Question about poor drainage

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Spidermonkey, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm currently attempting to build a productive Veggie garden. I have recently had a number of trees removed and I am putting in paths and garden beds. I had an issue with my paths that is the subject of another thread and I am working to fix it.

    But there is another corner of my garden that is bothering me. After a few days of rain the clay soil turns to porrige and if you step into it you sink about 50cm. When the weather is dry the ground bakes quite hard. My garden has a slight downward slope and the problem area is at the bottom of the slope in a corner with a fence on one side and a concrete slab for a car port on the other so running drain pipes will be difficult. Is there a way to repair the ground or use it to my advantage? I will try and get some photos of the area this week and post them up.
     
  2. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Mulch it very heavily, plant bananas, comfrey, asparagus? What's your locality?
     
  3. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi S.O.P,

    I'm in Springwood which is about 20 mins South of Brisbane Australia.
     
  4. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Build it up so it can drain
     
  5. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    OK, subtropical it is. From your description, actually getting the water out of there is hard? Not that you would want to, try and hold it on your property as long as possible, of course.

    Question is, can you reduce the amount of water that reaches there by spreading it across into other areas of the yard first? Why does it go hard? No mulch? The water drains away after a while? Are bananas (water-loving) something that would fit in that area and your garden plan (height, orientation etc.)? What about a pond in that area, surrounded by native water-loving plants for a bit of frog/slug control?
     
  6. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Is there an option to catch some of the water higher up the slope? A swale?

    Comfrey sounds like a good option
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Dig it out and turn it into a pond?
     
  8. mluthi69

    mluthi69 Junior Member

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    I'd dig it out and make it a pond. Seems counter-intuitive as your objective is to have a productive veggie garden. A pond can provide you with a number of benefits:

    - predators habitat hunting pest in your veggie garden (frogs, dragon flies, wasps for drinking water)
    - pollination (bees for drinking water)
    - likely more yield than from the same area in veggie garden
    - it's nice to look at if you do it right

    "Where there is water, there is life" - and Cane toads :)

    There are many options to grow food in a small pond. Gold fish could take care of the mozzie larvae as they appear. I've heard water chestnuts are one of the highest yielding plants on this planet. You can get them at greenharvest.com.au. Other options are Taro, Watercress, Canna (ArrowRoot) and there are many more. I think Waterchestnuts, Watercress and Taro are probably the least exotic and therefore there is a change you'd actually eat them regularily. You can seal a small pond trampling around (barefot?) in a muddy slush. Or just use a plastic membrane. Azolla may be another good idea, it's a nitrogen fixing floating fern. It grows quickly and you could scoop some of it up once in a while and use it as fertiliser mulch on your garden beeds.

    I like S.O.P.s suggestions - Banana does love it around muddy ponds but I'd still dig a hole and fill it with anything organic. I had amazing banana growth after doing just that in the GC hinterland. Not sure about Asparagus though, their favorite places are sandy river flats. I had very slow growth in clayey soil. Comfrey will grow there - actually it grows almost anywhere. I have heaps but tend to just use it for mulch and give some to the chickens. You can't really get rid of comfrey once you planted it unless you have a pig.
     
  9. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    might depend on how the water ends up there? does it gather because you are the lowest point for the area, is it ground water rising after heavy rain a(the sub-aquafa should be quiet full of late), so some observation might help you with an answer. if it is run off you can do things to redirect the run off ie.,. channel, ag-drain. yu could drain the area if there is somewhere lower for it to go. you might be on a natural water easement not much can be done except some of the above.

    yes a pond to attract frogs but that will bring in the cane toads, and if they are heavily controlled they will take over, people fing it squeemish to deal with them, but capture of an evening or anytime through the night when you hear the male calling, then bag them and freeze them and next day bury them in the garden for fertiliser.

    apart from banana trees which can then bring in the fruit bats, if the corner gets good sun why not raised beds? say about 18"s high. also a simple fix is just add top soil to raise the yard level.

