Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Water management for flat ground

 
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have about 5 acres that are for the most part flat. There are a couple of spots that might be 5 to 8 feet about the rest, but for the most part, it is extremely wet in early spring or after a heavy rain, which is not uncommon in the Finger Lakes. The soil is predominantly heavy clay, so combined with the flat terrain, there is a drainage problem. At present, my garden is too wet to work, and for that problem I'm moving to raised beds, however, I would like to put some beef cattle on the pasture areas, but I don't want them to do damage because of walking around in soggy fields, nor do I want to run the risk of them having health issues due to having wet feet.

What most farmers in this area do is to dig ditches around the property or put in drain tile to drain the water away (there is low area along one edge of the property that drains to a culvert under the road, but except when there's a lot of rain or snow melt, the water barely trickles), but I don't want to go that route if I can avoid it. I've thought of putting in a pond or underground storage tanks for the water, but considering that 1" on my 5 acres equates to about 135,000 gallons, I don't know how much good that would do. Ditto with putting in a pond.

So, if anyone has ideas for how to address this problem, I'm all ears. Well, not ALL ears, else I couldn't have typed this message.

Thanks.
rw
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
100
dog duck fungi trees books chicken bee solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you have a sacrifice paddock?
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not at this point. I'm just thinking where to lay out permanent fencing and how to rotate pastures to avoid damage. But why do you ask?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
100
dog duck fungi trees books chicken bee solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I ask because if you're in the Finger Lakes region you'll have to keep the cows off the pasture in early spring (mud season) anyway. Then you just have to determine if it's worth it to do some earthworks to get them on regular pasture a little earlier.
 
Posts: 724
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
can the water be used for something productive?

any pictures from above (google maps/earth?) you can post that might help those of us that need a visual?
 
Posts: 252
Location: Nevada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just some ideas that I have picked up from reading here and related forums...in the short run, you have fewer choices than to do creative drainage. Over several years, you can change the composition of the soil so that more water will drain into the soil than run off it. Clay drains very poorly. Maybe swales will help..there is a kind of drainage ditch called a French drain (I think that is the right name, but not sure. Are properties adjacent to you contributing to the problem? It is usually cheaper to keep the water off than to get rid of it once you have it. If your neighbors are having similar problems, you may be able to share the cost of getting rid of some of the water.
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a view of the property that doesn't really say much. The wettest area is the far right back corner where, after about a week with no rain there is still enough standing water for my lab to get thoroughly wet an muddy. Earlier this spring there was standing water all around the perimeter and in the wooded area to the left and back. There is a slight trickle of drainage in the woods to the left, but there's not enough pitch for it to do much.

If I were to put in a pond in the area that's the wettest, how would it affect the water table in the rest of the immediate area? Depending on the year, you don't have to go down far to get water in the hole. (It's very hard to pass a perk test in most of this county)

As to a French drain, I've considered that, but the question is, "To where do I drain the water?" The culvert that crosses the road at the front left of the property is not much lower than the surrounding area, so it would be a challenge to get the water to drain putting the pipe down only 2 feet. I'd like to figure a way to retain the water on the property since some years we don't get much rain through the summer and it would be beneficial for watering and for livestock.
 
Tom Connolly
Posts: 252
Location: Nevada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about a dry well?
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tom Connolly wrote:How about a dry well?


How big/deep would you guess it would have to be?
 
Tom Connolly
Posts: 252
Location: Nevada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/watershedmgt/DOCS/BMP_DOCS/bmp2003pdfs/dec2003chap9_3.pdf

This link may help - there is a lot of information on Google. The basic answer seems to be "big enough to hold the excess water you will have so that it will drain in to the surrounding soil in 3 days". You may need a couple. I am surprised that no one has chimed in about building swales, basically trenches in the soil that allow more chances for the water to seep into the ground and provide some useful purpose other than making mud. What kind of ground cover do you have on the area? I think you will have more luck, and spend less money, if you look at a long range (3-5 years) solution to your problem as well as an immediate one.
 
Been there. Done that. Went back for more. But this time, I took this tiny ad with me:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!