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flat swampy land, no drainage! even ditches pool for weeks and 2ft water table

 
Posts: 2
Location: Zone 4a - Red River Valley - MN - flat and wet
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Just moved into first home...10 acres...I'm told mosquitoes are a terrible problem. So...plant lotsa catnip and citronella...lots of garlic oil...Should I make a stock pond (how if flatland?) or sand tubes to drain? plus trees?
I'm very excited, but concerned about this potentially major issue...The good news is lots of wild edible mushrooms, wonderful rich soil, and lots and lots of potential!
Any experience, insight or support is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2392
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Sounds like a great place to plant some bald cypress trees. They will thrive with the water table 2 feet below grade, and if it gets flooded for weeks at a time, all their competition will be killed off. I still have sacks and sacks of bald cypress seed, already stratified and ready to go on my front porch. Anyone in a similar situation, send me a PM with your address and you can be starting your own bald cypress nursery!
 
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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You might want to check out a chinampas system. http://permaculturenews.org/2013/05/28/chinampas-2-0-an-elegant-technology-from-the-past-to-save-the-future/





Or you could excavate the lowest point, making it deeper, and pile the soil on an area you want to become higher - like one does with chinampas - but this would give you high ground and a pond. Then you could have a very effective protein-growing system in your pond.
 
pollinator
Posts: 439
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Tell us what region you're in and that can direct some more specific advice. Is it subject to flooding?

Available water is usually a blessing - you just need to adapt your land use and designs to accomodate it.

Digging some long water holding channels and piling the spoils 3' high to plant into is pretty effective. if you make 8' diameter mounds, you can plant in a large tree in the middle and a support polyculture around it.

Here in the Northwest I select some fruit tree rootstock that better handle high water table:
Plum: Myrobalan
Pear: Betch, Quince C, Hawthorn
Apple: P18, or M111

Also elder, serviceberry, sea buckthorn, alder, pin oak

 
Posts: 37
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Absolutely check out chinampas, Midwest Permaculture has a great write up explaining them.

What's already on your property? Like Mollison says "wait one year before doing anything". That might give you some great clues as to what will grow there or you might find you already have something productive growing there.

Strategies such as building up mounds or hugelkultur might be appropriate too. Would ducks work? There are lots of possibilities, you just have to be open to them.

A general location or planting zone would be useful for anyone to give recommendations...
 
master pollinator
Posts: 8738
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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17 years ago I needed to get rid if many tree stumps and branches. I hauled them to the edge of the lowest part of the property and had a the excavator dig out a pond. All of the mucky soil was piled on top of the stumps. We named the mound, "Jasmine Mountain" after my 2 year old daughter. Now the highest point on the property was right beside the lowest. It was a very cheap way to improve the place. It cost less to bury the stumps than to haul them away.

Whenever a large wet area is near a dwelling, it makes sense to enhance bat, bird and amphibian habitat for mosquito control. Many fish eat the larvae. Wet ground with puddles is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Open water that supports fish and other insectavores, can reduce mosquito populations well beyond the pond.
 
Dman Smitty
Posts: 2
Location: Zone 4a - Red River Valley - MN - flat and wet
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Wow! Thank you for all of the positive reponse! Great ideas!

Zone 4, Red River Valley, no flood plain, just shallow water table, super flat and no drainage/outlet...I know thats a good thing if properly managed.

There are lots of boxelder maple, birch and couple willows and conifers(probably white pine), im surprised previous owners didn't plant more fruit trees, only some crabapples. I'll have a lot of fun identifying this spring;) Letting one year go by is a great idea, but the need for drainage will be addressed by this fall out of necessity for my family's sake...Ill be planting lots of things this spring though; plums, chokecherry, apples, serviceberry(if i can find em), buffalo berry, various pines, aronia, every fruit tree and bush I can grow and then some;)

I definitely want to embrace the water, but I dont know how to create a "stream" to a pond I'll dig, when there is no grades to work with. Would like to set up a solar water pump to keep water fresh and circulating for fish etc, but that'll be very impractical come winter, unless I use heat somehow...There is plenty of wind always for alt. power projects in the future.

I will research all of your suggestions including the chinampas, thank you so much!

 
Posts: 37
Location: NW Iowa, zone 5a
4
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I don't have much experience to speak of, but I've heard many times, "There's no such thing as truly flat land." I bet if you start walking an A-frame level around your place, you'll find a slight drop and then be able to establish a slowly flowing stream.

Also, I like Mollison's advice to wait a year ("A year spent building fertility is not wasted..."), but I don't think I'll be able to wait either. There will be swales all over my new place as soon as the ground thaws.
 
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