How to gley a pond
Has anyone ever tried gleying
a pond? Gleying seems to be an old Russian method that mimics the
way ponds sometimes form in nature. The goal is to produce an
anaerobic layer in the soil underneath the pond, which somehow prevents
water from percolating through (perhaps due to slime on the anaerobic
bacteria.) Here are tips for gleying a pond, compiled from
various websites (none of which feels very definitive):
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a six to nine inch layer of fresh compostables. Some sites recommend
using a layer of animal manure covered by a second layer of high carbon
waste material such as paper or cardboard. Other sites note that
grass clippings can be used in place of the manure, and still others
leave out the high carbon layer.
your compostables wet, then seal out the air. Most people recommend
adding a layer of soil on top and tamping it down, but others mention
putting plastic over the pond to keep air out completely. Still
other sources seem to consider the cardboard layer to be the one that
seals air out.
two to three weeks.
During this time, you shouldn't allow your gley to dry up, but you
can't fill the pond yet. After the wait, your pond is supposed to
be permanently sealed...or sealed for a couple of years (depending on
who you talk to.)
I'm a bit leery of the
technique because I can't find anyone who mentions that they have tried
it personally, although second and third hand reports abound. I'm
also curious to know whether anaerobic pond muck from the alligator
swamp would provide instant gley. If I hauled out a few
bucketsful and used the muck to line a little indentation in our forest
garden, would we have a mini pond? Or is the anaerobic layer
something that forms in place and can get disrupted by digging?
Clearly, gleying a small pond is going to have to be added to my
post-growing season experiments list!
(As a side note, I
couldn't find a single picture on the internet of gleying a pond.
The closest ones were these photos of Sepp Holzer's pig method of
sealing a pond. As usual, click on the image to view the source