• 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
  • Joseph Lofthouse
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Dan Boone
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
  • Mike Barkley

Gley technique for sealing ponds and dams .... and walls?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been having success sealing small ponds with ducks. There manure sediments make an excellent sealant. So I dig a small pond, let it fill by the winter rains. The ducks go in and poo. After each storm and each passing of the group of ducks it seals before summer. The only problem i have is the summer heat evaporates it dry over time no matter how well it's sealed. In areas with summer rains I suspect this would work well. And pretty much zero effort other than digging and slight compacting.
 
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you tell me more about the type of soil you have? How many ducks in what area? Ive been looking at getting pekin for meat and this pond area would be perfect for them if it had water! The problem is which comes first, the duck or the pond?!
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I started with small ponds once I knew the technique. My soil is slate rock with clay/silt from the decomposed slate rock. On top of a hill which Is one of the worst places to have a pond around here. The first pond I did was 8th across by 4-5th across. With of course an irregular edge so that's just a general size. I had three ducks in there. Two Peking and a khaki cambell.

It won't seal at first but you have to keep filling it, or in my case let winter storms fill it up. When the ducks see it full they love it and hang out as long as there's sufficient water in it. When they poop in water it's a very fine particle along with the liquids. The sediment gets water Bourne as they swim and dive. Evenly distributing it all over. I feel that over years it will build a rich soil bottom where living plants or organisms can contribute to the ponds ecosystem.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the info. Did your ducks mind not having water all of the time or did you provide other water for them to swim in?
 
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has any one any updates about the Gley Technic spoken about in 2010 thread.
I have rain water fed ponds with trenches, and wish to dispose of the use of plastic and/or pond liners.

Have horse manure and blue clay on site, and can apply straw if necessary.

I would like to know what combination actually worked, how it was applied, drying time or left moist... in short more details.
Can anyone tell what their results were in creating Gley for a pond, or should I just invest in a lot of Cat Litter?'';
 
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would also love to see some conclusive work done on this subject.

I've been looking for information on gleying for years, and, from what I understand from the many things I have read, this description below nails it down (and below that I write a bit more).

GLEY

Related to the word 'glaze', a gley is like a biological plastic membrane such as is found in bogs, which is formed by a bacterial process that requires anaerobic conditions.

Traditionally a technique for sealing ponds and dams, there is potential for the process to be adapted for human-made structures. The Russian-devised version for dams uses a slurry of animal waste (pig manure) applied over the inner base and walls of the dam in multiple, thin layers, which is then itself covered with vegetable organic matter such as grass, leaves, waste paper, cardboard, etc. This is all then given a final layer of soil which is tamped down and the mixture is left for several weeks to allow the (anaerobic) bacteria to complete their task, at which time the dam is ready for flooding.

Gleys have the potential to revolutionise water storage capacity in regions with hightly porous soils. An aquaculture industry in otherwise unsuitable areas scould be one of the benefits of this technique.

Unlike bentonite clay, gley materials are virtually cost-free and are comprised of 'wastes' which would normally be discarded in the normal course of operations. Also, plastic and rubber dam liners may actually be dependent on the same anaerobic process for their own continued effectiveness rather than their lack of holes or punctures ­ ie, it is the anaerobic layer created below them rather than their own membranous qualities which prevent water seepage in the long term.



ANAEROBIC: It's important to put that final layer of soil on top of the green material/manure as this excludes the oxygen and makes the anaerobic ferment throughout the green material or manure. Otherwise the damp materials will only be anaerobic at the base. Some people put thick layers of cardboard, or newsprint, or other dense matter to block the oxygen.

In some cases, pigs or cattle are turned into a low area, and the compaction of their feet along with feces makes the difference. I would think that adding a lot of straw and greener material in the pit/future pond, and then tossing some corn randomly around in it would really go a long way to getting the pigs to make a slurry of it. Some folks just put baled cow feed in a hollow and the cows go there to eat, packing it and manuring. I've had it suggested in a few places to plant a dense polyculture of pig feed in the future pond space and then let them loose in it. I would think that adding more pig manure, and a cardboard cover (weighted by rocks) would really benefit the fermenting process.
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So Kete, I would see if, after having read the definition in my post above, and you consider what you have on site, I think you should be able to seal up your system. Often the attempts that I've read that have failed it is because they did not follow the whole process of covering with a layer of soil or clay or cardboard to exclude oxygen. This is key to a good anaerobic ferment.
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Roberto for the info, will begin in the Spring on 2 small ponds and see how things go using what's on the farm. Although 4 months away, I will post progress and outcomes.
Also found some interesting info about "Dew Ponds", how they work, and how they were built.

K

 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Kate,

could you direct me to the info on dew ponds? sorry I didn't edit the last post well and messed up your name!

~Rob~
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you have horses you could use them to stomp around in the pond site as well, to puddle it.
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Rob

The site for the "dew" ponds is down at the moment, it had very detailled info about how they were built. Apparently it's an ancient method of collecting water in elevated areas, ie; Scottish Highlands.
I thought I had kept the info, but alas, can't find it (yet). Will endeavor to locate.
Did find some info on You tube but that wasn't particularly helpful.

If you Google Image "Dew Ponds" there are some 19th Century drawings of how the ponds were layered as to use climate and temps to collect the dew.
In what I had read, a tree overhanging the pond as dew collector/drip is part of the overall design.

