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Sepp Holzer on ponds

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I am hungry to know more and more of Sepps ponds. I don't at all feel as if i understand the ins and outs of them yet.
    Did not he say that the water seeps out of his ponds wetting the ground round them and so irrigating everything. Weren't his first ponds hollows in the ground by the plants he planted as a child, holes hollowed out to make a water source to keep the seedlings damp.
      Aren't his ponds a sort of other way of having swales, as explained in Hugh Lawtons video permaculture water harvesting. Sepp holzer combines swales with a fish pond. Still that is not the whole story of permaculture ponds as far as i can tell. I suppose the other part is that they are cisterns that store water.
      If they stop mud slides, would that be because the rain that overflows from them gets channeled off down to the next pond instead of seeping into the earth. That the bottom of his ponds allow seeping but not to much seeping.
    How many people does his farm keep him and how many sons? agri roes macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
rose macaskie wrote:
I am hungry to know more and more of Sepps ponds. I don't at all feel as if i understand the ins and outs of them yet. 


I agree, I too am hungry to know more.  I am thinking micro climate and maybe a clue as to how he grows out of zone stuff.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I had not really thought that the alpes were dry places though i can understand wanting to keep the ground wet for seedlings, I can understand  the worries of the child Sepp planting seeds in the moutains, . agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I attended a lot of his workshops where he talked about ponds.

First, there are all sorts of ponds and things that look like ponds.  Sometimes you want to create a seal and sometimes you don't.  It is an amazingly rich and fascinating space. 

The important first step is to look at the land/dirt/soil and consider the problem space - what is the mission?

As for the ponds that you see at Sepp's place, I would guess that none of them are designed to leak water to nearby plants.  I would also guess that none of them have plant roots working through the pond seal to get water from the pond.  I can imagine that some plants have roots on top of the seal and are getting plenty of water that way. 

My impression is that the ponds are creeks at sepp's place are not designed to irrigate.  My impression is that they do put a lot of humidity in the air which ends up as a heavy dew on the property. 



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Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
paul wheaton wrote:My impression is that the ponds are creeks at sepp's place are not designed to irrigate.  My impression is that they do put a lot of humidity in the air which ends up as a heavy dew on the property. 


Wireless drip irrigation! 


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
not having been to Sepp H's place, but seeing it in video and pictures I assume that Pauls assertion is more correct.

Having ponds of my own, my experience is that generally the ponds themselves do NOT seep water into the surrounding area, but rather hold water and humidity. However the overflow areas we have here do seep SOME water to the surrounding areas, but generally drain it away in slower flowing ditches.

as for irrigating the crops beside the pond..not too likely either..in my situation i do find that the plants on the very very wet edges do get water from the ponds..only in the lower areas..but the banks that are higher up tend to be dry, as water drains away from them into the pond..leaving high and dry the tops of the banks.

our land tends to be damper than most..so it isn't generally a problem here that water drains into the pond..that is the point..to get the excess water off the land into the ponds and ditches..rather than sitting on top of the soil.

i do plant things to take advantage of the lower damper areas..such as elderberry, witnerberry, etc..they are nearly in the water..but where they are does dry out in the July droughts.

generally with the pond shallows i put in things that don't mind drying out occasionally , some but will grow in the clay bottom and will seek the moisture that is under the surface in the droughts..we have a large number of rushes (cattails) in our shallows..also we have some other plants in the shallows as well.

the upper banks, we plant things that don't depend on a lot of water..they will generally be drier than even other areas of our property..sometimes the dryest areas of the property are on the taller banks..around the pond..even dryer than 100's of feet away from the ponds themselves.

Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
I have decided to bring in some equipment for one day to reshape my front yard.  The trick is going to be to do it when the ground has just the right amount of moisture.  I am figuring now where to puddle and where to drain.  I need to make "well drained soil" where I want my trees and plants, some soggy places for those plants and a couple of deep spots to see how long we can keep them wet enough for frogs to multiply.

