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Seeking advice about high groundwater levels and how to mediate them

 
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Travis wrote:
...there is more clay content. Generally there is about 6-10 inches of dark chocolate brown soil on the top layer, followed by an orange/light brown layer of maybe 2-3 feet, and below that it gets to be a greyish clay...pockets of willow in some of the lower spots...
...single native cranberry bush...



Unless there is mottling in the orange/light brown layer (blotchiness with red spots for example http://www.soils.org.za/archives/soils/mottling2.jpg but can be finer texture) that doesn't sound like a hydric soil profile.  The veg sounds like at worst patchy seasonal flooding (but I really don't know your forest species well).  If you cannot support sustained flooding, the chinampa(sp?) idea might not work.
Is this Vibernum edule?  Ours around here always taste like bird food.  Are yours fleashy and tart?
 
gardener
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Paul, that picture looks a lot like the soil horizon here on the south/central part of the property, though with less of the grey (I assume that is clay) and more of the rust coloured soil.

I'm only going to try chinampas in our pond.

The type of native cranberry I was referring to is Viburnum opulus var. americanum

Details about it can be seen here:

http://nativeplants.evergreen.ca/search/view-plant.php?ID=00740&query=%20AND%20common_name%20LIKE%20%27%24cranberry%24%27%20:0

The berry is slightly more bitter than a grocery store cranberry but apparently it still makes a good preserve. I guess just about anything would, given enough sweetener.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Travis wrote:
Paul, that picture looks a lot like the soil horizon here on the south/central part of the property, though with less of the grey (I assume that is clay) and more of the rust coloured soil.



The gray is not necessarily clay.  I would verify clay content using a feel test to make a ribbon

Iron is the element that makes soil red (like rust).  When soil pores are filled with water, the bacteria and friends consume all oxygen, then pass out.  In the absence of oxygen, other bacteria who were sleeping, wake up and while no-one is looking, use the Iron as a kind of make-shift oxygen (to oxidize or burn sugar to get energy), and "reduce" it to a different state.  When "reduced", iron looses its red color and becomes mobile in the water.  The same soil can be red or grey depending on the period of flooding, and excavated grey soil can become warmer in color over time as iron flips back to an oxidized state.

soils without red (gray) often indicate prolonged flooding (all iron is reduced; BTW reduced magnesium is black).  Mottled soils show the effect of iron going mobile, then oxidizing again over and over again, so that you end up with localized iron depletion (less red) and iron concentrations (more red).  Mottling indicates fluctuating water level.  Depth to mottling typically shows the level of soil water less the capillary fringe which can be 12" in a dense soil (soil is low oxygen up to 12" above the actual water level due to capillary rise of water).  Another indicator of flooding is red iron concentrations next to fine roots (that leak oxygen into saturated soils).

YOu can kind of see the flooding pattern by looking at a soil profile.

Use caution.. soil soils (some sands or diatomacious organics or clays.. or?) can be grey regardless of oxygen levels.
 
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    Most importantly about how organic matter, and roots break up clay and  let the water get through it instead of sitting on top of it.
   It looks like as if ithe clay in the photo is full of iron that has oxidised and leached down leaving red stains on the clay , the white stones i have in my soil turn into white with red bits or yellow bits stones when i expose them to the air and the iron in them gets oxydised.

      I don't know anything about soils at least not about the minerales in them, this is just blurbing.

     The organic rule is lots of organic matter that breaks up the clay when it mixes with it and makes it permeable. When there is lots of organic matter in the clay then water can find its way through the clay by traveling through the organic matter in it.

    That organic matter breaks up clay soils bettering them is another reason why old fashioned  farming, ie. farming that uses chemicals, is so wrong. Maybe you can feed your plants with chemical fertiisers but with no organic matter in the soil, if its clay, it will be impermeable your soil wil have a bad texture . Clay gets water logged and when it is water logged water can't get through it anymore but stands on top of it in puddles.
        Roots get kiiled by lack of oxygen and there is a lack of oxygen in water and water logged soils.
  Plants in clay also can have difficulty getting through their roots through the heavy clay and in summer if it dries it goes rock hard so also is also difficult for roots to move through.

  My soil was clay during the  the first year or two, it  stuck to you boots in enormouse quantities making them very heavy. but it  quickly became very degraded clay, just by letting the wild plants grow unhindered in it . I was not trying to keep any animals or grow anything though so that made it easier to let the weeds that grew best there, just grow. It is almost a miracle how the clay apparently  disappeared, it stopped looking or feeling like clay, so maybe if you aren't doing anything very wrong clay soils quickly become good soil..
       
