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Small Ponds (like ponds for people who don't have acres and acres)

 
Posts: 67
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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I have been listening to many podcasts on earthworks and Sepp Holzer's visits, etc...
Also have been reading Sepp Holzer's Permaculture and just got a copy of Deserts or Paradise.

My new interest is to put a pond in near my growing area because my whole property is always harassed by frost (10 months out of the year).
The pond will provide a nice humidity factor and some heat storage. I plan to incorporate some Hugel-beds too.

Most all of the dialog I have run in to is on True Big Ponds (like 1/4 acre, etc.)

I'm talking about making a small pond for a small property. Probably 8ft x 10ft, maybe a thousand gallons or so....

I'm interested in sealing methods that have been used on small ponds like these. I would prefer to stay away from a liner or cement.

Anyone have any photos of small ponds they have built without liners? Construction photos?
Ideas on sealing methods?

I have hogs but don't want to let them "seal" it for 6-12 months. I need much quicker satisfaction.

Andre
 
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Posts: 898
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I have two small ponds right in front of my house. They are hand dug and about 18 inches to 2 feet deep.
I built both of them using regular rubber pond liners with old carpet pieces as an under liner.

Both of these ponds are filled by rain and by the down spouts from the roof of my house.

Both ponds are "naturalized" meaning they have vegetation, frogs, insects that have all shown up on their own.
Also, they both have about 60-80 gold fish that came from about 5 a neighbor gave me a few years ago.

I really enjoy the ponds and they do help moderate temperatures year round.

Also, a side benefit, I have thousands of gallons of water right at the house for any fire emergencies.


In the future, on a bigger pond, I am planning on experimenting with putting down a layer of carpet, followed by some inexpensive plastic sheeting, then another layer of carpet on top.
The way I see it, the carpet sandwich will protect the plastic from roots and rocks. I'll be recycling carpet that normally ends up in the dump.
I don't think there would be much left in the way of toxins in the carpet after years of use.
The carpet on top could be covered with mud or a layer of dirt to stimulate a natural environment arising.

Last of all, I do have a large hole I dug in another part of my yard that has no liner, it functions more as a deep swale more than anything.
It only fills up during seasonal rains. Great place for growing cannas.
 
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Hey cris, how long did it take for those ponds to naturalize? We're there any mosquito problems before the frogs came and things populated the water?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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We have one pond which is the overflow of our waste water system. We grow ornamental ginger and the like there. It looks great even we put it in only some month ago. Our soil is not very permeable and we only put a little bentonite on the top of the water surface. We did not work it in like the fact sheet says. Works great. You get it at the produce store and I paid around $20 for a bag, but everything is more expensive here.
The thing is a liner breaks down over time while a more natural liner like bentonite gets more waterproof over time. Were do you get your water from?
 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Zach Muller wrote:Hey cris, how long did it take for those ponds to naturalize? We're there any mosquito problems before the frogs came and things populated the water?



Didn't take long at all to naturalize, though I did help some by covering parts of the liner with dirt and allowing for shallow areas. I also added some water plants.
There is a thick layer of leaves covering the rubber liner.
The frogs are mostly Rana Sylvatica or "wood frogs" that seek out small bodies of water like ruts in roads and seasonal rain ponds to mate.
The frogs showed up within 6 months of building the ponds.

I never had any problems with mosquitos. Mosquitos like still water to mate and lay eggs in, I have a small pond pump in each pond that keeps the water circulating
enough to stop them laying eggs, and of course the fish eat any that do get laid.
 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Angelika Maier wrote:We have one pond which is the overflow of our waste water system. We grow ornamental ginger and the like there. It looks great even we put it in only some month ago. Our soil is not very permeable and we only put a little bentonite on the top of the water surface. We did not work it in like the fact sheet says. Works great. You get it at the produce store and I paid around $20 for a bag, but everything is more expensive here.
The thing is a liner breaks down over time while a more natural liner like bentonite gets more waterproof over time. Were do you get your water from?




I would like to try some bentonite if I could find some around here. You bought it at a produce store? I've heard of well drilling companies having it, but don't know of any other sources.

A liner will break down if exposed to sunlight and freezing/thawing, if it is well covered with organic materials/soil it should last decades with no problem.

All the water for my ponds come from rain and run off.

 
Posts: 187
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Clumping cat litter is bentonite?
 
Cris Bessette
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Posts: 898
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Bill McGee wrote:Clumping cat litter is bentonite?




Thanks! You are right. I guess I'll be buying some cat litter...
 
Posts: 103
Location: Piedmont, NC
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You might try a Southern States or Tractor Supply type store. A lot of people get it for their chickens.
 
Posts: 71
Location: Tennesse, an hour west of Nashville, zone 7
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I would try to avoid cat litter. They often put additives in it for odor, clumping, to keep dust down, and Lord-only-knows-why. I wouldn't want that junk on my property. Southern States' website shows bentonite intended for sealing ponds, 50lb. for $11. I would try to get something unprocessed like that.

Well, first i would try to compact the soil somehow (excavator, bobcat, lawn tractor, tamping bar, car, something), and if that didn't work, then i would try bentonite.
 
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