[permaculture] Drainage

John D'hondt dhondt at eircom.net
Tue Jan 3 13:40:22 EST 2012


I think you are so right Dieter. I would just like to add here that we use 
moldy hay and silage and wet straw to create pathways so that you don't 
loose your wellies by every step you take. It only takes 2-3 inches of 
fibery hay or silage to keep from sinking in. When we do this things will 
eventually come right again in summer. It also creates great dry shelter for 
earthwortms that would otherwise drown.
john

> Steve,
>
> I understand that the water needs to go somewhere, especially when you are 
> on level land that is flooded all around you.  In that case, there is no 
> alternative to digging trenches.  But that is not the case here; we live 
> on a hillside property with very little level land.  One of our fields 
> that can be water logged for months is at an incline of 5 to 10 %.  It 
> shouldn’t get water logged because the water could easily run off.  Yet, 
> the field is badly eroded and SOM is low because of tilling by the 
> previous owner.  This to me is a very clear demonstration of just how 
> important SOM is for drainage.
>
> Dieter
>
>
> --- On Tue, 1/3/12, Steve Bonney <steve at sustainableearth.net> wrote:
>
>> From: Steve Bonney <steve at sustainableearth.net>
>> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Drainage
>> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Date: Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 3:27 AM
>> I agree about SOM to increase
>> drainage, and also the importance of
>> earthworms to drainage. However, water has to have a
>> place to go. My
>> farm receives an average annual rainfall of 46 inches and
>> even in dry
>> periods, water does not percolate, even through the A
>> horizon which has
>> about 2.5 % SOM. My apple trees are on 18" berms, and when
>> I dug holes
>> for more tree planting in early December, water stood in
>> the holes at
>> the old surface level upon which I built the berms Standing
>> water
>> generates anaerobic conditions. So it is a chicken and egg
>> situation. In
>> order to foster the proper biological activity, the soil
>> must have air
>> in order to build SOM.
>>
>> I am the product of a PhD program in soils at a land grant
>> (agricultural
>> and mechanical) university, and have always opposed the
>> quick fixes of
>> industrial agriculture -- drainage is one of those.
>> However, in the
>> industrial paradigm, drainage systems are implemented to
>> work the land
>> during wet periods and to increase yields -- with little or
>> no regard
>> for increasing SOM. I know it seems anthropocentric to
>> start moving soil
>> around -- Wendall Berry advises against it -- and I view my
>> farm as a
>> managed ecosystem, but there seems to be no other options
>> for lowering
>> the water table. And I am retaining the water on the farm
>> to grow plants
>> and fish, so it doesn't seem to be a blatant violation of
>> holistic
>> principles.
>>
>> Steve
>> Field and Forest Eco-farm
>> Indiana USA
>>
>>
>>
>> On 1/2/2012 5:56 AM, Dieter Brand wrote:
>> >> Will those with experiences of soil drainage in
>> wet
>> >> climates please share those experiences,
>> observations and
>> >> advice.
>> > Steve,
>> >
>> > I’m in a semi-arid climate. If we do get rain,
>> it is usually between November and April. In a wet
>> year, some of my fields are water logged for almost 5
>> months. In the beginning, I dug some drain channels
>> and even buried drain pipes and gravel. I will not do
>> that again. The effect was minimal. I have very
>> heavy clay soil with little OM. That is the reason the
>> soil gets water logged. The only way to remedy the
>> problem is by increasing SOM – at least in may case.
>> It takes time, but it is the only sustainable way. A
>> clay soil rich in humus can absorb huge amounts of water
>> without getting water logged. It also has good
>> drainage.
>> >
>> > Dieter
>> >
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>>
>>
>> -- 
>> Steve Bonney
>> Sustainable Earth
>> a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership organization
>> to promote sustainable farming and food systems
>>
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