       I think most systems are strong but we press them so very hard and long we do for them. Of course that is not the case on the very edge of a desert but it is  the case in many places.
        If you were using organic fertiliser instead of chemical fertilisers there would be plant matter, leaf litter in your soil and you would not have the problem of water logged land.

      Roots break up clay, start to make passages through it, and water can get through the clay where the roots go through,  I would have thought.

    I heard that roots have difficulty developing  in clay, when you plants them, if you dig a hole to plant them in and fill the hole around the plant you are plantings roots  in with compost, or potting soil, type soil, the good soil you give them will be  lighter than the clay around and so it does not hold the roots tight enough or weigh them down enough for them to push into the heavy sticky clay around the hole they have been planted in.
  Also if you dig a hole and fill it with compost type soil the hole will fill with water when the clay gets water logged, you will have made a sort of pond for your tree with a tea of compost and  water in it, this will not be good for the roots,  so instead of giving my plants some beautifull good soil in the hole i plant them in, i put back the heavy cold clay around the roots and i have been sucessfull in my planting, especially recently, so at least i can say this does not kill them.

     Sandy soils also need organic matter because they don't hold much water, woater runs through them quickly  and so they need the organic matter that will hold water for them, they also need a lot of organic matter compost and manure and leaf litter  because as the water drains well off the sand the nutrients in the water will drain off too leaving your soils barren, unable to sustain plants because they lack nutrients, lack food for the plants.
 
  Getting roots into the soil is one way of getting vegetable matter into the soil. They die off a bit in winter and grass roots die down totally  in summer if you have dry summers and the roots of other things, trees and bushes many of them at least will also die down a bit on a dry summer, leaving the dead roots in the soil.

   Its true that the roots of bushes and trees die down a bit in summer , its called the plants reduce, or something of the sort, in summer, which means they die down, look up hemicryptofits in the systen of raunquiaer, for one example . i have an article on how different trees survive the summer in tuscanny and i cannot remember the name of the first oak but it looses roots in the summer the cerise keeps all its roots and the ilex has roots that even grow in the summer .

     Also if you have lots of roots in the clay  you will start to get lots of worms who will bring up the clay and mix it with the sandand pull organic matter, leaf litter and manure into the soil and sand down and soon you wont have a clay layer anymore you will have your clay layer strirred and mixt into your sand layer and full of humus..

       Plant lots of plants , maybe even use chemical fertilisers to get things really going but not too much, a lot of fertiliser kills the life in the soil and salts things up. Apparently a lot of manure couldl salt things up too. i suppose organic you can't get certified organic if yoou use humanure ifbecause it is maybe full of heavy metals and posions as e are the end of the food chain and likeoly to receive mor poisons than animals at the begining of it. i have loooked up fertilisign clay and it is complicated so you should have an expert to tell you what to do.

   Clay is good for soils it is harder for the nutrients to get washed  out of it. When the organism in your soil, ants, worms, mites, insects, ants have mixed up all the levels clay and sand, when there is planty of clay in your sand then your sand will hold more nutrients. that way you will have a richer soil.

      Oats have long roots. Lupins are a classic for long roots and bushes and trees of course also hav e long roots..

  Willows and poplars have the roots that do most damage to your house from longest distance, according to a book written by Kew gardens the english botanicla gardens heaven only knows what i sth eworst in america. they will have really long lateral roots. they can be used as forage or for basket makiing or for poles for  beans and peese to grow up  up.

      Lime, as in the mineral like chalk rock called lime not the tree, also helps clay soilssoils but i don't know if its use is permaculture or organic or not. it  floculates the soil making it liking the clay like a mayonaise htat has not turned out well maybe nonobody makes hteir own mayonaise if you make it werong the bits of egg flaot in a sea of oil instead of making a homogeonouse mass with the oil.  when the clay breaks up and turns into float ing groups of clay water can wash through it more easily.
this makes it more penetrable by water . shall i do a diagram of different layers of soil. maybe. if you put lime in th etiny particles of clay will form groups leavign spaces between them water can drain down throgh. not go through it but stands on top so if your snandy soil is on top of a peice of clay, the clay will stop the water going down into the soil and hold it up in the sand maybe if htere is no where the water can drain off the plaque of clay.
n i learnt about perviouse layers and imperviose ones in geograph iy i don' tknow about soils only a minimum about them..
 