You all have to remember, I plan big and work the plan, but am still just draining and diverting from my barn.  I don't work fast as I am spread pretty thin.  The last week has been coon proofing my barn.  I had to rock in the north wall and bury some metal under the doors.  Had to move rock faster than I had planned and all other projects got put on hold.  I lost 3 chickens.  Seems to be fixed now, set a trap anyway.








rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Paul Wheaton, Sepp Holzer says the water seeps into the land from the ponds irrigating his land in a way that as it is very slow means less leaching of nutrients form the soil which is to say as there is not an enormouse rush of water into the soil only the slow seeping of water from the ponds. The water as it permeates slowly does not run right through the soil picking up nutrients on the way and carrying them with it into the water table or down to rivers, He says as much in one of the youtube videos on him. I did not make that up! It took me some time to research it and no one pays me to do it and then you talk as if it was not true! I shall have an attack of apoplexy. Its luck the pond is between us or i should come and get you. 
    If you want to whatch the video first you tap youtube into the space given at the top of your main searcher page their is a space in the middle of the page for the thing you look up, say "sepp holzer permacullture and one on top of the, google page for example, that is the best place to look if you want to enter youtube or other programs, into the space at the top of your main searcher page  you tap in  "www youtube.com"  and then you press search and you will get into youtube and then you can tap in Sepp Holzer permaculture and press search and a whole list of videos will appear made by people talking of sepp holzer or of himself talknig of himself. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I did not start a page with this name anyway, still if its here i might just aas well put my dissertation on sepp holzer on ponds into it.
      It is a researched dissertation please look at the sepp holzer videos in you tube before refuting it. Research your criticisms well. It is not perfect but i tried to reseearch it wel to be perfect you have to spend years on it and that would mean that it did not get out. if i get it out it means other can make it perfect.
  I am going to suppose, till further evidence, that paul wheaton is just baiting me, trying to get a reaction, so i don't need to react to hard.
      What i wrote at the begining of this peice is what made me research and write the rest. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Sepp holzers ponds.
ponds as water cisterns, fish farms,  irrigation, drainage, to break the downward push of landslides  the land above them is sepeartaed form the soil bleow them,  the continuity of the top soil is. broken , as silt traps.
  They also reflect the sunlight on to trees as the mirror surfaces in solar cookingcreat more heat because they reflect the sun light so htat your pot not only heats form exposure to direct sunlight but also from the lsunlight reflected on to it from oother surfaces the mirrors you have set up.  if however you put in you rond so it is shaded from the sun by trees it will cool rather htan heat your space.
The forth  types of hollows made to better water permeation in land used to grow food are ponds.
        There is the series of ponds on  Sepp Holzer land that serve as cisterns but double up as fish ponds. In Germany they eat fresh water fish not habitually eaten in England.  My parents were there once and got served pike, if I remember right.
      Making sure water permeates your land well helps rivers, it drips out of the land slowly and so helps people lower down the stream receive an steady flow of water instead of being awash with water after a storm and later having none.
        The ponds like swales help the water to really permeate the earth.  Sepp Holzer has a number of ponds that constitute a irrigation system as the water from them seeps into the landscape slowly. This according to him creates damp soil without creating those excesses of water that move through the soil leaching nutrients out of the soil with the water that washes through the soil. Too much water that leaches goodness out of the soil can be one of the disadvantages of irrigation
        The ponds also mean the trees have a supply of water whether or not Sepp is there to water them.
        He also uses the water that flows out of them to turn a water wheel and provide his house with electricity.
    The overflow from the Sepps ponds goes down pipes into the next pond down or to drive his water wheel. I don’t know exactly how he works it.

