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Water harvesting methods Over the swales, among the legumes, other edible greens can also be seeded. Legume trees like acacia, judas, ailanthus are planted to naturally fertilize the soil and then fruit trees, berries, etc. can also be introduced to start a ‘food forest’. Rain and snow water can be collected in small ponds. Above is our small pond in May. Steps in making the pond: the excavator digs wide swales in the land. The bottom of the pond is compacted with the excavator tires. Fresh cow manure and mud are mixed to start forming the 'glay' which will eventually seal the pond and will not water seep underground. Fresh cow manure and mud are mixed to start forming the 'glay' which will eventually seal the pond and will not water seep underground. After the cow manure and mud are laid, these are covered with cardboard/newspaper to keep the bottom moist. Then the rains will fill the pond and in anaerobic medium, the glay will start forming. As a sealant, 'bentonite' can also be used. Above photo shows the preparation of our 300 m3 pond with the mini skid steer loader machine. The small pools at the bottom of the photo are the filter beds that gray water is filtered. All the rain water from all the building rooftops are collected in pipes and taken to this pond. Above photo: in early spring our pond has water but beneath our top soil we do not have clay layers - just easily breakable rock formations and this causes  fast water seepage. Thus our ponds dried up in the beginning of summer. 
Above photo: in early spring our pond has water but beneath our top soil we do not have clay layers - just easily breakable rock formations and this causes  fast water seepage. Thus our ponds dried up in the beginning of summer. In permaculture small mistakes are acceptable. Lessons can be learned and better solutions found. Observation and experience lead to more effective and lasting solutions. <h> Belentepe Royalty: 'Plant Pond' Design:</h>
<p>Permaculture forces people to identify the problem, ask the right questions and to find the most beneficial solutions.
</p>
      <p>Problem:</p>
      <ul>
        <li>We can not hold water in the ponds.</li>
        <li>These pits are of no use like this .</li>
        <li>How can I benefit from these?</li>
      </ul>
    <p>Solution: Plant Pond, here is the design: </p>
  
  First of all the pond bottom should be sealed. First we lay old carpets, cardboards on the bottom on top of the carpets, the epdm membrane is laid for water impermeability. The epdm membrane is safe for human health, elastic and quite durable. The bottom carpet layer provides protection against rock edges cutting through the membrane. The pond depth is 90 cm but epdm membrane depth is 50 cm. On the membrane we again lay cardboards. These will protect the membrane against puncture from the branches that we will later put on top. Then the pond is filled with branches, leaves, grass... these in time will rot and turn into fertilizer for the soil and help sustain the pond's fertility for a long time.  In may there is plenty of grass on the land. Wood + grass + animal manure = compost underneath the soil. On top of the grass, animal manure, top soil from the excavation and silt from the nearby river are laid. The epdm membrane is not seen anymore - this is intentional. On bottom 50 cm, the membrane will hold the water, but on top of this, there needs to be aerated soil so that plant roots can develop. On bottom, all materials inside the collected water will decompose and this rich juice will continue feeding the plants for a long time. The plant pond is ready for seeding, planting. wood pieces are used as stepping stones - no stepping with the feet on other places in the pond - no compacting of the soil.  Plants growing in the plant pond (spinach, rukola, lettuce...) zucchini on the sides... >Wormwood plant with its distict smell keeps insects away.In june when summer temperatures climb we cover the plant ponds with sunshades The shades block 50% of sunlight. Plants grow better during summer in this partial shady area.</p>
    <p>It takes some effort & money to build this plant pond and it is a long term investment and will continue producing for many years. Our 200 m2 base, 300 ton water holding pond: Since we can not hold water naturally, we laid down epdm membrane here too. On sides of the pond, the membrane has to be secured underneath the soil against wind. Securing the membrane. Another issue is protecting the membrane against sun rays. For this we are laying netting and spraying it with concrete to obtain a sturdy top protection layer. Another issue is protecting the membrane against sun rays. For this we are laying netting and spraying it with concrete to obtain a sturdy top protection layer. After some work around the pond: September 2014: the pond is full and our rainy season has not even started. So now we are water rich. And we can build new ponds to hold more, excess water. Of couse, having numerous ponds on the landscape increases options, fertility  because it generates micro climates. September 2014: the pond is full and our rainy season has not even started. So now we are water rich. And we can build new ponds to hold more, excess water. Of couse, having numerous ponds on the landscape increases options, fertility  because it generates micro climates. <h2> Underground water storages</h2>
 
 We also built underground water storages for our use and also for irrigation. This depot will hold 40 tons of water for our use On top of this depot we constructed our wood dome. This is our recreational area during activities and at other times, plant seed harvesting area. Collecting roof water and filtering During initial rain all kinds of debris would be carried with water to the pipes from the roof. In order to get rid of this initial dirty water, the easiest method is to use T- connector, add another pipe with a tap on its end - the initial water will fill into this with the debris and then cleaner water will flow to the other pipe. Then the roof water will pass through the filter bin. Water harvesting is not easy - requires time, effort & money. Sometimes mistakes are made but learning from them would lead to excess of water eventually.
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One of the first things that need to be done on the land is water works. Holding as much water as possible, that falls on the land, is the goal. And we can capture upto 85% of the water this way.



One of the first things that need to be done on the land is water works. Holding as much water as possible, that falls on the land, is the goal. And we can capture upto 85% of the water this way.

Ways to Capture Water:

  • By opening deep holes in the soil with a plow.
  • With swales,
  • With water tanks, ponds, dams
  • By increasing the soil's organic content.

In the beginning, we had no water resources on the land. We would carry water in tanks from a 1 km distance. Thus we did not have enough water to do sensible farming. So our initial goal was to harvest water.

Building Swales:

We constructed swales on contour on our sloping land. The swales hold the running water and help penetrate in the soil. If there are wood resources, the wood can be put underneath the swales for additional benefits (hugelkultur). The swales can also be the beginning of a food forest where many layers of plants grow together and benefit from each other.




 
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