rose macaskie
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while writting  a lot to much on this site i started looking up wetlands and reading about louisianna wetlands, i did not imagine marshes in louisiana.
  bird says that wetlands are important and they are to clean up water and stop desertification and so it would be trying to find what you can grow in wetlands looking up wetland pastures and i looked up wetland pastures and their are articles on it and i think i have looked more things than i can write about in a long time and i will have to get to the bottom of them before i write about them so i am feeling rather overdone. maybe growing as people said thigns on mounds above the wet can be done without spoiling the wet lands. but look for wetlands marshes and wetlands and wetland pastures and there is a lot of information out their including information about the plants that will grow on them i mean in the internet. the french carmargue horses live in wetlands so do sheep and some fighting cattle they have bull fighting in that part of france, so it live stock can be kept in them, rose macaskie.
 
pollinator
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cedars will go down in strong winds you might be able to use some of the rocks to anchor their roots
 
rose macaskie
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  paul wheaton i did not know that outhouses were privies so i didnot understand why you should not have a outhouse in a wetland. In england in the floods that aer the consequence of global warming everything comes up and out of the lavotory as the town floods i suppose thats why you can't have an out house in wetlands.
rose.
 
Travis Philp
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Brenda Groth wrote:
cedars will go down in strong winds you might be able to use some of the rocks to anchor their roots



Do you mean that I should put rocks in the planting holes for the roots to anchor, or that I should place rocks around the base of the tree once it is planted?



Rose: My land is not all wetland, infact only about 5% or so is. That being said, the ground water is very close to the soil surface on many parts of the land and I am trying to figure out the best way to work with this fact.

Thanks for the input everyone.
 
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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Oh my.  I thought I already posted a reply here ...

Paul Wheaton why do you say, never build an outhouse.



Well, for one thing, the hole will quickly fill with water.  And for another thing, that water flows in and flows out.  It would be a lot like mixing your poop with a 50 gallons of water and then spraying it all over you land.  Every day.  I suppose some folks might suggest that that's okay because you aren't gonna drink it anyway.  It just strikes me as moving from controlled people poop management to something rather random and unknown and probably bad.

You are a very strange person



Thanks! 

Basically you are sayng you can grow an awful lot on water logged land?



I don't think the land is water logged.  It's dry and solid.  And there is water just a few feet down.

could not Paul Wheaton fish for Wangara Mattai as a contributer?



That sort of thing would be better to bring up in the tinkering forum.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
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By 'get up off the ground' do you mean make raised beds cuz if so I'm way ahead of you.



That's what I mean, so ... good!

I would love to buy lots of seeds but the proper kind is the problem. I don't want to plant a of stuff that either won't grow well or won't be sellable..saleable?



Start small.  Plant lots and lots of stuff and find out what does well.

I'm glad you mention making money.  A noble goal.  The key is to find out what does really well on that land, and what you are really good at and really enjoy.  You'll try 30 things and 1 will really stick out.  You'll keep 15 other things too.  That leaves 14 things to flop.  Then try 30 new things every year.

Ah yes you're probably right. It just came out of left field on me. I think traditional outhouses are a groundwater hazard no matter where you are and they'd be about the last thing I'd put on this land.



It is possible to build a really great outhouse, and it is possible to build a really lousy outhouse.  I just think that in your situation, even the best outhouse would be lousy.  OTOH:  A tree bog with willows might be rather brilliant.

As far as where to put ponds...



Why do you want a pond?

I suspect that I would not build a pond.  After all, you are sort of on a massive floating island already.  Water, water everywhere ....

As far as using trees for water pumps, I think I'm going to go with planting eastern white cedar windbreaks every 200' feet,



Surely not a monoculture?





 
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No one has mentioned paw paws yet.  They are native to north america and supposed to do well in moist soils and zone 5.  I'll let you know how mine survive this winter...
 
rose macaskie
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sorry about the strange, i don't think yuo are strange overall just when you say one think, like don't build an out house, whith no explaination for why you should not have one. The rest of the time i think your normal , no i think, "he's fighting for the right things and i think he moves, gets to know people that have beautiful and unusual houses and about farmign and gardening thigngs like lawns and starts of this forum. Handy type of person to have around.

