lost it to the frost, but it came back the next year with a vengeance, lifting the edge of the raised beds. As well as providing the tubers/rhyzomes extensively used in Thai (and I believe, Indonesian) cooking, a single picked bloom in the house is wonderfully fragrant.

Are there any preventive measures you'd need to take for the invasive and distractive American Bullfrog at your site? They are causing a lot of grief here on Pender eating and decimating hummingbirds apparently and there is active and expensive efforts going on to try to control and then eliminate them. I'm told they are only an issue with ponds in the sun, so presumably that's something to do with warmer water conditions.
Stan Orchard's site has many suggestions on this at: http://www.bullfrogcontrol.com

Will be interested to watch your progress.

Cheers, Edith
 
Dale Hodgins
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Edith Stacey wrote:Hi Dale:

Looks like a great project in the works.

There is a short video by Geoff Lawton on edibles to add to a pond, some of which may do ok in your climate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJylRPl1-50

I did grow galangal in my property in Auckland, New Zealand one year, thought I'd lost it to the frost, but it came back the next year with a vengeance, lifting the edge of the raised beds. As well as providing the tubers/rhyzomes extensively used in Thai (and I believe, Indonesian) cooking, a single picked bloom in the house is wonderfully fragrant.

Are there any preventive measures you'd need to take for the invasive and distractive American Bullfrog at your site? They are causing a lot of grief here on Pender eating and decimating hummingbirds apparently and there is active and expensive efforts going on to try to control and then eliminate them. I'm told they are only an issue with ponds in the sun, so presumably that's something to do with warmer water conditions.
Stan Orchard's site has many suggestions on this at: http://www.bullfrogcontrol.com

Will be interested to watch your progress.

Cheers, Edith


Geoff's video is the one that inspired me to investigate water chestnut. I'll also try cattails, duck potato and other temperate plants. A pond can be hugely productive even without these crops. No land based green manure can match the nitrogen fixing capacity of a warm sunny pond. The beauty of algae is that it never needs planting, weeding, watering or other care. Phosphorous is usually the limiting factor to optimal growth. The larger the pond, the easier it will be to manage nutrient. The quantity of fish possible from a given area of pond is also greater than would be achieved with grazing of any sort.

If the pond turns out to have a steady inflow that can maintain anywhere between 1000 and 5000 sq ft of water, then I will vastly alter my plans to take full advantage of the spa like setting. The property is just over a kilometer long, with great views in many spots, but the land is quite steep on the first 40% of it when coming off the public road, there's a water district right of way beyond that and then it's totally private for the last 500 m. The pond site lies in the most secluded area of all and it's just a hop from the best view. When I bought the place 10 years ago, it was a recently logged tangle of slash and brambles. At that time I had no idea how it would look covered in forest. In the lushest areas there are 12 year old trees up to 10 inches in diameter. In another thread, hugelkultur is referred to as a fad. In my case, if I want to have any clear land to grow crops on, it's absolutely essential to dispose of mountains of wood.

Those bullfrogs are certainly problematic in natural areas where they gobble up fish and smaller insectivores. They can arrive on a bird's feathers or they could hop here. The Nanaimo river is cold and the shaded wetland nearby is warmer but still too cold for bullfrogs. If I get them, I may find a way to trap them for sale of their legs. I'd never send a live frog to a new home. Should they be too problematic, I'd probably go for a botanical poison like rotenone and start over. If going for a total kill, it might make sense to graze the whole area around the pond with chickens, guinea foul and pigs so they can consume any escapees.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The pond will supply water that is about 15' below where it is needed for irrigation. Currently, a gas powered pump is the only means of lifting water on the property. A solar panel linked to a small pump could also work.

With either system, I'll want to store elevated water for gravity feed to desired locations. I'm looking at building a giant conical mound, similar to the big hugel beds but with rocky soil for all of the inner volume. Randy thinks we could construct a mound as high as his excavator can reach in an hour. There is plenty of fill available. It was produced during road improvements. If a platform of fill were built to the side of the mound, the potential height increases further.

A big container or a pond could sit atop the mound. I imagine it resembling a volcano with a crater lake. The southern slope would be a great spot for heat loving crops. I wonder what sort of vine looks the most like lava ?
 
Dale Hodgins
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After discussion with several children and adults, it has been decided that a proper swimming pond requires a rope swing, dock, and a slide. This is the bare minimum. If it is able to be quite large, then a little island, a small bridge and a canoe are needed.

There's another suitable pond site on flatter ground further from the nice views. A pond in this area would be about 15 ft. higher than the valley pond.
It borders my northern property line about 200 ft. from the little valley. The view to the north is tall fir trees which are nothing unique in this area. I would gladly excavate a quarter acre or more in this area and have a giant pond. We're going to start off with about 2000 sq ft and see if and how fast it fills up. This area is also filled with a tangle of salmon berries, ferns and nettles which are of no use to me. If it looks promising, all of the growth in this area will be scraped together into giant piles for use in an enormous hugelkultur project covering up to 10,000 sq. ft. The mud will be used to cap existing mounds and many loads will be piled at one end of the pond for future agricultural use.

ISLAND(S) ----- Only if a large body of water is able to be consistently maintained through the dry season, will I construct one or more islands within it.
There is nothing practical about my desire to create islands. I like little cottages on islands and castles on large ones. To me, a campground isn't complete without a body of water and that body of water should have islands in it. Any structures that are built on the islands will be miniature cottages for summer use by my visitors. I won't spend any time on islands until I'm sure that I've got year round water. If all goes well in that department, I'll spend weeks constructing each one to a certain theme. Unfortunately I have no rocky outcrops but I do have plenty of rocky glacial till to select rocks from.

----- I'd like to make a rocky one with a cottage in a Greek style. This would need to be in a sunny spot so that peppers, tomatoes, and melons could thrive.

----- I'd like to make a lush one with a grass hut and fake volcano.

----- I'd like to have a partially shaded one with an English styled cob house and a garden of broad beans, chard and peas with dwarf apple trees and a brick patio at the waters edge.

----- I'd like to make a miniature stone castle surrounded by herbs that resemble plants in a Scottish heath.

----- As stated earlier, I'd like a lot of things. I sure hope my holes fill up quickly. Randy (the excavator guy) is quite confident about our chances based on past experience. In his words --- "All the water from that hill and the wet bush to the north is getting to the Nanaimo River somehow, and this place is in the way." I hope he's right.

The inclusion of islands means that there will be more beach and more shallow areas for duck potato, lotus, and other nutrient hungry plants. If I only get a little pond, I'll want it to be mostly open water so there is somewhere to swim. With a larger one, half or more of the area could be covered in plants or overhung by fruit trees rooted on little islands.
The management of nutrient levels becomes easier when more plants are present.

