The Farm Pond

Farm_pond_in_jasper_county_iowa

Every farm must have water to function. There are many quite different solutions to this problem from the point of view of crop-raising, from overhead sprinklers to underground drip irrigation, from canal irrigation to raised beds, from biodynamic double digging to hugelkultur. Each of these methods has its own positives and negatives, more importantly they each have a particular environment in which they are the best choice for that space. In areas where there is a kind of rolling topography and a good proportion of clay in the soil, the farm pond shines due to its ease of engineering. Where you have a watershed of two or more acres, you can build a sizable pond. It can be as simple (not easy: simple) as building a straight line dam from one rolling hill to the next.

After the successful completion of the pond’s construction, rain will soon begin to turn the dirty bowl-shaped depression into a beautiful life-giving watering hole. You will notice the grass around the pond accelerate it’s growth and glow a deeper shade of green indicating a higher water table and more available soil moisture. You will see a bog form at the upper end of the pond where the water is just slightly below the surface of the soil, giving a perfect place for brambles to thrive around it’s edges. You will also notice a bog forming below the dam, but this one will be more swampy, possibly giving way to a small above-ground stream running away from the pond behind it. The birds will begin to appear, and the four-legged animals as well, in very short order. They are constantly searching for water, and you have managed to hold some here: a miracle.

A quarter-acre pond averaging four feet deep can hold around three hundred twenty-five thousand gallons of water (325,000 gallons). THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND GALLONS of fresh, clean water. On that note I end this post.

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