       Does it matter if something is a monoculture in just one farm ?
  The pines here are all over the country, That really is a mono crop. Spain is mountainouse. They are a money crop, though at the same time they are a carbon sink if their was no incentive to grow them the hills might be pretty bare, no carbon sinks around.
       You can drive past miles of them and then they complain when they burn if they minded about their crop wouldn't they grow smaller patches of it are they waiting for the day when their are no pyromaniacs, they are not being real.
  Then if i ring a govenment department to ask about junipers ,they wont talk about them they say pines are necessary to better the soil, and seem to consider nothing else will do. there are places where plenty of local trees grow if they don't plant pines so thats a lie. So a monoculture pushes other things out of the way.
  If there is a pine disease and all the pines die, what will they do? They wont have anythign to take its place.
   The population or a lot of it is, maybe was, pine friendly they like romantic paintings, pines and mountain peaks, so its not all to do with it being a cash crop.

   In Marroco forest of cedars grow naturaly sometimes a wood of one sort of tree is a natural phenomenum.

       I Have not  a clue about hot wetlands, like Louisianna wetlands.
      I suppose it is a really interesting human geo political subject. Aren't there a lot of small and poor farmers there.

After saying that a monocrop  wouldn't be a threat if only one farmer did it, i think it would be better to plant variouse types of trees if you're developing the land. 

     I think cottonwoods might be good forage. They are a poplar and poplars are good for forage. It doesnot always follow that because on emember of a family are a good forage crop other members will be. In Utah there is a group of people studying forage trees and bushes but it seems Utah is dry and louisiana is wet. agri rose macaskie.


.
 
Travis Philp
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Pawpaw is not far from my thoughts. I will grow it on at least a personal scale but I have yet to find interested sales streams. I am going to experiment with them as an understory planting in amongst the cedar, ash, and balsam poplar canopy.

And no, I don't plan to only go with cedars on the windbreaks. It will be the main species due to its dominance on this land and crazy amounts of young transplantable seedlings but I will create a mix around them. Eastern white cedars tend to grow in relative clumping monocultures around here. The other reason for mostly going with cedars is that we get a hell of a winter up here sometimes, so I need a fast growing coniferous tree and its the only one on the property. I do have a friend with juniper bushes not too far from here so maybe he'll let me take some seeds or cuttings to try out.

On the side of the conifers I'd like to use the other species here that we have plenty of baby seedlings of (white ash, large tooth aspen, a few types of poplar, willow, and choke cherry and dogwood as bush level windbreaks). And if I ever get the funds, I'll go beyond that as much as possible with some fruit trees etc.

 
rose macaskie
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  if you put a mound of organic matter on the ground to plant trees into or plants where their roots are less water logged, then the vegetable matter will with time, as the worms or ants  carry up clay and sand and down bits of dead leaves, the organic material mounds will become earth with clay in it as well as just vegetable matter.

  The soil i buy here in madrid for plants in pots is just vegetable matter, you can tell, you fingers would feel it if there were bits of clay or sand in it, so plants grow alright in vegetable matter.

  Also, and this is about close plantign instead of leaving spaces between vegetables, I don't know why i am talking abuot htis here i am correctign now.  the close planting of vegetables on a raised bed is just the same as the close planting of flowers in a flower bed and they do all right so we know its possible to grow things bunched up when we do flower gardening.

  They say that for close planting to work well you just need richer soils more manure.

  Too much manure can be bad though..
    If you give a plant a lot of manure it can grow leaves and stems and such that are to tender and not resisa¡tant to problems. Hot cold pests and viruses and molds and such.and also to much manure can mess up th e soil make it salty or for example. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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adresses, telephone numbers and emails addresses of people who advise on plants that are suitable for wet ground and say you can contact them if you have questions. the addresses an dtelefone numbers and email addresses  come from a video on a forum of travises.

I have been listening to a video travis offers for discussion on these forums about agro sylvan farming called "agroforestry video series" . There are 8 video with four topics one of which topics  is "riperian buffers" which in christian means, for any who aren't used to agricultural slang, riverside vegetation as a buffer, that saves the rivers from agrarian practices and normal erosion. They are very interesting videos for agri freaks.

