I the beginning of this long series if the water in the forest garden I promised that there would be a post about the construction of dams forward end. Much of what I have written about in previous posts was about to give a basic understanding of hydrological, so that you can find the best location for your pond. In this post, I will focus on how to constructs natural ponds, ie those not requiring dust cloth or regular filling with water.

If you dig the pond in the right place can be filled with water in no time. This dam was completely filled with water after a few days.

My experience of the construction of dams based on that we have so far dug five dams in Putt Myra forest garden. Everyone keeps water all season, despite the fact that we take out a lot of water for irrigation purposes, and we have not used dust cloth to any of them.

Why build dams?

There is much to be gained to construct one or more ponds. For us the main reason from the beginning that we needed access to irrigation water to even begin with the establishment of forest garden. By the spring of 2013, ten months after the first dam was finished we realized that a dam has many more positive qualities than being a water reservoir. Suddenly it started to get a lot more insects and birds to the forest garden than in previous years, there was a beautiful water mirror to look at and it created a very favorable microclimate around the pond's edge. Digging ponds have probably been the single most important measure to promote biodiversity in our forests garden.

Newly constructed ponds populated quickly by plants and attracts lots of farm animals.

Finding the right place

dust No. 1 was the first thing we did dig (see the map below). We found the place by both observe the vegetation, which differed from the surrounding grassland by containing more moisture-loving plants, and by walking around barefoot and feel the difference in soil moisture. Our feet are an underrated tool for site observation! Only later we measured the height differences on the intended place and realized that the damp spot was just at a point of inflection, which I described in a previous posts means that the water table is where the closest land surface. Then it does not matter if you have a stiff clay soil and a permeable sandy soil, the water is there regardless. With that realization, just dig out the earth, and let the gap slowly filled with water. How much water flowing into all depends on what time of year you dig and how local water conditions,. Our ponds filled by anything from a few days (dust 5) to several months (dust 4).

This map shows the location of our ponds. They are numbered in the order they were built. Around the pond No. 5 also appears every topsoil would be and how djuprofilen would look like. The contour lines are drawn, and shows that all the ponds created in the vicinity of inflection points.

With the latter, the ponds, we have instead begun studying the contour lines on the site, and has since completed our chart analysis with more hands-on on-site observation. You wear the right glasses fairly quickly and with little experience, it becomes easier and easier to identify suitable sites for natural ponds.

What kind and how much?

Our dams are between 20 kvm (dust 2) and 180 kvm (dust 5) large. According SSNC's excellent book "Vacuum Handbook" from 1997 is 100 sqm the smallest size in order to create a working pond ecosystem. However, I think that even the smaller dams fulfill their function well and would not allow me to limit the number.

Important it is to invest in the right form. The largest biological activity occurs in the transition zone between land and deep water. The longer this zone, the more lives will be in the pond. At the same time, it is important that there are zones in the pond that can not be ground freezing. The illustration below shows how a dam in cross-section could look like. The shallow zone is pulled out and is on the sunlit north side of the pond. There are only a djuphål in our dams are 1,5 m deep at its deepest. An extra ingenious tricks are the large stone left in illustration. It is located on the northern edge of the pond, which means that it gets a lot of sunlight in the. Already in the early spring becomes heated and transfers its heat into the pond. The water starts circulating and ice releases earlier, while oxygen is supplied. If you are lucky enough to find a few large stones at the excavation, it is a good idea to place them in the pond shallow northern part.

What the law says?

I'm no expert on the law on dams, but there is a good Published by Huss Demeanor Society and funded by LRF going through what applies at the pond digging. The scale covered in the report is different from most forest horticulturists will work in, but there are still a lot of useful information to find in the text. There, you can read that the construction of dams are classified as water operations and that all water operations fundamentally requires permission. As usual, there are a lot of exceptions and terms such as "If it is clear that neither public nor private interests are damaged by water activities on the water conditions, No license or notification of 11 gets 12 § MB, the s. k. exception clause. ". In many counties, it can be right in so that there is refund money seeking to build ponds and wetlands. If you are unsure about what applies on your land, it may be a good idea to start by calling the municipal and / or provincial government where you live.

Helpful hints

Once you know where your pond should be located and how it will look like there is much that can go wrong in the practical work, so here are some tips based on what we have learned from our construction projects:

How bad can it be when digging in the wrong season. These ruts are still around today, 5 years after we first dug pond.
  1. Backhoe first, plant ago. If you have the possibility, start by digging your ponds before you build the rest of the woodland garden. Digging ponds is a rather extensive surgery and it is best to do it first, Before you put your precious plants, which otherwise risk being run over or buried under excavated.
  2. Dig a test hole. Do not you trust neither your own review or maps, it's a good idea to dig a big pit sample. Dig on any one meter deep and one square meter. Cover it with a sheet, so that it can not rain directly. Observe how the water table moves during the year. Wiper pit completely out sometime there are probably better places to build a dam on.
  3. Dig in autumn. The best time to dig ponds is late summer or early fall, when the ground water level usually is lowest. As is also the risk of permanent damage to the ground at its lowest. We dug our first pond in the middle of the wet summer 2012 and still suffers from the extensive compaction damage caused when.
  4. Where the clear with your instructions. I assume that you do not want to dig your pond by hand, although it is quite possible, especially if you have some friends who want to help. If you hire an excavator you need to be too explicit with your instructions. Most digger operators have never dug ponds and are used to a completely different job. We noticed the outline of the ponds with clearly marked sticks and excavator were always got a map of where they should put topsoil and mineral soil. They were also given instructions to minimize the number of movements of the machine, to minimize compaction damage. It is important that you are actually in the excavation, for even the clear instructions can be easily misinterpreted.
  5. Do not sell land. If you dig a 100 sqm dust can easily become 30 cubic meters or more topsoil. It may happen that the excavator operator think you should sell it. Do not do it, even if you get a good price! It is precisely the topsoil from the pond excavation which enables the construction of raised culture beds.
  6. Make yourself finarbetet. One thing digger operators seem to think about is to clean up piles of excavation masses by running them back and forth with the excavator, something they call planning. Then, of course, the risk of irreversible compaction damage immense. A better way to deal with the excavated material is to let them out of the bucket at the place where they should be and then straighten them gently with backhoe. Finarbetet you can do with seized and some friends' help.
  7. Think about safety. Dams are dangerous for small children, just like any other water body (plaskpoolen included). Drowning is the cause of death among children aged 1 to 6 years and each year drown 10 Children in Sweden. The water does not need to be deep for it to be dangerous and it does not take many seconds before a child drowns. Do you expect that young children will be staying in the vicinity of the dam, there are various precautions you can take. The dust guide recommended the creation of an edge of sharp rocks where the pond deeper parts begin, so that the children do not want to go further out. Safer is to fence the entire pond, so that children can not get out on their own. And most importantly, (in addition to teaching the children to swim): do not let the children a single second eyes when playing the pond.
Here scraped the valuable topsoil away in order to make use of raised bed next to the pond. Today it grows fine hybridhasslar in this soil.