This pond is about 1400 sq ft. I think it's just big enough for one island of 150 sq. ft. Mine would not have the fountains. There is a chance that some sort of fountain for aeration purposes could operate when water is run from the upper to lower pond.
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Dale Hodgins
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I'm touring all of the parks in Victoria that have ponds. Beacon Hill has many.

This is the big lilly pond. At about 6000 sq. ft. it could accommodate all of my islands which would occupy 1000 sq. ft. of it. There would still be plenty of room for swimming and other uses. It has a small island.

ALL OF THE CRAPPY PHOTOS WERE TAKEN ON AN ANDROID PHONE. I'm having computer problems. The great photos of my property are being held prisoner by a virus.
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Dale Hodgins
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Using the stone bridge as the dividing line, I'm looking at segments of Goodacre Lake. The west portion shown here is about 60,000 sq. ft. That's an acre and a 3rd. A pond this size would be absolutely ideal but probably not realistic for this property. I'd cover a quarter of it with islands. The production of larger islands would reduce the cost since materials excavated from pond could be plunked in place with a swing of the excavator arm. No trucking required. I'd still remove all growth and the first few feet of dirt. The lower materials are rocky and would make more durable islands. Muck islands would soon erode and fill up the deep spots.
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Dale Hodgins
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The eastern portion of Goodacre Lake is about 30,000 sq. ft. or 3/4 of an acre. It contains McTavish island, which is about 1500 sq. ft. but only 2 ft above water level. I'd like all of mine to be taller. The island contains pumps for water circulation and It's a refuge for nesting birds. The big evergreens aren't naturally flat topped. Generations of nesting herons have flattened them. When the herons nest elsewhere, eagles, hawks and gulls perch on them.
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Dale Hodgins
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I call this one poopey pond. It contains the dirtiest water in the park. Tourists feed ducks in and beside the water. About 6000 sq. ft. minus an island. It's connected to two smaller but equally poopey ponds. Up to 200 ducks regularly congregate here.

All of these shallow ponds have water quality issues.
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Dale Hodgins
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I went to some more parks but this time I was looking for islands. There aren't many surrounded by water but plenty of rocks and growing beds surrounded by grass. By standing in these spaces I was able to determine suitable sizes for tenting sites, little cottage sites and so on.

The first little island is 150 sq. ft. Plenty of room for a couple trees and room for several swimmers to lounge. I wouldn't want to camp on it. One wrong move and you've got wet feet.

The next one is 800 sq. ft. which could easily host a cottage or two tenting sites for people who are together.
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Sean Banks
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just a thought....have you consider bamboo for your island?.....an island in the middle of a pond would be a great way to contain its spreading.
 
Adam Klaus
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Really enjoyed all the pics from your pond tours around Victoria, Dale. Thanks for taking the time to post up all the photos. Victoria is such a beautiful place. I still remember the impression Butchart Gardens made on me when I was much younger and not even into growing yet. And another large park in Victoria that passed a blissful day in my youth. Good memories.

Good luck on your pond adventures, I get so much joy and satisfaction from the pond I built last year. Just wonderful.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Sean Banks wrote:just a thought....have you consider bamboo for your island?.....an island in the middle of a pond would be a great way to contain its spreading.


Yes, That's a plan for one with a tropical theme. Since it is shallow rooted it would go on a shallow island with soil that wicks moisture. Possibly a hugelkultur aspect to this one. I'd probably include a little stilt house and dock as are seen in South East Asian estuaries.

An issue with crop trees on a little island is that much of the fruit is dropped in the water. Bamboo will still reach for the light, so more curved chunks would result than in a mass planting. Growing space on these islands will also be reserved for items likely to be destroyed by rabbits, chickens, deer and slugs. It's pretty easy to completely eliminate the first three and control slugs since they couldn't migrate from forested areas as they do now.

I imagine that any invasive that spreads along the ground would be easy to prevent from taking hold on such a small chunk of real estate.

Certain tender crops may like the moderation of heat and humidity in the middle of a pond. It might work as a season extender.

The very brightest spot on the property could be a Greek island with a whitewashed brick wall facing south. Reflected light off the water adds to it. (bring your sunglasses !!! ) Egplants, melons, globe artichokes, lemons, and heat loving herbs would thrive and lend an exotic feel. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Things that are prone to mold might be more likely to suffer.

Crops that are prone to being damaged by birds would be more at risk on a little island where it would be more difficult to use netting or send the dog after them.

I wouldn't waste island space on run of the mill crops like potatoes, grains or pumpkins. The islands are likely to generate far more income as campsites, so attractiveness is important. Things that roam over hill and vale or that look messy late in the season will not be favored.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Adam Klaus wrote:Really enjoyed all the pics from your pond tours around Victoria, Dale. Thanks for taking the time to post up all the photos. Victoria is such a beautiful place. I still remember the impression Butchart Gardens made on me when I was much younger and not even into growing yet. And another large park in Victoria that passed a blissful day in my youth. Good memories.

Good luck on your pond adventures, I get so much joy and satisfaction from the pond I built last year. Just wonderful.


Some of these are taken at Government House. The gardens there have evolved quite a bit in the last decade. I helped a little with many plants from job sites. The south hillside is similar to my hill so far as heat is concerned. I find that whenever I'm designing, it helps to go somewhere similar and figure out what you like about it. At Government house, I like the seemless blending of gardens with natural areas and the huge variation from wet and lush to hot, dry slopes with amazing views.

I'm probably the only person who sees so many similarities between my property and one of the most expensive chunks in the country. In a few years, I expect it to be evident to the casual observer.

Pretty much the whole city is off pesticides now. Nobody would dare admit to such a dastardly act anymore.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Various parts of a theme island --- I'm really beating this island thing to death --- I did the same thing when I discovered hugelkultur and years ago when I determined that I had to have a free house. It's a whole lot of thinking out loud. A mental exercise to determine not only what is possible, but what is probable and to figure out what I like. It ain't easy being me. I currently have a dozen other grand plans brewing that I haven't made public. Sometimes I wake up at 3 am and write stuff down. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Various Parts of a Theme Island --- Every island that is themed after a different part of the world will need to have a few basic components.

1. A landing spot and somewhere to tie off a little boat. A bit of sloped gravel that is clear of plants is needed for visitors who swim to the island. Built as part of each landing spot.