When i whatched the one on riperian buffers  I thought of this forum here because they say they advise people on the plants for the riperian areas that are wet-ish. and give an address for those who have questions to ask about what type of plants you should use.
     This is the address or the two addresses for those who don't whatch videos.. You might want more interestign plants but i suppose their advice would give you a start.
     university of Missouri Centre for Agroforestry, 203 ABNR; Columbia, MO. 65211
the telephone number  573-884-2874
the email:-  UMCA@missouri.edu

  the other addres was -:
    USDA National Agroforestry Centre, East Campus-UNL
Lincon, NE. 68583
tel: 402-437-5178
email  unl.edu/nac
agri rose macaskie
 
pollinator
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Paul Cereghino wrote: In the absence of oxygen, other bacteria who were sleeping, wake up and while no-one is looking, use the Iron as a kind of make-shift oxygen (to oxidize or burn sugar to get energy), and "reduce" it to a different state. 



That's an excellent way to put it!

I sort of disagree with the make-shift statement, though...they're adapted to live deep and use iron compounds as a stored oxidiser, much like whales.

This makes me wonder if there's some unsung wisdom to the Indore method of composting: iron-bearing soil might allow the population of good anaerobic bacteria to build up in the compost, under certain conditions.

I'm mostly not a fan of the Indore method, but it's fascinating to contrast with other strategies.
 
rose macaskie
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Apart from ringing up experts to see which plants to plant as forage on wett-ish soils, so as to have the right type of grass now, there is, if you want to be creative, looking at wild grasses and trying to make up your own mix of forage grass seeds as the man Arthur Hollins mentions in the video posted by lost chief called "a farm for the future".
     the video after talking of how much petrol is used in farming  was first about keeping cows and then food forests, the tradition in wet countries is to take the  cows into the barns or an enclosure  winter and to keep them in, they have to make hay to feed them with which is time consuming and uses petrol and usign lots of petrol is not very much what permies and orgtanics are about. They take them in in winter because the ground is wet so they would step the grass into the mud.
      Arthur Hollins searched out and planted grass untill  he found a mix that both feed the cattle and  made such a thick mat of tough matted ground stems that the cows didn't tread the grass into the mud but it took him years of experiments wilth different grasses to find a pasture that would feed the cows in winter without being trodden in.  He experimented with wild grasses, apparently the seed sold to farmers as forage in England is of only four types of grass.
   Another reason for finding other grasses as forage would be for biodiversity, so that we weren't left with only four possiblities .
   In the old days each farmer produced his own seed. If he was good at it this the seed would give lots of grain or grass and be appropiate for his district.   Most people are so busy between the demands of their land and their freinds and family that they don't find experimenting easy.
  In lots of countries such as India they have started banks of seed to preserve the genetic diversity of plants in their countries. agri rose macaskie.
 
Travis Philp
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Hi Rose,

We want to take current forage areas and plant tree crops in them; mostly fruit trees. There will be no livestock on this farm as we don't want to kill animals for profit. We do have a few horses but we've got about 70 acres of hay fields right now which gives us all the hay we need. I like the idea of letting the horses forage instead of baling hay and having to feed them that way but our winters get so cold here that it kills off just about all surface greenery vegetation, especially in the fields.

I think I need to find a forthcoming expert on swales/berms to ask about this. All the literature I find about swales focuses on dry lands and trying to keep water around, whereas I have too much water.
 
rose macaskie
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Contents, Which livesock to have on wet ground. Raised beds for trees on wet ground and as islands of dry for live stocks feet and the american citizens that practice and write books on growing in raised beds.

      I remember from geografy lessons at school that wet lands determined the sort of animal that you farmed, cows feet don't do well on wet ground so you are better off with sheep. The geography at school was pretty basic, there must be lots of ins and outs to which animals you can keep on wet land.
 
  The book that introduced me to planting vegetables on raise beds,John Seymours book on The Autosufficient Market Gardener. I am transaliting the title from Spanishn so the title  might be wrong, mentions making mounds to plant trees on and i suppose these mounds  would serve for live stock  to stand on and so get their feet out of the wet.
  The raised beds he mentions are full of manure so that they can grow a lot in a small space and narrow, so you could tend them without stepping on the soil,  plants like loose soil.
    These raised beds get higher with time as you are always adding more compost and manure to them. They don't need digging. John Seymore.

      If you are very keen on super moral farming then keeping  wet lands because the water in them refills the underground water lakes and rivers might be a must for you., Then it woudl be better to construe islands of drier land on them than to drain them. If you drain them you take the water off into rivers and that means it escapes to the sea without others being able to use it first pulling it out of wells or when it resurges as a river. On the other hand, talking of using water before it gets to the sea, if you take too much water out of rivers you can dry up lakes and seas.
      Lack of water in underground water supplies can have a dramatic effect on the livelyhood of far away villages in dry countries, as you can read about if you read articles in the internet about water harvesting in the Thar desert  Rajistan India.
  Maybe if you have a bit of land that is wet because it is clay that does not let water through, your wet soil will not refill the underground supplies?