        In a youtube  video of Sepp Holzers, “ work in the Ecuador against natural disasters”, He says that ponds stop landslides. This is another aspect of ponds on hills.
      If the wet mud starts to slide pushing the wet mud in front of it, then, if you have a eaten out a bite of the slope where you have built a pond, the mud can only slide till it falls into the pond the pond will break the chain reaction, the falling mud can’t push the mud downhill from the falling mud it will have fallen in to the pond. Instead of going on pushing the mud in front of it there wont be more mud in front of it until the otherside of the pond a place the falling mud will never get to. The ponds will shorten landslides. So ponds to break the flow of mud slides.
        If mud falls into a pond most of the mud will sink into the pond so it will be water that overflows from the pond not mud, The mud will displace the water in the pond.  If the overflow pipe is big enough a lot of the extra will go down the pipe and not wet the already soaked hill. This must also reduce the damage a landslide can do.

Sediment Ponds that reduce flooding down stream.
      In engineering swales can be used to carry water into a sediment trap which is a pond where the sediment will fall to the bottom and the clean water will be on top. In a building site you would not want all the sand of the site to end up on other peoples land so you construct a a sediment trap and a swale to carry your sandy water to the trap. You can find a description of this if you tap into youtube the words  “ dikes berms and swales. Erosion and sediment control fact sheet”.   
    As one reason for flooded rivers can be that the mountain slopes near the rivers source have been bared of protective vegetation by over exploitation, overgrazing, and rainfall causes a lot of erosion carrying mud into streams that carry it into rivers.  With the earth bared though there is not an actual mud slide the rain fall is going to carry a lot of mud downhill to the streams with it and so a lot of sediment into the rivers. If rivers  get silted up there is much less room for water in them, so that if there is a big water event a lot of rainfall  the rivers are more likely to overflow, their courses no longer big enough to carry the water from a heavy rainfall event . So stopping mud getting into rivers helps stop disasters. 
    Sediment ponds can stop the mud that has eroded off hills getting into rivers as the sediment sinks to the bottom of the ponds and does not get to the rivers only silts up the ponds.       

  This function of his ponds is given in Sepps video, on you tube  “ work in Ecuador against natural disasters” 
        In Sepps ponds we know the water that drains off the pond is taken off from the surface water as it flows down an overflow pipe is taken from the surface. His overflow pipes head is near the surface of the pond so when the pond level rises, the water ¡rises above the top of the pipe  and flows down it. A plug hole in the air. So in Sepps pond, the drainage, the water that flows down pipe comes from the clean, sediment free, top part of the pond. This must mean that the pond slowly fills up with sediment and needs to be cleaned.
            So sediment ponds such as Sepps as well irrigating the slopes of the hills they are embedded in in dry weather can catch sediment coming off the slope and stop flooding,down stream,  be disaster saving ponds.  The sediment falling off the hill ending up in the bottom of the ponds instead of in the rivers .

        Also they are part of a drainage system, if you control the water flowing out of them providing channels for it to go down the slope in or water pipes, Sepp has big water pipes to carry of the overflow from his ponds, you reduce the water that wets the mud making it too heavy to stay put, by draining the water down hill away from the slopes.
      A lot of rain will fall in the ponds instead of onto the banks and be siphoned of into channels or pipes.  This is a third reason ponds can stop mudslides.

So. cisterns,  irrigation, fish ponds, , electric power source, a break  to mud slides, drainage and sediment trap.
           
      The ponds are cut deep into the slope so they are far from the surface of the slope and from the part of the slope likely to be part of a mud slide. Though I suppose there must always be the really bad occasion when half the slope will fall down ponds and all.
            If you look at the diagram of the ponds on a slope in Sepps video, work in Ecuador against natural disasters , you will see  the ponds are set way into the slope, their weight and water content is not on top of that last two or three meters  of land that wet through and precipitate down the slope in a land slide .

        All these ponds change your landscape which might be a struggle if you have got fond of the land as it was.    Agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Paul Wheaton, Sepp Holzer says the water seeps into the land from the ponds irrigating his land in a way that as it is very slow means less leaching of nutrients form the soil which is to say as there is not an enormouse rush of water into the soil only the slow seeping of water from the ponds.