The idea of using the horses is a good one, but with only one horse and one pony it may take them a while.
For the larger pond, a tractor and the neighbor's cattle may be in order.

Hope any of the above is useful to you.

If you're building ponds I would like to know how they turn out, please to keep me up to date.

Thanks. K
 
Posts: 407
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:I would also love to see some conclusive work done on this subject.

I've been looking for information on gleying for years, and, from what I understand from the many things I have read, this description below nails it down (and below that I write a bit more).



Yes, conclusive work. I've been looking at this for years too, and although there seems to be plenty of info floating around, what's missing are actual examples of people successfully doing it. Has anyone?
 
Posts: 128
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,

We are wanting to build several small ponds (10 -20ft) with the primary purpose of growing duckweed to feed hens in each paddock, but with the possible secondary purpose of using to water stock so that we can divide some of our larger paddocks down to the size that 5 goats or 5 sheep can eat out in a week (not so important- we could make a portable trough with buoy float that is connected to a hose) .

We do have a large sow and 10 month old boar. We also have very sandy soil (5 miles from the beach). We could try and fence the pigs into the area or we could just build a pond making the layers of manure/ grass / straw. From readying above, my guess is that pigs work better compacting clay soil, but that even hand-made layers would work better over sand, and pigs would just rip this up. We do have two adult and three year-old cows, so we could soon collect quite a bit of manure. I read that it is meant to be fresh. Could you start in the middle and slowly build outwards, collecting every few days?
What about the grass layer? It is summer here in New Zealand with quite a bit of dry grass we need to mow off in the orchard - will this work on the vegetation layer or does it need to be green too?
We also have quite a bit of old plastic sheeting off a greenhouse we bought. We though of putting that on top of the soil layer with various weights on top to help anaerobic growth, anyone tried this?

Finally, if it does seal, can the cattle/sheep/goats ruin the seal on it - would we need to fence them out? (I am pretty sure the pigs would).

Annie
 
Posts: 18
Location: Pomona, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey guys,

I'm trying to build an ecological pond in my backyard and I wanted to use this gley technique. My soil type is very sandy. I was thinking of digging the pond then putting a layer of cardboard across the bottom, laying on the 9" of fresh manure, putting another three layers of cardboard on the top, tamping it down, then backfilling four to six inches of my native sand. Will this approach work?
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Although not having built either of my ponds yet, I have found 19th Century drawings of "Dew Ponds" (Google Images). All structures have clay or clay/lime tempered bottoms, then straw, alternating these two sometimes for several layers. All have some sort of stone or like rubble topping.

I would think that;

manure could act as the "Clay" in the layering with straw or other "green" substitute
Layering appears to be deciding factor, many layers.
Layers of straw would also act as a cushion to those cloven hooves cutting through and breaking the seal.
Some of the dew ponds have a finish layer of rubble or small stone, seems to me that this would also protect against piercing.

I would think that the bigger weighty animal access would require a lot of layering to protect the seal.

I hope you can find the images I did on Google, personally it helped me understand what "may" work in the end.
I am anxiously awaiting the melting of the Snows here, I so want to get at it and report back what happens.

K
 
Posts: 4
Location: Tennessee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry I skipped page 2 and 3, just wanted to ask if you seal a pond with pigs, will it be okay to swim after the pigs are gone?
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The small pond that we used the manure technique, that slowly seeps water, won't hold water for more than a couple of days, was murky at first, but as the manure bottom settled the water cleared. For a little while a frog lived in there till it dried up. So I would imaging that if other beings can live in it, it should be OK for you to swim in. But to be sure, have the water tested by a lab for bacterial content.

I did make a small sample for another technique that seems to work well thus far, but I have yet to find the time to do it on a larger scale. I will have the time later this month to do the pond proper, and should be able to post the technique and the results by end August.

K
 
Posts: 27
Location: ST Albert AB Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a site with pleny of "Dew Pond" info, Sounds like constructing these ponds is a lost art and worthy of reserecting. http://www.rexresearch.com/dewpond/dewpond.htm
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 119
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
24
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Using clay to seal a pond

UK Terms; "Puddle clay a pond", "Puddling clay".
 
Posts: 493
13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In many ways this is like a leach field biomat.
 
gardener
Posts: 697
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
142
hugelkultur duck forest garden trees books chicken woodworking greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thought that I should post a picture of my pond made by pigs in very porous soil with very little clay content. I have a whole thread here documenting my attempt. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on whether what I've done is officially the gley technique but I thought it was at least similar enough to warrant including in this thread.
Pig-Pond-09-25-view-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Pig-Pond-09-25-view-2.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 454
Location: South West France
102
goat forest garden fungi chicken food preservation fiber arts solar sheep rocket stoves homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought I'd do an update too after a bit of experimentation.

Our pigs haven't used this pond for more that 18 months. It's always full and is only fed by rainwater. (Interesting too to see how they have left this little wood)



This is an even older pond, the water is clear :



This is another pond (dug in heavy clay) which was puddled by wellies and ducks, it too holds water.





 
Men call me Jim. Women look past me to this tiny ad:
Binge on 17 Seasons of Permaculture Design Monkeys!
http://permaculture-design-course.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!