      John Seymour says that with raised beds you produce four times the amounts produced in normal beds .
    He says that as the soil in raised beds is not compacted the plants roots can grow downwards for nutrients while in normal beds, on compacted soil, they have to grow sideways and so compete with each other more.
   
        More interesting for Americans, maybe, is that he talks of California being absolutely at the forefront of this technique because of the arrival there of an English man Alan Chadwick who established a centre that practiced it in the University of Santa Cruz, where John Seymour learnt  the system and of some Chinese americans who teach it, it is a traditional french and chinese technique.  Peter Chan has written a book on it. "Better vegetables the Chinese way". agri rose macaskie.

     
 
rose macaskie
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    I have done a diagram of how the water will run through a top layer of rock or soil that lets water through, that is impermeable like sandstone or chalk or good soil and how its downward course will be stopped when it reaches a layer of rock that does not let water through, like granite and clay.Clay  though it is not a hard rock is also impermeable, does not let water through when its wet. Make a bowl of wet clay from your childrens art room and fill it full of water it will hold the water. Dry clay will absorb water but wet clay won't.
  When enough water collects on top of a water proof rock under the ground it will flow out of it as springs in the ground a lot of springs will make a river. agri rose macaskie.
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rose macaskie
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    I have another drawing with the impermeable rock at the surface,  really i was thini¡king of it being a  clay mound that will not absorb the water because it is wet clay, so you can see how wet the land would be if a farm was on clay.
      I did art but i am lousey at drawing and i am lousey at writting with a lot to say. What a nuiscance. agri rose macaskie.
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Paul Cereghino
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I sort of disagree with the make-shift statement, though...they're adapted to live deep and use iron compounds as a stored oxidiser, much like whales.



Thanks... though 'deep' in this case can mean shallow but wet or even at the center of a clod with poor gas exchange.  I read one hypothesis that micro-sites in soils regularly flip from aerobic to anaerobic, resulting in the release of phosphate as iron changes state.  Another that willow does well in wet because its roots can use nitrate as an oxidizer...

What's this about whales?!
 
Paul Cereghino
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Many wetland plants root from primordial roots in the stems, which is why you can stick a willow branch in the ground and make a tree.  The revegetation industry uses this practice to revegetate stream banks to recover 'riparian habitat functions', like nutrient absorption, sediment capture, or songbird and amphibian habitat.  Good quality stem cuttings of riparian shrub species sell for around .25/USD/foot here in Washington.  Semi-cultivated stands could provide cuttings for market without degrading wetlands, and you could provide higher quality and more diverse product.  We have some nice fuel trees that like wet ground... Ash (Fraxinus) and Alder (Alnus).  We commonly grow blueberries in seasonal wetlands around here.  You pick is common, and the ground is dry enough by harvest time for access.
 
Travis Philp
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We do have wetlands on the property but the areas that I'm talking about putting trees on are hay fields and not wetlands. They don't have standing water except in the ruts made by tire tracks, and only during the most rainy times.

Our hope is to create some ponds in key places for microclimate and wildlife habitiat, to expand the one existing pond, and to keep existing wetlands.

I'd like to get into a U Pick blueberry operation. I've got 14 bushes that I'm going to transplant onto the farm this year. If that goes well I hope to expand to a few hundred bushes,

Here's a short youtube video of one of our hay fields which is on the southwest corner of the property. It slopes ever so gently towards the right corner of the field.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9QbvexyVgU&NR=1

Heres the same field from the southeast corner.

http://www.youtube.com/user/GreenshireEcoFarm#p/a/u/2/B_wsMZAiFqM
 
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A great topic and I have been following it closley, I even posted a lost post or two.  

This photo shows my yard yesterday.  We are expecting rain today.
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rose macaskie
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      Your yard has a suprisingly big amount of grass considering the water on it, if you have animals and trucks going through it you would expect it to be all messied up.
  The english answer is to have wellies, wellington boots, whiich are gum boots, I dont know what they're called in America.
  Mind you wellies aren't enough for a yard, it will get churned up if you have lorries delivering things or animal going through it. Maybe in wet countries htey have to be paved my grandmothers was cobbled, heavy lorries spoil the cobbles, back bits of the farm were concreted over. rose
 
rose macaskie
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Paul Cereghino, you talk about planting willows sticking willow wands in th ground.
i lived in London in chiswick near the Thames near a island called the eyot you could walk to at low tide and the neighbors used to go their in winter or spring and stick willow wands in the island every year maybe they pruned the trees too. They had a constant sulpply of new trees. agri rose macaskie.
 