My interpretation of this is ....

Sepp will build pondish and swale-ish things that are not sealed bottom.  But those are the exception, not the rule.  It depends on lots and lots of factors. 

It is my impression that none of the ponds on his property are this way.  However, he does have terraces that are this way.  I do know that he will only do this in areas where he things that if the soil gets wet it won't slide down the mountain.  So I know he would not try to do this with a soil that has lots of clay.

His sealed ponds will have a tiny amount of water passing through.  And some plants will get water directly from his water spots, but that's going to either be from above-ish, or from the uphill side of the pond (where there might not be much in the way of a seal - and there is little risk to the dam. 




rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  He,Sepp Holzer talked of compacting the earth by jiggling it with the bulldozer in the lecture you invited him to give, didn't he? Could this compact the earth enough to stop water absolutely pouring out of the pond but allow some seeping of water into the ground?
  My grandmothers farm was in Cheshire were there is a clay soil and where lots of bombs fell in the war, dropped from bombers on their way to Liverpool who did not want to face the anti aircraft fire of liverpool, about twenty miles off. That was the story anyway, they thought it must be that the pilots were Ialians who did not really have much apetite for war anyway,  and now the places were the bombs dropped are ponds.

  I shall look up trhe video again but i think he was talking about the ponds on his land when he talked of them keeping the plants irrigated.
  If you set the ponds back far enough into the bank they would not start a landslide anyway. agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Well, I didn't invite him.  I attended a workshop that was put on by kelda and he was the featured speaker.  So I guess kelda invited him.

I don't think Sepp uses bulldozers.  He's a big fan of track hoes. 

And then, yes, in just the right situation, he does the compression trick.  But it all depends on the soil and the overall mission.  In spain, he did not compress the bottoms of the ponds even though it was sandy soil.  His mission was to raise the water table to nearer the surface - and by doing that, the ponds would naturally fill. 
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
paul wheaton wrote:
In spain, he did not compress the bottoms of the ponds even though it was sandy soil. His mission was to raise the water table to nearer the surface - and by doing that, the ponds would naturally fill.

Not my problem here but I would like to hear more about this, how did he raise the water table?
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1777
    
    9
This is how I understand it -

On Sepp's place his goal was to 'hold' water at the surface, so he packed the bottoms as you say.  Sepp likes his holding ponds for the humility they release and sun reflection up on his hill sides, aiding him in his goal toward micro climates - yes?

Where as non-packed ponds allow the water to move out of them underground - this is used in permaculture on hill sides to retain water and release it down-hill into berms slowly.  Some call this type of set up a swale, however the proper definition of swale is more of a low lying area of ground with damp or marsh like conditions.

And then there is Peter Andrews of Australia - who does amazing things with holding water on property for as long as possible. 

Personally I love the idea of holding/controlling water so efficiently on land that I can get all my water needs met at all times of the year.  But then water rights on one's land will play a big roll toward this end.

See videos on all of this on youtube ♥

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
    Paul Wheaton  I think the only name i know of for big strange yellow machines is buldozer. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Paul Wheaton, I have been going through the videos on you tube to see where i heard that Sepps ponds irrigated the ground, i watched several videos and last the one in Spanish call, "Sepp Holzer work in Ecuador against natural disasters" and so now you need a Spanish transalator if you are to cheque it out. You have to have a German transalator and now a Spanish one, all for Sepp. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
As i wrote on another thread, i have just seen that Sepp managed to grow lemons on his slopes. There is  photo of lemons growing on a video of his farm. His ponds heating an area by acting as solar reflectors works well enough for him to grow lemons in the mountains! He is my hero, I totally understand Paul Wheatons Sepp worship. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I have been whatching a Dan Rojas, solar cooking man with most experiments that i know of videos and he has an experiment with a fresnal lense directing the sun on to a a metal  object in a fish tank to show how the sun can warm water if there is an object in the water to warm and so how it could warm your swiming pool. This video makes  you feel really convinced about the importance of putting stones in a pond as Sepp Holzer does, unless you want a really cold pond. It really knocks Sepps advise right in. The you tube video is called, "fresnal lense sun collector heating a swimming pool". agri rose macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
Rose, I can not watch videos here, slow connection and when I go to town and could get wifi I have so much to do I forget.  I lean so much just reading what you ask about or sugest. 

