Using Pond Muck In Raised Beds

jmh8098(5)April 1, 2010

I have a natrual pond in my backyard that is choked with silt and muck. I'm pretty sure I can pump a slurry of this muck with a trash pump up to an area in my yard where my raised beds are. One of the greatest challenges is getting enough good organic material in a large enough quantity to fill my beds. Often times I'm forced to use compost that isn't quite ready and halfway through the summer when it's finally decomposed and settled they are about half full. I'm putting in two more beds this year and this is what I'm thinking about doing. Once the bed is constructed I'd line it with landscaping fabric or burlap, I would prefer the burlap since it would eventually rot or some other biodegradeable fabric(any ideas here?)

Then I would pump the slurry with the silt into the bed and let the water drain over and over also at the same time mixing in some peat, possibly sand for drainage (would I need this?) and mature compost until the bed is full. Does this sound like a good idea? Would this silt not be perfect by itself. Common sense would say it would since the most fertile tills are floodplains. Has anybody done anything like this? Or am I all wet? (no pun intented)

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david52 Zone 6

I've done it. But I used a 2" dia outlet, 8000 gal / minute submersible pump with some kind of hard rubber impeller and inlet screen, and even then the thing would clog up if you tried to pump too much muck/water ratio. So I'd recommend setting the thing up so the outlet is near your raised beds but outside of them, set the pump up so its about an inch off the much, and leisurely stir it up - up goes the water, spills out on the lawn or something, and the water runs off and leaves the muck. If its a small pond, you could rig it up so the pumped water runs back into the pond.

Dry it out a bit and shovel into the beds.

I have a similar pond now, and with a little luck here soon, it will dry out completely before the irrigation season starts in mid-April. When its dry, I scrape off the top 2 inches and wheel-barrow it up to my raised beds.

The stuff is magic. You won't need any further feeding for the first year, maybe a bit of compost the 2nd, and for sure the 3rd. Or just add more pond soil :)

I keep dreaming of getting that same big pump rig again and putting that pond sludge about 1" deep all over my lawn, flower beds, vegetable beds, etc.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 9:01PM
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I've been netting out the muck from my pond for the last few days. I didn't have that much this year, but what I did have, I put directly onto the lawn, from the net. Some of the first nets full, I put directly into the compost bin. Which by the way is a newly started batch and today it hit a little over 90 degrees in the compost bin.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 9:47PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

The stuff works wonders for your lawn too ;-)


    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 7:31PM
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I have a question about natural ponds. Do you guys live in the country and have true ponds, or are you in the suburbs and have a natural small backyard pond? The reason I'm asking is that I am interested in putting a small pond in my backyard, but I do not want a plastic liner / pump system. I was thinking more along the lines of an English Dew Pond (a clay-lined hole in the ground). I was just curious if anyone has done this on a small backyard scale. I will not have fish, but we do have some toads in my yard and I think it was a frog who jumped out of a water-logged bucket at me last year. I have a ton of clay and I'll use water plants and barley straw to clean it and then compost the muck. It would be filled with rainwater, not tap. I do not want a pump because they use too much electricty and the solar ones do not work. However, I could buy a small electric pump and aerate the water for a few hours every week or so (also to avoid mosquitos). I hate plastic liners because they are icky (algae loves plastic), and clay will slowly allow the water out of the bottom, so the water will not go completely stale. Also, if it doesn't work out I can just turn it into a flower bed.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 1:00AM
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We have a company here that is dredging the bottom of one of the lakes of the "muck", primarily tree leaves and other forms of organic matter that have accumulated on the bottom of that lake, mixing that with sand and then selling is as "topsoil". I doubt that much of what you would have would be silt, a mineral material, but suspect that it would most likely be partially digested organic matter, whihc could wel be used in a garden bed. Check the pH of that after adding to your soil just in case since vegetative waste anaerobically digested can be acidic.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:05AM
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