Travis Philp
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Jennifer Smith  "listenstohorses" wrote:
A great topic and I have been following it closley, I even posted a lost post or two. 

This photo shows my yard yesterday.  We are expecting rain today.



Your yard looks similar in wetness to our horse paddock, except the horses ate most of the grass before the snow cover came.

rose macaskie wrote:
      Your yard has a suprisingly big amount of grass considering the water on it, if you have animals and trucks going through it you would expect it to be all messied up.
  The english answer is to have wellies, wellington boots, whiich are gum boots, I dont know what they're called in America.
  Mind you wellies aren't enough for a yard, it will get churned up if you have lorries delivering things or animal going through it. Maybe in wet countries htey have to be paved my grandmothers was cobbled, heavy lorries spoil the cobbles, back bits of the farm were concreted over. rose


The amount of grass in the field makes me think that it could be dry enough to plant an orchard, with a little terraforming with mounds, swales, or spillways.

Paved farmland eh? There's enough suburbs around here that are former farmland for me to want to go that route 

We've got a few yards of woodchips with more to come. I think that'll do for paths, and to fill in ruts made by the vehicles. We only drive vehicles around the edges of the field so far, with the exception of the haying equipment that comes in 2-4 times a year.
 
Jennifer Smith
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This is the front of the barn where I try to keep to just my foot traffic, and that is plenty. 

I find that if I have someone else out here under-supervised for just half a day they churn the grass to mud. 

I will go out and get photos of the back of the barn where I have to share it with the horses (and I believe we have a leaky pipe) or even the front of the barn where several times a month a truck or tractor carrys in horse food. 

The last photo is of part of the "yard" but pasture to me.  I have been buying and tossing around perenniel rye grass seed. 

Any suggestions for water loving, cool weather growing, forage for horses? 
 
rose macaskie
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jennifer smith , telephone number, email address, for getting through to addvisers on riverside, called riperian plants- River side and wet feild must be a bit similar any way they are experts and would know about grasses and forage for all sorts of places.
      I have written  quite a few short posts here, the one with a telephone number for those who advise on grasses for river banks,  river banks are wet places i reckon, are six posts of mine away, the seventh post from here I wrote it thinking of you, your plea for things to plant in wet llands has been constant but patient . That teaches me a lesson, go on asking , in the end i at least have started looking for information. i thought this forum had been started because of your plea for information on wetlands, I thought i was  not the only one for whom your request sunk in in the end.
    It is easy to see my  posting her with the addreses, the addesses stick out like a sore thumb from the ordinary writting and there is one email address which came up in blue. The addresses are of  experts in Missouri University who offer to advise people and they sound pretty ecological though they advise farmers, they are persuading farmers to leave a belt of natural land round their rivers. the grass they suggest can be used for hay so for forage to I suppose. rose
 
Jennifer Smith
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Many "experts" only seem to know one thing, what they were taught. 

Fescue will take the trampling while wet so they push it.  My hubby (retired from the Arkansas Fish and game...Wildlife Bioligist) hates fescue.  It crowds out better plants, more bird friendly grasses for example.

Not everything they push has been a good thing in hindsight. 

I plant lots of grass seed of all kinds but want to also think off the page so to speak.  For instance he had not even heard of perenniel rye. 

He is not a fan at all of Bicolor but I am.  The fish and game dept brought it in in like the 60's (he could tell you so much more and I may not even have it all right...disclaimer) as quail habitat, not so good for that.  Wildlife don't seem to like to browse it...but my horses and goats do. 

I had never heard of bicolor, or shrub lespadeza, before I met him.  I maybe would never have if I had not got away from here for a while.  There is lots to learn form how they do things elsewhere, as well as talking to the local experts. 

I want much discussion on this forum...good stuff here.
 
rose macaskie
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Joel Hollingsworth i too want to know about whales  breathing methods, rose.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Some of where the feed (trucks or tractor) comes thru the yard.  I will start putting down creek gravel, starting at where the ruts channel water into the barn.