2. A representative structure which becomes a compact sleeping quarters at night.

3. Edible plantings that go with the theme. Plantings need to be kept in check so that the islands don't become generic green mounds. I've seen many little islands that are home to large bushy trees that reach for the light over the water in all directions, totally obscuring the shape and size of the island and blocking off all beach areas.

4. A seating area where visitors can look at their little world and the world beyond.

5. A shallow area surrounding most of the beach that is home to wetland plants. Wild rice might grow around the stilt house on the bamboo island. The English one would have water lilies.
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Naming Islands--- It's not common practice to assign names to every 200 sq. ft. patch of dirt on a farm. Many farms don't have any name at all. But I've noticed that even very small islands often get named. I think it's because they have such well defined borders and are therefore seen as separate entities. I like naming things but will seek input on these matters much later after the size, number and themes of all ponds have had a year to settle in. I also plan to name all of the public trails and to place these names on official looking signs at trail heads.
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----- A Happy Digression That Relates To Naming Things ----- 16 Years Ago, I Built A Hugelkultur And Named It Jasmine Mountain -----

When I bought the place 10 years ago, most of the flattish spots had been clear cut. In the heat of summer it was unbearably hot and it was difficult to get anywhere due to the huge quantity of slash in some spots. My 18 year old daughter was 8 at the time. Brambles and slash were taller than her. Average sight line was about 8 feet for me and 2 for Jasmine. She really didn't like the place and at that age she had no concept of how nature would fix this mess. Two weeks ago, she offered to take me to a restaurant for my birthday. I said that all I wanted for my birthday was for her to come with me to the property and spend an hour walking around. It was her first visit since she was 10. I had just finished clearing most small evergreens from a wide area(they block views)and thinning out hardwoods to make pathways. Branches below 8 ft. are largely gone. Trees that were smaller than my thumb have grown, some as thick as my waist. The slash rotted long ago, so now it is easy to get around and it's 30 degrees cooler on a sunny July day. Sight lines of hundreds of feet in some spots.

Back to Naming Things ----- We visited some pond sites. Beside the largest one is a 900 sq. ft. --- 14 ft. tall hugelkultur mound. My daughter smiled and asked if I'd be naming it Jasmine Mountain. The mound that I built 16 years ago consisted of 17 Douglas Fir stumps and some slash covered in muck. The debris was piled beside a low spot and I had a backhoe dig a small pond and dump all of the dirt on top and around it. A few big rocks from the house excavation were strategically placed in order to create a rock garden. When it was barely finished, it was dubbed Jasmine mountain. I used to time her as she scrambled to the top of it. This took about 30 seconds when she was 2 and about 5 seconds when she was 9. By 11, she was too big to engage in that sort of thing. As she grew, her mountain shrunk a little, but the plantings did well and made it seem taller. ----- When she was quite little, having a mountain named after her was a point of pride. When grampa came to visit, she took him to see it and insisted that they climb it together. She sometimes weeded it or informed me if big thistles threatened to block her path to the top. When the rock plants were in flower, she watered them. It grew berries. By the time Jasmine was 10, she viewed the mound as just part of her yard, but she would still tell visiting friends that she used to think it was a mountain and that it was fun to climb it.

MY POINT AND I DO HAVE ONE
--- When small bits of real estate have a name, it defines them as special places that have value. It says, look, this is unique and it draws positive attention to the person for whom it is named.

The tallest new mound on the property will be somewhere around 25 feet above the surrounding landscape. It will be called Jasmine Mountain. It will be made from rock and gravelly muck dug from a pond. It will look like crap in the beginning but in time will support many plants. Jasmine is good with that plan but she says there's no way she's going to have me time her as she scrambles up it. I'll trick her by proposing a race. She's fast, but not faster than the old man !
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Erosion
--- Some islands may literally settle into the pond to some degree since they will be formed from rocks and bottom mud. Some of the rocky material was piled up 13 years ago during logging operations. Other stuff was heaped 100 years ago during railway construction. It holds its shape well.

Settling and when to build
--- I think that one wet season with the numerous freeze - thaw cycles should be enough time for each mound to find a final shape. None of the structures are getting marble mosaic floors, so a little future settling shouldn't hurt. I'll get the excavator to pile on more than is needed in each case. Excess material can always be used in the shallows around each island.

Barge
--- I'm going to need some means of ferrying building materials, plants etc. to the islands. Some sort of floaty dock is needed for swimmers, so this could be used to move stuff.
 
Dale Hodgins
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BACK TO THE HUGELKULTUR PART OF THE POND PLAN.

I'm looking at hugelkultur as a biofilter for pond water that is very rich in nutrients. On sloped ground that has hard pan beneath, it should be possible to pump water onto beds and then have it flow back to the pond in a much cleaner state. That's the dream. It may turn out that the valley walls allow most of the water to percolate and leave the system.

I suspect that my valley sides will be too porous to be treated as a drain back system. If and when this proves to be the case, I'd like to try two separate aquaponic systems to see which works better.

Both systems would use the natural slope covered with pond liner. One would have the normal sort of gravely substrate seen in aquaponics. The other would have hugelkultur beds on top of the same type of membrane. Water would be pumped to both systems.
A hugelkultur bed would give more surface area. It might also get too saturated which could cause rot problems with the crops or the wood could break down very quickly.

My best guess is that the gravely substrate approach could deliver pond nutrients more efficiently without blockages and mold problems.

I might find that pond water is best applied to a hugel bed at quantities that don't cause total saturation and run off. Should this be the case, there would be no logical reason to couple a hugel bed with a pond liner. Instead, pond water could occasionally be poured on top. Close proximity would not be necessary since It's an occasional one way transfer.

Any combination of these methods will be tried.

A big pond provides a huge amount of nutrients, so pond water could be pumped to greenhouses or outdoor vegetable beds on higher ground and return through pipes or stream and waterfall systems which would aerate the water.

WATERFALL AND STREAM WITH A BATHING POOL

I like the idea of returning water to the pond through a stream, little wading pool, and waterfall system. The water exiting an aquaponic grow bed is going to be far cleaner and usually warmer than water in the pond. It is possible that on cool mornings in spring and fall, the grow beds would tend to cool the water, but by afternoon when most swimming occurs, a shallow bed in the sun is going to heat up. A greenhouse would greatly increase the temperature of effluent. I could see a system fully enclosed by a greenhouse extending the swimming season by several months in this climate.
--------
SKIMMING POND TO FEED CHICKENS AND WATER FOWL.

I hope to produce massive quantities of algae, duck weed and other forage on the surface of the pond. In order to maximize the gathering of pond plants, I need to gather from the surface and possibly manually gather materials. The water could be run over a screen which would trap plants, bugs and tiny fish. The birds could feed directly from the screen. This would allow birds to eat from a swimming pond while they are fenced out to prevent them from shitting in the pond.

