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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Building ponds, swales, hugel mounds, and a keyline terrace

Building ponds, swales, hugel mounds, and a keyline terrace

Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 8
I would like any advice or any design idea suggestions regarding my upcoming project. My friend Buzzy, an earthmover operator of 35+ years, and I are installing a new rectangular greenhouse pad oriented with the long side to the southeast on my property next week, and since I will have him here with his large excavator and expertise we are also installing six small ponds (each with wavy edges, slightly terraced interiors with varying depths, and overflow moats), a keyline terrace, large hugel mounds (made from whole trees that I dropped and chopped on contour), and swales. Our property is on southeastern facing slope of the end of an esker (a long winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel, left behind by glaciers) so I have very porous soil, because of this I am having Buzzy bring a bit of clay loam and we are gonna "puddle" in the loam and pound the bottom of the pond depressions with the bucket of his excavator to help seal them. One of the ponds, the garden pond (roughly 10'x30'x3' deep ~ 6750 gallons when full!), will be just up hill from the new greenhouse pad, this pond will be filled with runoff from the north side of greenhouse roof, a nearby shed, the roof over the compost area, directional swales ( I'm thinking 1:100 pitch), and overflow from swales from our greywater wetland (roughly 4'x10'x2' deep, to be built today) located just up hill from the pond. I intend this to be the first pond to fill with water and also the one that will remain full throughout the year. Overflow from this pond will flow out into swale garden beds then onto the terrace. I will also be installing a drain a little up off of the conical bottom (causing the water to vortex when draining) of the deep end of the pond, the drain will lead under the new greenhouse pad, alllowing access of it inside the greenhouse for irrigation, filling 12 60 gal juice drums for use in the greenhouse and as heat mass storage, and for the birds in the coop, and then continue out of the pad into directional hugelculture mound swale garden beds which also collect and slowly direct runoff from the south side roof of the greenhouse onto the hugel mound keyline terrace ( I'm thinking 1:100 pitch), across the terrace, into a silt trap, then overflow continues across the terrace into a lower catchment pond (roughly 10'x20'x6' deep ~ 9000 gallons when full!), with overflow from there going through a lower food forest into a larger bottom collection pond. The lower food forest and large pond will be installed next year. The greenhouse pad will also be tiltled slightly to make any runoff feed onto the terrace. The other ponds we will be installing next week will be puddled as well but they will only act as catchments and traps this season. I am gonna cover crop them and the remaining areas that will be disturbed during the earth work with a peas/ vetch/ oats soil building mix. Two of the ponds are designed to catch runoff from the driveway, tool shed, and 2 storage shelters. One of these two ponds is designed to overflow onto the keyline terrace as well. This pond will be roughly 20'x30'x4' deep (~18000 gallons when full!). I am gonna have Buzzy carefully remove the humus layer and set aside to be put back on top after the earth work. Because I basically have gravel and stone soil beneath the humus we will need to separate this material by shaking it as high as possible into mounds with the excavator, the fine material stays in the middle, the coarse material falls to the sides. The coarse material will be used to support the terraces, mounds and ponds, the fine material will be used on the terraces, mounds and as the bottom of the ponds before we add the clay loam and pound it. Next summer I plan on raising pigs in the pond depressions that may need to be manured to seal better. As well as being cover cropped the swales and mounds will be planted with the plants I have ordered from Burnt Ridge Nursery in Washington or purchased through the garden center I work at. These plants include fruit trees (apple, pear, cherry), berry bushes (honeyberries, service berries, blueberries, elderberries, seaberries), honey locust, black locust, autumn olive, siberian pea shrubs, and other perennials. Any spaces left in these areas will be planted with the overflow seedlings of annual herbs, flowers and veggies that dont fit in our intensive veggie garden (located just uphill from the constructed greywater wetland, and just downhill from the attached greenhouse and our home). I plan on introducing some small feeder fish into the garden pond to help with mosquito control. I would also like to install a flowform that will be run on a solar powered pump to aerate and enliven the water in the garden pond. The greenhouse will have an attached coop for more chickens and ducks on the north side with access the greenhouse and doors for them to get out to the pond above the greenhouse and such. So if anyone can think of any sugesstions, tips, or tricks I am all ears!
A former member
Post #: 10
I want to see this, appears to me you have done a lot of your homework.
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 9
I will definitely be posting pictures soon, I have taken some before shots so we will be able show the difference after the install
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