Just so happened today was a feed day.
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paul wheaton
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I think that much regular standing water anywhere but in a pond is a bad thing. 

I wonder if this is like the joke about the two guys and the bear.  You don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the other guy.

Suppose flood season is coming ....    What if you reshaped some of your land into "C" shaped berms?  Or maybe even slight spirals.  As the water rises, they will fill with muddy water.  As the water stands, it will be still inside the "C".  And then as the water recedes, it will recede slowly - thus leaving behind lots of silt. 

As your overall land gets higher and higher compared to your neighbors, I would think that flood and drainage issues would get less and less.

 
rose macaskie
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Jennifer what type of soiil is it, people can't tell what plants to plant if they don't know what sort of soil you have .
  The clay areas i know are clay and sandstone. I don't know if pockets of sand stone are normal with clay.
  Do you know your neighbors they would tell you what sort of soils you have. rose.
   
 
rose macaskie
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joel hollingsworth coudl you give that link to the system in the andes that you gave in the forum here again. I read a good deal of it and left some to read later and as these forums press one on so with a new subject or twenty coming one after another i did not get to finishing it.
  On th ehow does water warm things up water is a accumulator of h eat and a retainer of heat . i feel this is hard to believe i think of it as cooking down fairly fast but still thats what architects and such say so if your water warms up in the day it will take a while to loose htat heat.
stones feel cold only because they are cold but because they are a good conductor of heat and so they are taking the heat out of the hand that touches then so a cold stone will feel colder than a bit of cork that is as cold as the stone . Frozen food unfreezes quicker on a marble slab than on a wooden board though wood is warmer. So maybe our perception of th ecoolness of something is not a good way of knowing how hot or cold that thing is. agri rose. macaskie.
 
Jennifer Smith
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think that much regular standing water anywhere but in a pond is a bad thing. 



This is just the front part of the place.  All in all the place slopes from front to back and we can dig a ditch for example to drain it all down the hill even...but I do not want ditches around nor do I want the water to all drain away.

I am thinking as Paul suggests,
"reshaped some of your land into "C" shaped berms?  Or maybe even slight spirals.  "

I am building higher places with barn cleanings to divert water away from where it wants to go and I do not want it. 

Barn cleanings are light and would not stop a flood, but they do absorb and hold water to keep it from flowing as well as get soggy and divert slow moving water.

Also planting LOTS of grass and shrubs and trees
 
Travis Philp
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rose macaskie wrote:
What type of soiil is it, people can't tell what plants to plant if they don't know what sort of soil you have .
  The clay areas i know are clay and sandstone. I don't know if pockets of sand stone are normal with clay.
  Do you know your neighbors they would tell you what sort of soils you have. rose.
   



Are you asking me or Jennifer? If you're asking me, I try to describe the soils in my very first post on this thread.
 
rose macaskie
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Jennifer because she was the first one that spoke of her wet ground. any way i know yours are clay.
  Maybe she said what hers are i was writtign an asnswer ot somthing or other and lots of new bits appeared here that i in the end didnot read.
 
rose macaskie
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  jennifer if you get the level of this ground higher as it is inbetween the house and the barn it might cause damp in the house or the barn.
  So save you C shaped berms which sound like an interesting  experiment for another bit of land, i suppose you have plenty of wet land.
  it could be a catchment area for water harvesting. one part of swales is to have catrchment areas where you catch water when it rains to take into  your swale in which it will stand and so be more likely to penetrate the ground. as your grounds very wet maybe you want it to have a poind and a bit of biodiversity in the pond.
  If its a question of keeping your  land wet as a responsible farmer because wet lands fill up the water table, my questions are, are all wetlands going to fill up the water table? I suppose they would have to have permeable rock under them to do that so you should find out before puttign  yourself out exactly what the situation is. I wonder if the county has maps of the rock formations in its area, i should think so. maybe it would be enough to have one area of wetland and you could grow wetland plants and  make good hay in them. Do horses mind having wet feet?
  As i said before if you grow a lot in this yard  it many change dramatically in a year or two so none of this would matter any more.

        I also thought that if you want the soil full of organic matter quickly to increase the drainage of the soil, if you put a lot of mouldy hay on this bit of ground maybe that would mean the soil changed faster. Mouldy hay is cheap, did not someone say thst ? It would also mean you pasture there might get suffocated for a while though grass is pretty good at growing up through things. They say one way to have mushrooms is to put on  heavy mulch. agri rose macaskie.     
 
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