Most farm ponds that I've encountered would make great swimming spots were it not for the duck shit that fouls the water, grass and bottom mud. Ducks don't currently use this land and I don't intend to turn it over to them in the future.

I do intend to have a duck pond. It will be shallow and in full sunlight. All water fowl will be imprisoned in a big enclosure that includes a pond and some pasture. The pasture may be managed in paddocks.

The plan is to feed the ducks far more water plants than their pond produces. The duck pond needs to be the lowest in the system. Whenever they consume most of their duckweed and algae, a new batch will be dragged to an adjustable spillway and sent down a trough to the ducks. This seems more labor efficient than trying to fork or screen the material for wheelbarrow transport. Wind drives surface plants into large concentrated bunches in some ponds. I'll find the best spots. Bugs and little fish may also be caught up in the flotsom.

The duck pond will become a rich soup of poop and algae. A sump pump placed in the lowest, muckiest spot will deliver water to heavy feeding plants. Crops with high nutrient needs should be cultivated near the duck pond. A duckquaponic system could also be run from this pond.
 
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THE MONEY.

This all sounds expensive. It won't be in the beginning. My arrangement with the excavator is that I get 3 hours a month as rent. The big test holes will use less than a month's worth. Another couple hours may go into testing clay sealers and I might put $200 into transporting clay. Exhausted gravel pits 5 miles away are a dumping ground now, so I might spend $50 per tandem load to cover the extra time and secure the best stuff.

By next spring, water level questions will be answered. By mid summer, retention questions should be answered. By that time, I'll have 30 hours in the time bank. If all is well, then I'll go for it and possibly use up 50 hours machine time. Massive hugelkultur construction and other land sculpting will happen in conjunction with pond construction. It will look like an insurmountable tangled mess to the untrained eye.

Once initial construction is done, it's likely that I'll have a couple thousand invested in clay, a bit of pipe and machine services that Randy can't supply. Randy may be a year ahead on his rent.

My area is becoming gentrified. Small home sites of 3 to 8 acres can fetch $40,000 per acre. That's for raw land with minimal improvements. Most of these places don't have the panoramic views or year round surface water. I have 7.5 acres that I believe will be greatly enhanced by ponds.

The funny thing about this expensive land is that most of it is overgrown in brambles. The primary agricultural product in my area is horse shit. People clear a patch, then promptly over graze it with horses. Some import hay and straw and grain from Alberta. Have a look at a Canadian map. This will help you to totally grasp that absurdity. They don't sell horses and the shit is given away. Some of the horses are ridden while others job seems to be to wait in small paddocks, as they stand ankle deep in very expensive poop.

Several friends and aqaintences have expressed grave concerns about my lack of financial wisdom in pursuing a plan that doesn't include the production of horse shit with imported feed. This makes me the crazy one.

I may eventually spend 10, 20 or $30,000 on ponds and associated landscaping. I firmly believe that this would be money well spent, simply based on property value, for recreation, even if I didn't use the ponds to produce an abundance of organic produce, meat and fish.
 
Edith Stacey
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Dale: Sounds like you've so many ideas that sleep has become a luxury you're forgoing!
I'd love to come visit your property some time to better grasp some of your plans.
It will have to wait awhile though as I'm just starting into week three of a 20 week chemo regimen, traveling each week from Pender to the CClinic at the Royal Jubilee, so I'm enjoying reading about your dreams/plans in lieu of doing much on my own property save watering the fruit trees I planted in the spring plus a few others still in pots where they shall remain until the fall.

As to keeping ponds/swimming holes clean enough for human use on an ongoing basis.... my guess is that would be a learning process for the first few years, but like you I think a bigger volume of water would be better. I did read an article in a NZ permaculture mag some years ago where a couple made a natural swimming pool with a gravel bottom and one side was very shallow, kinda like a wide plant shelf for filtration and emulating a wetland sort of thing. They had a lot of naysayers telling them it couldn't be done and altho' they had some challenges along the way, like birds eating the fish etc, they made modifications and were very happy with it.

I recall also a very polluted run-off lake/pond in Vietnam that was brought back into a lovely productive ecosystem with only a couple of applications of brewed up EM. I have seen a video on that one, but of course can't now locate it. For what it's worth I have bought EM from a gal on Lee Ave in Victoria and make some up from time to time to speed up the woodchip breakdown. It is a different product from the one I used in NZ and doesn't brew up all nice and fluffy, but still manages to do the job.

In my personal experience (in this case quite limited) duck sh** is also very slippery and so some restriction on their meanderings to and from their pond or at least dissuading them from your main pond would be optimum. Hey you may get some fly in swans take up residence like happened at the Pacific Horticulture Centre on the Saanich peninsula. Would be a great added attraction, and even Murray McMurray sells them for about $1500 a breeding pair, so you could add that to your savings. What are your predator problems there? You say you are 8 kms from the ocean, so you may not get the same problems with mink that we get here with domestic poultry. What about racoons or coyotes?

I was talking with another newcomer to Pender recently and she was telling me that she's getting rid of her old trusty canoe as their adult kids only want to paddleboard or play disc golf when they visit. If you're interested I'll ask her--she just wanted it gone, no cash. Let me know.

Edith
 
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Hey Edith. I'll give you a call about the canoe. Give me a call whenever you come to the city with an empty vehicle. I get nice finished compost , plants and other free stuff from my demolition jobs. I'm doing some bus tours that are free for deserving volunteers. You probably know some from the cancer clinic. If so, ill take them along. You can come as well. I hate to see empty seats.

On the pond cleanliness issue, I intend to do exactly what is seen in those YouTube videos showing natural swimming pools in Europe. It's not hit and miss. A pond fed from the very clean water typical of this island that has plentiful plant life, will stay nice and clean. I will banish all water fowl except swans, but I'll never buy any. The Nanaino river is a popular flyway. I'm sure they'll find me.
 
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I was on the road with my bicycle all weekend, hunting down ponds, lakes, bridges, islands etc. Here are some photos .

I have driven past the farms on Blenkinsop Road many times. Saturday was the first time I took the bike trail which has a trestle across Blenkinsop Lake. This place is crawling with life. Fish, turtles, herons, kingfishers, grebes, frogs ... The water is very rich with filamentatious algae, water lilly, duck weed and bottom plants. I assume that farm runoff has contributed to this.