I hope these tips will help you along with your pond project and please write in the comment box below if you have experiences you want to share!

17 thoughts on “Dammgrävartips”

  • You can get up to 90% in support of the construction of wetland / wildlife water in farming, The County Board decides and pays out.
    I suspect that the wetland has to be something more for support, my will be approximately 7000 m2.

    1. Contact your county government and ask them to fix a SAM-no to you. (Needed in the application)

    2. Grab industry consultation needed aid application. The board has list of approved consultants. You will have to contact one of them and make an appointment for a consultation. County Board pays.

    3. When you received the report of Nutrients -> submit notification of water operations through Agriculture's email service.

    4. When you have water activities approved, you can seek assistance from the provincial government. Search by Agriculture's email service.

    Expect it to take at least a year to get through the above obstacle. Construction of the wetland must not begin before the decision to support come.

  • Hej Philipp! Thanks for a great post. The topsoil la you in raised garden beds. What has bee done with mineral soil, is also in ordlingsbäddar?

    • Tack! And, we created raised garden beds of mineral soil also, good that you ask the question. There we have put in a lot of green manure (white clover, buckwheat, alfalfa, hag tooth etc.) and planted alders, so that it will eventually become good soil it too. This year we first tried to plant a little more demanding plants (Apples and Pears) the oldest hills with mineral soil, but it is too early to say how it will go.

    • Hello Bengt,
      it would surely go to cultivate carp in the ponds, but we have not started any such. Do you have experience in the?

      • No, I have no experience of it. Men, I am interested in fish farming. I'm involved in a project for the cultivation of a fish called Dell Trout. It is only at the design stage.
        Some of the ideas is to have ponds on land and using fish poo that nourish the tomatoes in a greenhouse. Peckas Nature Plantations in Harnosand grow fish and tomatoes on the way.
        I think it's interesting combinations of different types of crops. A forest garden with fish ponds and permakulturträdgårdar adjacent to the conference center for health and spirituality is something I fantasize about.

        • Fun! We take our irrigation water in our common vegetable gardens today from the largest dam, so it might be the one they would have fish in if they want to use their poop. Please contact me when you come further with your project, there are probably many who find it interesting.

  • Looking in the nooks and crannies in half the Internet for just that! Many thanks!

  • Hi
    We have dug a small pond 2.5m times1,, 5 m. The idea was to put in the cloth with we covered it e fs it would rain o when we opened the pit was full m water? It is very wet where we dug and the water is left after a week, it has dropped / evaporated a few cm. Now thinking about ignoring the canvas but the water is cloudy, you can have a pump in for better circulation? I have built a ceramic fountain that I intend to have by the pond.
    It is quite wet around the pond so maybe you should dig a little more so it becomes more shallow, it is young 80 cm deep in the middle.
    Grateful for tips.
    Lena Westin

    • Hi! It sounds like you have found the perfect place for a natural pond, so no duster will be needed. The turbidity comes from the clay particles that take months before they settle. If you start pumping around the water, it may take even longer before the water is clear. You could fetch a bucket of water from any lake to “ympa” in natural microorganisms.
      All's Well, Philipp

    • Hi!
      No, on the contrary, I would say. Our view is that the ecosystem has become richer and thus there are more people who eat mosquitoes.

      • Interesting! I work with community planning and when I proposed stormwater pond, I got it as a counter-argument. Maybe a difference if it is a private facility and it is taken care of. Municipal care does not exist to the same extent. But if the dam works, not so much care will be needed…

  • Hi
    We have a small natural pond on the plot. It is filled with water in spring and autumn from two ditches from the forest. In summer it is almost dry.
    Have three questions:
    1. Do not want the pond natural but neither plastic tub nor cloth. How should I make it not grow again with grass all the time?
    2. We have just drilled new water and come up with a spring box with very good flow. Is it stupid to try to keep the pond full by refilling in the summer?
    3. Need to block the outflow slightly to raise the water level in the pond. What can I use?
    Mvh Anna

  • Thanks for all the great info! We have built a pond that is approx 1,5-2 meters deep, no carpet on the bottom. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be difficult to keep open. It has begun to stick up long green straws (maybe sharp) over the surface here and there now the first summer. How deep you have to dig for it not to happen? We could access to dig a little deeper in some places namely. The pond is about 10×7 meter
    Very grateful to receive an answer to this. Mvh Eva

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