    len
     
  10. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Thank you for your ideas. Here is a picture of the area. I would have had it posted sooner but I had problems getting it off the phone. This is after three days of rain, but when the wether is dry it will set really hard. The drain in the corner is for clean rainwater and is fed to a tank for my chickens and aquaponics system. The area is marked out with star pickets as my original plan was to extend the chook run so I could seperate birds from time to time. I dont think that I could give them this area now. If it stayed wet I would find some productive mud loving plants. I can only build the area up a few cm below the slab, but as you guys suggest I could either:

    Sink the area and put in a pond
    Dig in mulch - cane mulch or lucerne
    Put gravel down (One of my thoughts but I'm not happy with it)

    The problem with drains is I have nowhere to run them to. What do you guys think would be the best way to go?
     

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  11. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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  12. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    This is an interesting idea. I wish I hadnt sent all of that tree waste to the tip now. I have a small pile of organic matter that I was saving for a compost heap. It is some straw, grass clippings ect and I have a bale of hay. I may dig that in to start with. I will save wood in future as this looks like a great solution. I have heaps of Lemon Grass growing at the front of the house I wonder if I could get it to grow there when I dries out a little? It would be a great source of green compost material, provide some greens for the chooks and may take up some of the water as well as being a good hideing place for reptiles and toads (Cane Toads are the only Anphibian I have seen in my garden).
     
  13. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    the frogs will be in very much depleted numbers due to the cane toad, in one place we lived we were fortunate enough to be able to hold sway of the amphibians water holes and over a few years cut toad numbers down so much so frog species we did not realise that were there all came back, with a little extra help. human intervention goes a long way to controlling the bufo's.

    len
     
  14. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    What were your favourite techniques? Anything other than just finding them or removing their spawn?
     
  15. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    not really favourite techniques just something i felt i needed to do, to get rid of a scientifically introduced pest now populating kakadu. so when it rained was most productive the males would call and we'd go out with a fish landing net catch them put them into a shopping bag, if i had to i would pick them up by hand. once in the bag they went into the freezer until frozen then into the garden as fertiliser, would also use an aquarium net to scoop the toadpoles and give them their day in the sun, finding eggs was a bit harder. but if i heard a male toad in the wee hours i would go out and catch him and of course any females near by. can hear them now in peoples dams, when we had a dam we encouraged tall grass growth around teh edge of teh dam they found it hard to get through the natural barrier, and also we had water holes as well as the dam, so i imagined that there was not enough aquatic life in the dam so did some netting and somehow introduced something into the dam that completely controlled their breeding so nature did the job.

    but the only way they will ever be controlled if people get involved forget their squeamishness and go out and catch them every night if need be, don't leave it up to science they can't be trusted, and if people got involved decades agao they now would not be in the kakadu.

    it was good to have all the frogs back can't say exactly all but a good variety and no toads in suburbia.

    len
     
  16. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    I'm with you Len. Do the toad patrol quite regularly and have cut the numbers down around here. But they are sneaky. Yesterday found one behind a staghorn in a tiny rock crack. Couldn't get it out.

    On a brighter note, after the last lot of rain a couple of weeks back, I had a heap of frog eggs in my disused swimming pool. I have to get the toads out everyday. There were thousands of tadpoles until a couple of black pacific ducks got in there and ate a great number of them. Last week I was in the pool catching eastern sedgefrog froglets and relocating them to the sweet potato patch that has a small bowl of water in the middle. There are still tadpoles in there that are HUGE!! Hoping they turn into green tree frogs.

    I also just pull out any toad eggs that I find.
     
  17. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yes annette,

    i even had permission to jump neighbours fence if they had pond or ponding water.

    hidy places can be made like bits of wall sheeting dark under, pieces of poly pipe painted dark one end blocked this will catch snails as well.

    len
     

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