A much smaller pond managed in this rich state would provide prodigious quantities of fish, duck and human food. The emergent zone could make up a greater percentage of area and not rely so heavily on lillys. It would contain lotus, duck potato, iris, wild rice and other edibles. Constant harvesting would remove nutrient from the system. Aquaponic grow beds along the shore would feed on the amazing fertility. Since I'm starting with clean water, it would be easier to manage eutrification in a home pond where nutrient inputs are monitored.
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Rithet's Bog isn't inundated with farm runoff. Different plants dominate the emergent zone. Pathways and boardwalks allow easy access.

The last photo shows the edge of a thicket that lies just inland from the emergent zone. Without human intervention, most ponds in this climate will develop tightly packed woody and reed like thickets up to 15 feet high that surround and obscure the body of water from view. This is most common with ponds that have huge fluctuations of water level. Muck bottoms also favor the thickets. Mine will not have a thicket except for a small area along my northern boundary where I'd like to control access.
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Dale Hodgins
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I'm waiting for a commercial floor sander to arrive so I can start today's work. It's absolute drudgery but only my arms and legs will be involved. My mind is too busy with farm related business. ------------

Every swimming pond needs a dock and a floating platform. My dock will be smaller than this public one. The floating platform in the second photo is perfectly sized. One like this could be tied to the end of the dock most of the time. It could be detached whenever it is needed to ferry materials to islands, to be used as a gathering platform while harvesting emergent plants, or as a movable deck used while netting fish, dredging or any number of functions to help maintain the system.

I'll go with a small bit of boardwalks that allow visitors to view the wetland portions without getting their feet muckey. 100 feet or so with a seating area at the end. ---- I have a friend who uses a wheelchair. He is going to be my "guinea pig" regarding access. Most boardwalks like this are inaccessible not due to the structures themselves but to awkward, bumpy paths that lead to them. Paths of fine stone dust are easy to keep smooth and the surface can get nice and hard. It locks together much better than gravel does and doesn't present a loose surface. Any path that Dave finds suitable will work well for elderly visitors as well.

My friend Diedrick crashed a bike while racing through the Alps. He's in a chair but quite active. He told me that It's been 20 years since he swam in water that doesn't reek of chlorine. Access and filth from ducks have been the reason. The guy has arms like a stone mason's and moves through water like an otter. Both of these guys get to camp here for free.
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Dale Hodgins
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Trees ---- I expect that the ponds will eventually be surrounded by many trees. All trees must serve me, the pond or visitors in some way. Unfortunately, most native wetland trees are not ideal since they produce nothing that I want. There are a few that have value for wildlife. Many of these will be part of the thicket on the northern boundary. Most of the land on this island is managed for forestry, and a good chunk of that is park. The wildlife don't need a refuge here.

Most of the trees will be species that produce fruit and nuts.
I'll try out many common and less common items. Palatability, yield, ease of cultivation and harvest and marketability are important factors. I may keep a few unique specimens that don't seem economically viable, but most of available space should go to those that are. Part of my job now is to taste test a wide array of candidates.

Form
---- Some trees will be selected for their unique shape, leaf pattern, bark texture etc. I'm surrounded by thousands of acres of conifers that all share the same general shape. Even the hardwoods in their midst must reach for the sky as they compete for light. I want the pond area to look unique and a big part of that will be determined by tree and bush selection.

Ease of Cultivation
----- Some trees are easily pruned, transplanted and manipulated in other ways. Others are very picky. I don't want plants that have to be fussed over. Palm trees are often grown here, by people who enjoy the challenge. These trees produce nothing beyond a few leaves and tourist photographs. I don't care where my trees originate but I want the vast majority to be types that will survive and thrive in my climate without special care.

Wood---- I'm sure that many of the trees will produce some nice wood eventually. I also expect to be dead and gone before most of them reach harvestable size. So, it's a lesser concern. Some may produce useful coppice. I've never done much whittling and am unlikely to use many sticks for that. It would be nice to market tool handle wood.

Bamboo
isn't a tree but produces a sort of lumber, so I include it here. This is a forest crop that produces a useful yield on a reasonable time scale. There is a ready market here for the larger types that can be used to build things. Most bamboo grown here is small running stuff that is quite invasive. I'm only interested in the larger varieties, preferably clumpers.

Firewood is abundant and free around here, so no need to grow it on purpose. Scraps that have no particular use go to firewood or hugelkultur.

Willow
----- I'm not particularly enamored with willow but I will include a few large specimens just because it's something that many visitors would like to see. Willow doesn't produce fruit or wood that I'm likely to need. I will not bring in any of the multitude of tiny willows that can invade the edge of the emergent zone and fill it with useless little sticks.

Here are a few examples of tree forms I'd like to see on islands and in the landscape.
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Dale Hodgins
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Beaches ----- I'm going to be using the term beach rather loosely. In a small pond situation, I take it to mean any place where a swimmer could get out of the water while remaining relatively clean while not destroying any emergent plants.

Gravel ----- is a natural choice for me since the land is made of gravel and silt. Screen some with the excavator , pick out any big nuggets and we're done. This isn't at all like crushed rock. Most of it is rather smooth. It comes in a hundred colors since it is the grindings made over a very long trip by a huge "geological gizzard" called a glacier. Visitors may steal pretty rocks which is no big deal. I can buy pit run gravel for about $8 per ton which makes it one of the cheapest commodities this planet has to offer.

Big slabs of rock
----- I don't have natural outcrops and may have to buy some nice slabs to cap small islands made of glacial till. A big smooth rock is the perfect spot for swimmers to haul out for a rest.

Big potato shaped rocks
----- Most big chunks of glacial till come out looking somewhat like a potato. You never see any that look like a dolphin, a Frisbee or a piano. These rocks can form a nice jumbled beach with lots of seating spots. Rocks weighing over 200 lb. work best. On beaches where smaller football sized stuff is available, idiots will smash them and create many sharp shards that are very hard on the feet.

Sand
----- Although a traditional beach surface, sand usually gets quite mucky in a pond situation. On natural beaches, it is constantly recycled through action of waves and tides. In a rich pond situation, sand is likely to get stinky or grow grass or be moved from the beach to the depths by foot traffic or by dirty rotten little kids. Sumps that supply water to aquaponic beds or other uses would then suck up all the sand which would tend to clog up the grow beds. Just for fun, I'll try one little beach of sand, to see how long it takes for one of these fates to befall it.

Brick Paving, Flagstone or Concrete
----- A nice hard surface is sometimes appreciated. There will be times when a truck or cart or wheelbarrow needs to haul stuff to or from ponds. When not in use, paved areas are a perfect spot to set up chairs or blankets for sun roasters. (They aren't bathing. They're roasting in the sun) If I lie half naked in the shade of a tree, am I shade bathing ?

