The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Earth Ponds

Earth PondsAs you can probably tell from all of my pond experimentation last week, Tim Matson's Earth Ponds did a great job getting me excited about playing in the mud.  I read the second edition because a perusal of the table of contents suggested it was pretty much identical to the newer edition, and at the time Amazon had a used copy available for only $4.  (If you've looked at the third edition and see updates, I hope you'll add your two cents' worth as comments on this week's lunchtime series!)

The first third of Matson's book is a chatty story of how he built his own pond around 1980 in Vermont.  He cleared trees in a wetland, then hired a bulldozer to do the excavation.  For $850, the bulldozer operator dug out a large area (about 93 feet by 75 feet) to a depth of 8 Tim Matson's pondfeet.  Water seeped in through the earth as the pond was was being excavated, then overflow created its own spillway once rains arrived, with Matson coming along behind to rock the water's path and prevent erosion.

The rest of this week's lunchtime series will hit the highlights of pond construction according to Matson, but I wanted to provide a few caveats up front.  Earth Ponds is focused on creating an earth-bottomed swimming hole that will keep fish happy and provide a bit of water for the garden, so it won't be relevant to everyone.  If you want to make a little backyard pond like ours, you'll have to guess and experiment, and if you want to create a more vibrant ecosystem, you'll have to overlook all of Matson's attempts to eradicate "weeds" (meaning any aquatic vegetation) from his pond.  Still, I've yet to find a better book about earth-bottomed ponds, so Matson's text is at the top of my list.

$10 Root Cellar is my newest ebook, chock full of tips on growing and storing root vegetables.

This post is part of our Earth Ponds lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Funny, I've got the first edition of that book here. Even read it! ;)
Comment by Mon Aug 5 12:42:43 2013

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