Letter Re: Constructing Farm Ponds

Hail from Kentucky. I just wanted to add my two cents and maybe some advice to anyone thinking about building a pond to help support their retreat. I just want to say that I am not an expert, just learned a thing or two from the school of hard knocks, and would love to hear the feed back and thoughts of other SurvivalBloggers.

I saw a post by a lady a week or so ago that mentioned she wanted to have a pond dug on her five acre plot but she stated that the water table is 12 feet in her area so the pond would have to be pretty deep, this is what sparked my thinking. If you’re having a new pond dug keep a few things in mind while planning. If you already have one I recommend a good cleaning and re-stocking.

  1. Of course: location, location, location. I’ll refer to this farther down.
  2. What are your reasons for digging this pond? What purpose will it serve and how will it help you and your fellow retreaters?
  3. What is your soil type? Will it support a pond? How deep is your bedrock?
  4. What can you do before your pond has water to support it?
  5. When choosing a location for your pond will it hinder your security in any way? Will it help? Remember principle number 1: People will walk around water before walking through it.

Could you put it in a place that allows rain water to drain into it to keep it filled and oxygenated, but is higher than your home? I’ve seen a filtered gravity-fed water system supply a cistern for various uses; garden irrigation, gray water uses such as bathing or washing clothes, you could even treat it in the cistern for drinking, but with the high bacteria count I wouldn’t drink it without treatment.

I had my pond stocked with channel catfish and panfish. Channel catfish thrive in a farm pond as they don’t need the high oxygen contents other species do. I contacted my local farm store and they directed me to a fish wholesaler who in turn made a time to come out and pump my order directly into my pond. The fish are hatchlings when you get them, so they aren’t contaminated with the diseases and parasites the ones you catch in rivers and streams could be. So you have farm raised catfish which in 3 to 5 years reach 1-4 pounds and are very tasty, also the panfish, such as blue gill and Pumpkin Seed Hybrids do very well in the same pond, they provide a steady supply of food for your cats. Plus, the ones that survive and grow large enough to eat are tasty as well. They are fast reproducers so once they are in there you will always have plenty. (Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have a pond dug in the fall, then let the winter fill it, and give it all of spring and into summer before introducing fish, thus allowing the new environment to develop, flora and healthy bacteria.)

Our soil type here is a rich silty dark earth that drains rainfall very well but has just enough clay to allow a pond to form a nice bowl. Our problem is that we live in a limestone rich area and the first layer of bedrock is at 5 or 6 feet. Some contractors truck in clay to help build your bowl. If your contractor doesn’t know what he is doing and the pond is dug improperly your pond will leak and you won’t be able to do anything about it. You’ll notice the water level going down and find a wet spot 100 yards or so below your pond as the water follows the bedrock. I also recommend your levy be built with a keyway type levy, this is another topic for another day, but there is more to a levy than just building a wall of dirt to hold back water. Don’t hire just anyone with earth moving equipment, check them out by their references.

When prepping your pond before it starts to fill, keep in mind that fish like small places to hide so leave some debris in there, I’ve heard of people throwing cinder blocks, tree tops, almost anything you can think of just remember you will be fishing at some point and those hooks catch more than fish. This is also the time to install your gravity feed for your needs. Build a dock, or any other cosmetic thing you want to add that may be difficult while full of water.

On a final note. In a TEOTWAWKI situation you will want make sure that you pond is deep enough to last. It will fill up over the course of time with dirt contained in run off, and there probably won’t be many people around to clean it out. Like I stated earlier I am no expert and would love feedback from you or any one your readers, Thank you for you time, your books, and your dedication to others who are awake enough to try preserve what our founders gave us but is dying before our eyes. I’m looking forward to the next book release, The Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise. – Gary in Kentucky