Poolside Patio and Outdoor Kitchen
----- I'm going to want a large, flattish area suitable for tables, chairs, barbecue, gazebo... Picture a poolside eatery at a high end resort. I've seen the pictures --- never stayed in such a place. This will be the spot where visitors pose to have their pictures taken by the giant lotus. More time and money will be lavished on this spot than on any other part of the landscape. This is the spot where wedding parties will eat, where family reunions will take place and where camping groups will agree to meet. A photo of happy guests meeting here will feature prominently in my advertising. This is where I'll have a stone slab table, facing the view so I can survey my kingdom and plot my next move.

There is a moderate natural slope at the northern end of the valley pond site. A patio here could have several tiers, each offering a different view. The upper area where there is room for a much larger pond, is flatter and would be a better spot for a single level patio that would be easier to get around on.

This area will evolve over time. In the beginning it will be very basic. There will be settling and some erosion early on, so no point doing anything fancy. The moment I decide that the ground has settled enough, it will be time to plant trees in this area.

There are already many established trees near the patio area. Most evergreens will be taken down as they are required for building. Big maples dominate the area now. Most will be harvested within a few years and replaced by more useful species. These contain enough wood for thousands of feet of flooring and other uses around the property.
 
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The Pond Business ---- Once I have a well established pond, I will also have many self replicating plants and animals to sell.

I've been to the pond stores and I'm not impressed. They all have plastic liners, pumps, fake waterfalls and a hundred other things to sell. The idea of producing food in and around the pond is not something that visitors are exposed to. I understand that they are playing to the market, so the customers ultimately choose which stores thrive.

These stores are located near the highways where there's lots of potential customers. I've never been to one that was in a natural setting where it looked like a spot where nature would put a pond. Instead, they are in greenhouses or open areas in a retail garden store. I think mine, though less convenient would appeal to many. I don't want to be the pump and pipe guy. But I could see becoming the plant and fish guy. Those expensive retail locations buy in all that stuff. There's a pond store in Victoria that I've heard is spending $25,000 a year for rent. Then there's employees, electricity, theft ... and the list goes on. It's expensive to maintain a retail store. Many specialty stores that have mark ups of 100%, 200% and more still manage to fail when sales volumes fail to meet levels that justify the expenditures.

My store would be a picnic area beside the pond. I already have a cell phone. That's it. Basically no overhead. Inventory would be harvested from the pond upon sale.

The beach photos are here since the machinery timed me out on the previous post. I like the clean look of gravel and I like how easily it is cleaned up when dirty. These beaches both accumulate seaweed that gets stinky. A few tides or rains later, its good again.
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Logan Simmering
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I'm wondering, what about using black locust in your hugelponic experiment to ameliorate rot issues?
 
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Logan Simmering wrote:I'm wondering, what about using black locust in your hugelponic experiment to ameliorate rot issues?


That might make a fun experiment if I had any. I do want to plant some but useful quantities of wood are years away.

I don't view quick rotting as a negative. I see it as quick soil building. Suppose I could rot tree stumps 20 times faster by pouring liquid duck shit and algae over them daily. I would call every trucking company around and have them pay me for stump disposal. The focus of the whole enterprise would shift to quick rotation of the stumps and anything growing would become a sideline to that business. But that's wishful thinking. It's still going to take a while to rot large amounts of wood.
 
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I'm probably 10 postings away from finishing the design and planning phase of this project. Here are some of the upcoming topics that haven't been covered yet. - I'm seldom accused of being too brief -

Other Structures
---- We still need a bridge,

Weirs,

A submerged walking path that allows up close viewing of the emergent zone,

An underwater viewing structure,

A flying fox cable ride ( I built one of these for my kids and it was the most used toy in the neighborhood )

Wildlife viewing blinds --------

---- Growing issues not yet covered ----

Fish
- species, management, markets, predators,

Unwanted critters
- MOSQUITOS, leeches, mink, weasels, herons, eagles, osprey, king fishers, raccoons, bears, tigers and other fish eaters.

Desirable wild creatures
and how to accommodate them - bats, frogs, swallows, salamanders, newts, alligator lizards, humming birds, and other insectavores.

Planting the emergent zone to maximize food production, water quality, and profit.

Pets - Some breeds of dog will never be allowed.

Insurance
- I'll need some.
More later.


 
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Enough with the nuts and bolts for a while. Here's a little about my vision for the property. Those topics can wait.

I want to change my zoning from resource management to park, recreational and/or school.
Rather than presenting the planning people with a blank slate, I won't bring them to the property until much of the landscaping is well on it's way. The reasons for this are many.

1. I'm not keen to have them decide that something needs permits, a feasibility study or other paper costs added.

2. The property doesn't currently look suitable for a campground or school, due to a lack of amenities.

3. I want something on the property to be the most amazing example of that particular thing that any of them or I have ever seen.
They've all seen great views, trees, country roads, farm animals and gardens. None of my examples of these things will be the talk of the office. --- I'll bet none of them have seen an aquaponic system that is totally integrated into a landscape, where recreational facilities coexist with food production. I'll plan their visits to coincide with maximum lushness when lillies are in bloom, humming birds are migrating and many edibles are coming out of the gardens. It's going to be pretty easy to get the parkland designation. If I can sell the idea that what I'm up to is teachable and that a school for this sort of thing would benefit the tourism industry, it's likely to pass. I believe the fact that I'm part of the tourism industry should help. Getting permission to construct a residential school with a meeting hall and other amenities would increase my wealth instantly.

4. This is the biggie. I have to set things up so that they aren't suspicious of my intentions.
The people on the zoning committee have been exposed to many grand "educational" plans in the past. We've had odd religious groups and naked meditation guys and guys in pajamas promising everything from faith healing to inner peace through yodeling. The majority of these things fail and become a laughing stock. A woman named Stancey who claimed clairvoyance amongst other powers, convinced dozens of people to sell their homes and leave the island to avoid a giant tsunami that was to wipe us out at the turn of the millennium. The conservative types that find themselves on the planning board have seen quite enough. Taxes don't get paid, neighbors complain, really crappy and dangerous hovels get built, unplanned shanty towns develop. To avoid being lumped with this sad lot, I want physical evidence that there are real tangible benefits to the environment and the local economy to be realized. And, I want them to see that I'm farming. They don't mind farming. I've been here 20 years. Most of the healers and such have been recent arrivals from points east. That should lower some red flags.

5. I need time to establish a working relationship with several businesses of a touristy nature that operate within a few miles of me. My immediate neighbor is the largest paint ball place around. If you're unfamiliar, it's a bunch of yahoos playing war games while shooting little gel balls of paint at one another. They scream like girls for the duration. This place doesn't have appropriate zoning.