We had another big rain and my place is again a giant puddle.  I will get some photos so I can look back when it is not so wet and know.

For now I need to go out and work around the barn.  Still channeling water away from barn but will start working on keeping it soon.  I am thinking to look/watch, plan and in a couple of years to have equipment in to shape the land.

We just fenced off a muddy lot and piled in the horses with a bag of grass seed.  In a few hours I will pull the horses out and keep them out for a while and watch the grass grow.  I planted a mixture of grasses.  I plan to practice rotational grazing as I can.  Along with grass I plan trees and shrubs for browse too. 
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Jennifer its probably better to let ideas settle for a while anyway. We have a router but i have twenty, odd, year old children and they tend to get you up to date on the machine level.
    I have been trying to get solar cooking together for more than a year and i have not done so yet, just lots of near ovens. i think i had to adquire new skills in order to get solar ovens together. Diggings a skill i can manage if i have time and energy. Looking up things to do with ecology is something i started fifteen odd years ago, in some ways its handy being in your fifties, also it so much easier to do things without small children, unless you are totally irresponsible and don't give them any time they eat away at an awfull lot of time. agri rose macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
We got this place in 2009 and  I think it a good idea to live here a couple of years before reshaping the land, more an enhancement than a re-do.  I have to know it well to enhance without destroying.  For now I continue to spread sheet compost/mulch all around to level and hold/direct water.  I dig as little as possable to keep water out of work/living areas. 

I meant to say that it was you and others on the forum that got me to investigating more browse.  I had already decided to bring some bicolor cuttings up here but now am looking into new plants.

Bicolor is one of the plants brought in by DNR that didn't work as they had hoped.  Brought it in for bird food but it is not good to hunt in.  It is a pretty blooming, nitrogen fixing, shrub that horses/goats/deer eat and is good for them. 
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I did not mention when i was writting what i coulf glean on ponds and such that Geof Lawton says that you have to survey first that means pegging out the land so you can see whats on a level it seems, or which bits higher and which bits lower . I don't know how to survey i could look it up , i shouls think builders know how to do it they have to level land to build on it, so it would be find a builder who can tell you where to dig to drain your yard.
  What about stepping stones or boards cowboy town style.
  drainage seems to be the first thing you want before water harvesting.
  If it were garden not a yard i would imagine that once you got a good lot of roots into the garden and they had made lots of organic matter that broke up the soil, so that the roots channeld water and the soil was more permeable it would drain better. getting plants to omprove the drainage would take two or four years i imagine and you need draiing now.
    Things like poplars drain soil well and the horses could eat the leaves till they got too high to eat, you could try turning them into a hedge clipping them i have never seen a poplar hedge so it can't be possible. I suppose if you put in poplars their will be less water to harvest when you get water harvesting organised. 
    Oats have deep roots and horses can eat them either as pasture or as grains but you would not want to pep  up the horse too much unless you are racing them or working them hard i suppose. My grand mother was horse mad or rather just what they call a horsey person. her farm allowed her to keep horses and later just ponies.
    Turnips grow in two mounths or something according to Sepp holzer  and they are a winter vegetable and he feeds his yaks with them, do horses eat turnips? He says jerusalem artichokes grow really well, do horses eat them? Paul Wheaton suggests planting buck wheat and cowe peas always, i thought it was a sexual or secist joke, but it seems that Sepp plants buck wheat. Turnips would not leave many roots in your soil to break it up though. agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
rose macaskie wrote:
    Paul Wheaton suggests planting buck wheat and cowe peas always, i thought it was a sexual or secist joke, but it seems that Sepp plants buck wheat.


