Hurray! I’ve been back to digging the pond the last couple days, and today I finished the bottom layer! I hit clay soil at about 2 1/2 feet down, and went a little deeper in one spot. For those who were wondering about the water that showed up in the bottom, I learned, after consulting other folks, that it’s probably not really a bit deal. It might possibly lift the liner in the spring a small amount, but on the other hand, the water in the pond might have enough weight to counter that. In any case, over the last several days of not much rain, there is no standing water, though the soil I’ve dug out has been damp.
So I ended up with four levels: first level all around the edge for planting (at about 10 inches down), second for a step, plus another spot to plant pond lilies, third another step down, and fourth the very bottom. The bottom is about 2 ft. 10 inches feet deep, though more like 2 1/2 feet from the top of the water once filled, since there is an overflow channel about 4 inches down from the top. I decided to let the clay soil be my guide for stopping at that depth. The very thin white line you can see across the pond is my measuring-depth-device–a string anchored in the ground at each side, and then another string looped onto it, marked with knots at each foot, and weighted so it hangs down.
It has been a lot of hard work to do the final levels, because each damp shovel-full had to be carried up the steps to the top step to put it in the wheelbarrow. And then, when I wheeled it all to the mound where it was going, I had to shovel it onto the mound. (Eventually I will add compost to the mound, and plant some sort of ground cover.)
The next step will be to cut old carpet into strips, to layer over the ground to keep roots from coming through, and to protect the pond liner. And surprisingly, there were small bittersweet roots all the way down to the bottom level. I have a pile of old carpet that I collected from willing volunteers (via Freecycle and Buy Nothing) last week, that is sitting on the patio, waiting for me.
But for now, I am coming inside to rest, with sore muscles but a happy heart. It has been so satisfying to be digging down into the beautiful earth, imagining a place for water.
This is amazing Myke! I love the harmony you’re creating among so many elements out there. I’m really inspired. I can only imagine how good it must feel in your yard/ food forest.
Thanks Deb…hope you are well!
I am! We’ve planted blueberries, blackberries, hardy kiwi, strawberries, persimmon, fig and hazelnuts in our backyard, along with tomatoes, peppers, chard, herbs, and flowers. It’s just an urban edible garden, tho I’m intrigued by permaculture. So far the rabbits and birds get most of it. We also put in a tiny pond and used a hard plastic liner–it was all I had time to do. It needs some work as algae has taken over and the aesthetics are…bleh. We did use bamboo from the empty lot next door and put up a fence, and a gravel sitting circle near a falling apart old brick bbq. It looks good and feels great out there–it’s the best place to melt into the larger world and just naturally slip into meditation and contemplative prayer. Or visit with people and critters: all kind of birds, including hawks by day and owls by night, mice, squirrels (about 1 million) and foxes. And of course ticks, chiggers and mosquitos. They all come very close when your mind goes still and your heart opens. I mind the bugs less when I get into that state–I just brush them off and wish them well.
All of this sounds wonderful! I understand the key to algae is to plant water plants to purify the water–we’ll see. Much love!
Pingback: Pond, next steps | Finding Our Way Home