There is also a bungy jumping place and a trail riding place. I'm the only one with a bus that is legal to haul paying passengers. I intend to feed quite a bit of business through these places. When the time comes for my application to be processed, I'll have a track record of bringing lots of money to town. Planning types like that.

That's all for now on this issue. More will develop over time.
 
David Hartley
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Dale Hodgins wrote:.....
Willow
----- I'm not particularly enamored with willow but I will include a few large specimens just because it's something that many visitors would like to see. Willow doesn't produce fruit or wood that I'm likely to need. I will not bring in any of the multitude of tiny willows that can invade the edge of the emergent zone and fill it with useless little sticks......


As I'm sure you know; willow can be used as a rooting hormone... However; so can poplars, such as Populus trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood). As well as the Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes); of which, the dwarf variety appeals to me...

Oh; and "willow whips" are great for making baskets, woven blinds, etc
 
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Yes, I'm sure there are some uses for the sticks. I don't see myself weaving them but visitors might. I didn't know of the hormone thing.

The only types that I'm really averse to are small varieties that could run rampant. The best type would be something that makes uniform coppice.
 
David Hartley
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Home Made Plant Rooting Hormone – Willow Water


Link is now fixed
 
Dale Hodgins
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Thanks David Hartley.

After a hard days work today, I'm going to leave the giant list alone and talk about some other things about the property. ( The word property is the only one I know of that uses 4 letters in a row across a standard key board. The erty part. )
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Other Water Resources On The Property

The seep running along the hardpan is not the only water available. There are other sources that hold some promise.

Wells --- My place is long and skinny. It runs along the ridge of the Nanaimo River valley. In some places it's near flat. About 35% of it is quite steep. A roadway runs for most of the 1.2 km --- 5/8 mile length and that road blocks the flow of surface water in a few spots. After determining the maximum size of ponds, we'll dig a few wells that could grab water from further away. Wells could be used to top up the ponds, should the need arise. Since I'm surrounded by forest, there is no competition for well water.

Seasonal Stream
--- I call it a stream. Others have called it a ditch. The water is nice and clean with bugs and frogs but no fish since it dries up completely in the summer. Surprisingly few mosquitos considering the amount of water standing around in the absence of fish. --- During the winter rain, it flows at probably more than 10 garbage cans per second. That's the only means of measurement I had at the time. That's about 200 gallons per second or 12,000 gallons per minute. --- By March the flow is half of that of January. By mid May it could take 15 minutes to fill the garbage can, and then it's gone until October. During the driest months, the river is dry. I don't own the land beyond so there's nothing I can do about that and I doubt that much could be done. The stream drains an area of gravelly forest that leaks water constantly. My seep mentioned in the title of this thread, is part of that leakage. ---- The stream is separated from the best pond sites by about 500 and 600 feet with a hump in the middle.

Developing the stream ---- The stream has a muck bottom that consists of mostly rotted leaves of cottonwood and alder. Dredging produces a nice growing medium that is replaced annually. It runs across the property at about 90 degrees at a spot where the land is about 130 ft wide. There are two distinct parts separated by a culvert that my road runs over. The upper portion opposite the hill is pretty flat. Water passes through 20 ft. of culvert and exits onto the sloped hillside where it cascades down a couple hundred feet to the river flats. Even during peak flow in winter, all of that water soaks into the gravelly soil in the valley and finds its way to the river under ground. It produces a big temporary pond that can be 2 acres in area but only about 2 feet deep. The big puddle percolates through the soil shortly after a rain. Walking through my neighbors forest on the flats, in the summer, there is little evidence that this spot floods. The land gets dry as a chip. Even the steep slope shows little evidence of a stream in summer. There is no distinct channel. The bark on trees is a little smoother and a few rocks are exposed and that's it. Undergrowth hides whatever channels do develop. Then starting in October or November I have a waterfall that goes from a trickle to a torrent by December. I only own about 30 ft of the drop. Most of the really steep slope belongs to my neighbor. One day I'll approach him about developing the power potential. It makes little sense for me to do it on my own ---- 30 ft. of head vs 200+ ft. of head. -------------------- For now I'll do nothing on the waterfall side of the road. I don't want to cause erosion or bugger with my waterfall. I might clear a few branches. It was totally visible when it was part of a clear cut. Now the cottonwoods are a foot thick and they're threatening to block the view completely. ---------- The upper, mucky part of the stream/ditch could use a little pond to one side. This area is overrun with salmon berries and also contains some very scraggly alder that are dead or dying. My road and culvert are the weir that determines water level on this side of the road. If the culvert had been set 2 ft. lower when it was placed about 15 years ago, the land would be drier and young alder would be growing in place of the rotting ones. Instead it's a very unnatural wetland where trees struggle but wetland species are absent. If it were left alone for 100 years, it would probably turn into a skunk cabbage sort of bog. I believe this area is the source of most of my mosquitos which aren't bad at all. They thrive in man made muck holes that don't have fish. Dragonflies constantly patrol the area. I've seen their nymphs in the water. I'm going to root out the dying trees and see if a pond here will hold water through the summer. Any fish placed in the pond would be at risk of being washed over the hill each fall, so the pond might need to be separated from the flow by a rocky levee. The area contains a few high spots that contain small trees. These areas would become either peninsulas or islands depending on water depth.

Photos

This is the waterfall in April about a month before it's done for the season. At times it is 50 times larger.

The water in the stream is pretty much obscured by the tangle of branches.

This is the area flooded by the choice of culvert placement.
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Dale Hodgins
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So, I just finished calculating the peak flow, and got some big numbers. Over 17 million gallons in a day. I re worked it a dozen times since that's a big number. It works out to 53 acre feet per day. That's enough to cover an acre of land 53 feet deep !!!

All of this water arrives at a time when the whole coast is saturated and I have little need for water. But as you can see, my water problems are all about retention and not about any sort of deficit. There's a time in spring when the flow drops to 2 gallons per minute or half an acre foot per day. Ponds could be filled to the overflow at this time, in preparation for 5 month of minimal precipitation. FOR SOME REASON, I FEEL WEALTHIER THAN WHEN I AWOKE THIS MORNING. I've had the place for 10 years but never did the math on water flow before. ---- And people call it a ditch ! I think I'll move to Jordan where I'll become a water billionaire. And a big pipe would cost ? -----checking ... checking... ------- OH !!! FORGET THE WHOLE JORDAN THING

This culvert is about 4.5 ft. in diameter. It runs nearly full at times but in summer would make a great fort for feral children. I would have definitely played in it when I was a kid.
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Dale Hodgins
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Bridges --- I see bridges as having 3 main uses. They get you safely across a body of water or gully, they make a perfect spot to view those things from and if built properly and in the right place, they can be attractive landscape elements. I'm going to keep bridges dead simple. Two cedar logs separated by 3 or 4 feet with deck boards and a railing. I may bridge to an island, between islands or some combination. Cedar logs are cheap and abundant. A knot filled log from cedar that was grown in too much sun is worth very little since they're no good for shakes or other high end uses.