I'm a big fan of a good joke, but I'm real sure that wasn't one.  Although now I'm trying really hard to make it into one and I can't think how!


rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I think i thought you wanted femin things and masculine ones, a sort of each do the traditional thing for their sex type thing because of buck and cow. It was when i started writting here.
  By the way i looked  up the rainfall in my garden successfully a few days ago. In the area of Guadaljara affected by the peak the Ocejon, that of my garden for instance, there is an average of 800 centimetres of rainfall, that is centimetres for squared metre or something not inches, so plenty of rain in winter for most pruposes much more than you 200 centimeteres in your old farm. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I started looking up duck ponds in google and ended looking up sediment ponds and then farm ponds, there is a lot of information of the sort of thing  Sepp does with ponds looking up this sort of things in google and more information than i have given gleaning stuff from permaculture videos on you tube. It is something that seems it is better to have professional help with, unless you have a lot of experience as a geologic engineer. i think that is what they are called. agri rose macaskie
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
there is an average of 800 centimetres of rainfall


800 centimeters is 8 meters, right?  That would work out to about 24 feet or 288 inches.  Rain forest. 

80 centimeters would work out to about 30 inches - the amount of rain that seattle gets.  My old farm was about 20 inches.  Missoula is about 14 inches.

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I thought i had chequed to see if it was mm or centimetres it is mm, i think. I feel really bad and confused about rainfall when i was at school in england it was measuered in inches.
  i have been comparing England and spain and in enlgand there are places with a average rainfall of 700mm, and my place has 800mm in the article i found on it, incredible and the grass is so poor in so many places and the humidity nil. Well there is much more rain near the top of mountains in England than in other places. The village my house is in is near the mountain peak called the Ocejon. I will have to research it for a while to get used to the idea and sure of it. Untill then i shall just have to feel insecure.
  In england it rains for days on end it never does that here how could there be similar rainfall figures for the two countries in many places. I am really on a ground i don't usually study here . I know that sabinas juniperus thurifera out grow encinas quercus ilex when there is less that 250 mm but thats about all and i have not checked it out before saying it, i hope i have remembered right. I suppose the hotter climate makes more rainfall necessary. I don't like numbers. I suppose that if you write what you chose you are writting what you know about and if someone asks you questions you are taken into subjects you don't control. agri rose macaskie.
                            


Joined: Jul 30, 2009
Posts: 21
Location: NSW, Australia
Jennifer Smith  "listenstohorses" wrote:
Not my problem here but I would like to hear more about this, how did he raise the water table?


This was in spain, in an extremely dry area. Sepp was asked to consult and advice on whether anything could still be done with the land or whether the owner, somekind of princess, should sell it.

As Sepp explained it during the workshop, he installed a number of dams and dikes at strategic locations so any rain that would fall, would not simply flush aways but instead, was retained. He did not compact the soil in that case (i remember extremely well because i asked him this question and he answered bluntly that he already had said that 3 times... So engraved in my memory) and this is how he raised the water table.

In the videos on Sepp (b.t.w. you can find more videos on sepp by searching on video.google.com ) he explains in one video that he compacts the soil in order to hold water from running down the very steep mountain he lives on so it provides a water buffer and a microclimated. In another video that focusses specifically on the aqua infrastructure of the Krameterhoff (his farm) he speaks briefly about the irrigation effects of all his 72 ponds together. Making the mountain like a sponge, he says and therefore he does not need to irrigate (except under extreme conditions).

Hope this helps....

Pascal
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Wonder what he did do,? i looked up the words, farm poinds, in google and one of the things i found was that ponds floors get impermeablized to a cetain point by pond silt an clay, maybe thhere is clay in the samd, i wash sand for my pots swilling it around in water an dporing the dirty water off the top the sand stays at the bottom of the bucket and there is a lot of fine clay like sediment in the biulders sand. .
Sand does not usually hold water, He must have done somthing.  agri rose macaskie.
                              


