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Water where I don't want it!

 
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Hi there!

First time poster, long time reader.

We bought our property in June 2015. It was an old horse farm and the owners were in their 80s so the maintenance done was very minimal, for many years.

We are having issues with water where we don't need it/want it. There is a drainage ditch that runs the length of the property on one side but after examining it, it seems to be filled in with silt/brush/debris. As soon as the ground hardens, we will try to get in there with the tractor and clean it up. Hopefully that will help with some of the issues.

The first photo attached is the road from our driveway/house/garage to the barn. It receives a lot of traffic and it's now a giant mudpit. My husband wants to bring in gravel but I'm wondering if there is a cheaper solution. Any suggestions?

The next two photos are a low spot in the yard where water naturally collects. Good spot for a pond? How could I go about digging it? I don't want to use pond liner. Any good resources I should look into for digging/designing the pond?

Thanks!
Kristen
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pollinator
Posts: 1101
Location: Victoria BC
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Hi Kristen, welcome to (posting on) permies!

A location might help folks suggest appropriate measures.

If you aren't sure if major graveling is the right fix for the road, you could do woodchips as a short-term option. Obviously they won't last years and years, but if you can find a free supply it would certainly be cheap. Longer term, maybe it will be possible to install swales, french drains, or ditches to intercept water before it gets to the problematic area, and regrade that bit so water does not collect there to create a mud-pit? Gravel will work, in sufficient quantity, but you might be adding it forever, depending on what's below.

I'm sure there is a thread here on doing a more permanent roadbed fix... aha: https://permies.com/t/53370/natural-building/DIY-Dirt-Road-maintenance-improvement


As far as the pond goes, have you been on the land in the summer yet? Any idea what the soil is like 10, 15, 20ft down, or where the water table is? I interned on a farm where there were a few small ponds; making them was as simple as digging a hole in the ground, which would fill while you're attempting to dig it... and even that summer(long bone dry drought) they stayed fairly full... but this was because they were in the bottom of a valley and the water table was VERY high there, with a broad ditch flowing year-round.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4328
Location: Anjou ,France
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Also what type of soil have you got ? Maybe you could use clay to make a pond ? Try reading about gley there is a thread on the subject here on Permies number 3409 my poor phone won't let me link to it

David
 
Kristen Gingera
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We live in Lac-Brome, Quebec, Canada. I believe our water table to be fairly high in the area because there is a pretty large creek/river at the back of the property, we are near a lake and this is a heavily farmed area so you know there's good water here.

We are right at the base of Mont Bromont so our land is slight rocky with a decent amount of clay.

The road drives right past that pond area. If I dig the pond and grade the ground from the driveway down towards the pond, do you think that would help with the state of the road?
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Sounds good to me from what you have said

David
 
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For your road, your only option is gravel really. Wood chips will not work because in a years time; from their own compost action, and the wetness of the ground, they will break down and only cause you more mud. That is how topsoil is created by mother nature, just over a longer period of time. In other words, as Dillion suggests, it will work just fine this year, but next year you will be slogging through a foot of mud if you don't scrape it up. In your case, it is amplified because the roadway is plowed of snow all winter long allowing the cold air to drive the frost deeper into the ground. As spring arrives, it thaws and becomes a quagmire. Gravel, and its subsequent water draining properties are the only thing that can help unfortunately.

As for your water issue, that too is frost action at work and something we all have to deal with here in the North east. As the snow melts, but because the ground is still frozen, it can not leach into the ground as it does when it is not frozen. More than likely it will not pond there during rain storms unless it is a significant weather event. You are indeed correct that cleaning out your ditches will aid in getting rid of water, but some ponding is inevitable...and good. Our region of the world has requires this freeze-thaw cycle and while this low snow year was kind of nice, the truth is, too many winters like this will be devastating to our eco system.

One thing we have to realize is that the world is made up of micro climates and not everything we read can be replicated to where we live. I know some parts of the world are way down on rainfall, but here in the Northeast, in the last twenty years we have actually increased our average waterfall per year by 5 inches which is an incredible amount. It is a blessing and a curse!
 
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