Weirs
--- Weirs for ponds this size don't have to be large or complex. If you're on a laptop, picture a movable gate that size that rests against a wood or concrete structure, strong enough to hold back the water. Surfaces are dead smooth and covered with rubber pond liner for a good seal. The level of the pond can be adjusted by adding or removing weir sections. The top panel could have an adjustable tap, to be used when only a small flow is desired. These structures can be used to regulate flow over a river or falls or whenever water is sent from an upper pond to a lower one. My highest pond site is also the largest and the one that will receive the best solar exposure. Duckweed, algae and other nutritious flotsam could be gathered with a large float rope and drawn toward an open weir that leads to the duck pond. This would allow ducks to eat the bounty from a surface area much larger than that of their own pond. The duck pond is also their feed trough. Wastage of food is minimized and food remains alive and growing until consumed. Sometimes it is desirable to rid a fish pond of fingerlings that have become too abundant. With proper screen size and food offerings, it is possible to attract the small fish to a feeding station in front of the weir. Unwanted fish are flushed down into the duck pond where they will soon be caught. A few catfish could live with the ducks. I'm forgetting about the section on fish,so will save this stuff for there

Photos --- This weir is part of a flood control system on the edge of Victoria. The lush growth here is just whatever came up naturally.

The bridge is simple and effective. I would have to grow melons or beans or something on the chain link.

I decided that I should try some aquatic plants. I bought some lotus root in Chinatown for $2 per pound. The guy who sold it to me could have headlined a medicine show a century ago. He rattled off a long list of health benefits. When I added some of my own that were made up on the spot, he agreed and expanded on each idea. He had helped harvest lotus in China years ago and claimed that it produces a large harvest but he seems like a guy who is prone to exaggerate. Lotus is very attractive for a root vegetable. You don't often hear people comment on the beauty of turnips and potatoes. I boiled it in sugary water as prescribed by a Thai lady. A sweet(too sweet) nutty flavor and texture similar to water chestnut. An Indian lady told me that it's better without the sugar. Instead, you lightly boil and stir fry with vegetables in a mild curry sauce. Without even trying it yet, I know I'll like this better. I hope to soon try cattail root and fluff (people eat it but I'm skeptical about the fluff), duck potato and any other aquatic plant I can find.
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Dale Hodgins
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Submerged Walkway for the Emergent Zone. I keep using that term with the assumption that everyone is familiar with it. The emergent zone is the edge of the pond or other shallow area of a pond where plants like cattails, lotus, iris, and other plants rooted in the bottom mud thrive. These plants stick up out of the water or emerge from it. unlike many submerged bottom weeds or floaters like duckweed. Steep sided deep ponds tend to have narrow E-Z while shallow ponds can be all E-Z. Ponds with a generous proportion of E-Z tend to have higher water quality than ponds that are totally exposed to the sun. These plants consume nutrients and create a balanced system. They also produce salable plants and a very attractive area. Monet painted these plants. Paintings of open water with a bit of duckweed would be less interesting.

I've decided on a walkway for many reasons.


1. It will be a defining feature that tends to fence swimmers into the deeper water and out of the irises. They could sit down for a rest on the shallow shelf. Kids in life jackets who are with their parents could use the path while the child learns to swim. A separate, deeper shelf will allow the swim instructor to stand on level ground closer to the deeper area in the middle of the pond. This would work much like the shallow end of a swimming pool. A rope will mark the spot where the bottom begins to slope downward. This area will be gravel bottomed and kept free of large bottom weeds so that swimmers don't feel that their feet will be tangled.

2. The path will provide a platform to work from while working with plants and a place for those buying plants to choose them from. I've never been to an outdoor market where I could shop while swimming or wading. Since the world lacks variety of retail experiences, I think we need one more.

3. It will provide a very unique way for visitors to experience the E-Z of a pond. Life jackets and hip waders may be loaned to visitors who want to get up close to plants that are usually viewed from a bridge or boat. They'll be able to do this in safety and comfort, without damaging my plants. That's an experience that I've never seen offered by a tour operator. Totally unique as far as I know, and my own idea. I expect YouTube videos of this and a few other as yet unrevealed attractions to put more butts in the seats of my tour bus. People are going to want to see this. As an added bonus, they'll get to listen to me drone on about it over the PA system during the drive.


Crushed rock road base is a great material for a submerged path. It is easy to lay and keep smooth and locks together enough that I don't expect it to wash around too much. A wire gabion system may be employed if there are problems with materials moving off of the path. Some areas may have railings which allow visitors to lean in, to see the frogs or to smell the lotus. I want every visitor to my place to leave with a burning desire to have some sort of pond at their place and to grow some food in and around it. I think this would rank amongst the most extreme gardening experiences available in the temperate zones. There are no poisonous snakes, snapping turtles, crocodiles or other stingy, bitey, killey, eatey things in our fresh water, so it should be very safe. ( Imagine if Geoff Lawton tried this on the edge of a croc infested bilabong. A few tourists might give it a go, but the locals would probably think better of it and stay in the boat. )

Imagine, a path like this one, about 4 feet wide, that lies about 2 feet below the surface of a nice clean pond, where you can see the bottom. You leave with wet feet or waders, but don't get muddy or risk stepping into a deep spot. A fun adventure for the whole family to enjoy. (I think I'll say that on a promotional video.)




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Lisa Paulson
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It certainly is an ambitious plan. It made me think about what you could do making floating islands along a lake , which made me think of the guy who created Spiral Island which too was a unique and ambitious endeavour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lolQ5pgp6XQ
 
Dale Hodgins
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That's quite a stack of plastic he's making. I wonder if the barnacles have dragged it down yet. If he ever does take his little country into the ocean, I suspect it will break into more pieces than the Soviet Union did before he has a chance to join the U.N. and apply for foreign aid. The bottles would then become part of a Texas sized plastic dump that resides in the central Pacific. I like his ingenuity, not so keen on what he's done with it.

Although my plans are ambitious, they entail no more work than would go into building a small house and a lot less money. We break ground on the test holes in 2 weeks.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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