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
Well if you are catching the rain in damns/ponds and want to raise the water table, you would not want the damns/ponds to hold the water but to let it percolate quickly into the ground water table and thus raise the water table so in this case it doesn't matter that much if it's sand and not compacted, you are letting the water catch in these damns in order to keep the water on the property rather than flowing quickly away overground and the it seeps into the ground. 
However, in other situations, you want the ponds to hold water and so you would want them sealed or compacted or whatever is appropriate.  In these more normal ponds, they are going to hold water better and serve to have a pond ecology and create humidity and micro climates. 
They will also serve to very judiciously irrigate the surrounding soil.  They won't provide huge amounts of free water to the surrounding soil but they will irrigate the soil around them in much the same fashion as the terracotta pot.  See as the soil around a clay pond dries out, moisture will move very slowly through the clay to keep the surrounding soil from going bone dry.  Now this effect won't really help irrigate something on top of a high berm near the pond in a direct fashion (plants on top of the berm are going to be dependent on dew and humidity going into the soil from the air for much of their moisture) but it will keep a good area of soil around the pond at a rather consistent moisture level below the surface.

Then there are ponds that might also be connected to swales and overflows and be used for surface irrigation to different parts of a property.

Hopefully this helps explain the ways different types of ponds might assist.


TCLynx
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Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
paul wheaton wrote:
800 centimeters is 8 meters, right?  That would work out to about 24 feet or 288 inches.  Rain forest. 

80 centimeters would work out to about 30 inches - the amount of rain that seattle gets.  My old farm was about 20 inches.  Missoula is about 14 inches.

Is this per annum?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Cyara wrote:
Is this per annum?



Rainfall per year is what I'm used to.

When Sepp was in the US, we seemed to develop a convention of showing a distance between our hands, or from the ground to one hand.  To save on metric conversions.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
new podcast talking about Sepp's ponds and stuff

http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/305-podcast-035-sepp-holzer-film-discussion-2/

duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 375
    
    9


hi Paul,

just a note on the nutritional value of polyculture food. Geoff Lawton also talks about this in one of his videos. he says that its one of the things not normally taken in consideration in feeding people. His view is that people will need a lot less volume of food and therefore polycultures will feed more people. comparing calories, bushels, tonnage/ acres conventional vs polyculture is missing the point.
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Paul and Kelda continue reviewing Sepp Holzer's Permaculture (the book), chapter 1 part 5 in this podcast: podcast

They talk about Sepp's ponds.


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Paul and Anna Birkas discuss natural swimming pools, the DVD and the subject (part 2) in this podcast.

They talk about Sepp's approach to sealing ponds.
John Gros


Joined: Oct 26, 2012
Posts: 13
Hi Rose, I was reading your ponderings about your mountainside with high rainfall that seems barren. I have been watching lots of videos on YT the last few days and have some ideas for you.
First at the highest part of your land planting trees will help hold moisture and slowly release it down the hill. You have high rainfall so the hard part is catching it. I recommend small mini earth works to do so, plus mulching. Plant your tree, then dig a circular hole around the tree about 18 inches / half a metre out. Place the soil on the outside edge of the hole. This should catch the rain that is local to the tree and hold it to infiltrate the soil. Place mulch over the top to stop erosion till everything is established. You can plant support plants around the outside of the hole, and even at the bottom of the hole if they can handle being submerged for a time. It needs no more equipment than a spade. You can spread this forest down the hill as far as you like. Those trees at the top will slowly water the trees down below at times of drought. They might benefit from the odd bucket of water at dry times during the first couple of years.
Best of luck.
For fun watch "The man that planted trees" on YT. I hope it inspires you.
 
 
subject: Sepp Holzer on ponds
 
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