5 Reasons To Add Ponds To Your Homestead

Ponds. They’re mosquito-ridden little green pools of algae-infested slopwater… if managed poorly. But even if they ARE managed poorly, they’re still an asset for the thoughtful prepper.

I have three old hot tubs that serve as small ponds on my homestead. I’ve also got a couple of little in-ground ponds, one which uses a liner… and one that’s just a pre-made form. For water plants I also use plastic kiddie pools.

When ponds are managed well, they’re a highly productive asset. How so?

Let’s take a look at 5 reasons to add a pond to your homestead (or bug-out location).

1. Water Storage

HotTubPond

A brand-new hot tub “pond” waiting for more plants.

This is the big reason many survivalists install a pond. Having an extra source of water in an emergency is a lifesaver. You can go without food for a while… but water? for the sake of people, crops and animals, having a pond makes sense – and it’s more attractive than great big storage containers.

Obviously, drinking directly from a pond is a bad idea unless you’re a duck, but with a water filter, it could save your life.

Putting your pond towards the high ground of your property had advantages if you need to use it for irrigation, though placing it lower allows you to catch runoff easier. If you choose the latter route, make sure to keep some good buckets handy. You’re going to need them if the grid goes down.

2. Pest Control

“But ponds BRING pests!” you might think. “Mosquitoes!”

That’s true, unless you’re willing to spend a dollar or two to rid your pond of mosquitoes. Go – read that link.

If you live far enough north that your pond freezes, you’ll need to make different plans… but down here, I have no problem keeping the mosquitoes out year-round.

Mosquito larva aside, ponds are where dragonflies and damselflies, both voracious insect-eating species, lay their eggs. They’re also where frogs, toads and salamanders will breed. If you can get more of these helpful creatures on your property, you’ll have less insect issues. You might even consider putting a small pond right in your garden area. Just be aware… frogs love to sing away the evenings.

3. Food production

KiddiePoolWaterChestnut

Newly planted water chestnuts in a kiddie pool. By fall, there will be a nice big bucket of roots beneath the muck. No-work carbohydrates!

This is something that really excites me, since water gardening is an under-researched topic with incredible potential. Many of us gardeners have done hours and hours of research into the best methods of watering and how to grow crops with little or no irrigation. With a pond… you don’t have to water. Not unless rainfall is low and the pond starts drying out. Plants will grow like you wouldn’t believe – and there are a wide variety of tasty water plants to choose from. Watercress, kang kong, water chestnuts, water lotus, taro, duck potatoes, cattails… there are a lot of wonderful and highly productive aquatic plants. Once you start growing and eating them, you’ll never look back.

Beyond plants, there’s also the tantalizing world of tilapia and catfish. That takes some extra work and infrastructure, but the yields I’ve read about are impressive. You can even raise edible water snails if you don’t mind, well, eating snails. If you do, they can always be fed to chickens… as can many water plants we might not find palatable.

4. Free Fertilizer

This is an interesting realm to research. Some water plants, such as duckweed, azolla and water hyacinth, are incredibly proficient producers of biomass that can be used as compost fodder or even skimmed and added directly to garden beds.

The Japanese use the nitrogen-fixing ability of azolla to positive benefit by flooding their rice paddies, letting azolla grow, then draining it so the tiny plants rot on the surface and feed the crop.

I have a brillant friend that lives near me who keeps multiple ponds filled with duckweed and azolla that he skims regularly to use as fertilizer. Check out a video here.

I’ve started doing the same at my homestead and I’m really impressed by the amount of growth I get every week, especially from the azolla. Nitrogen-fixing plants are an amazing resource… especially ones you never have to water.

5. Inner Peace

DixieIris2

Dixie irises. Not edible, but good for the soul.

Beyond the requirements of survival, having water on your property is a thing of beauty. Even if it didn’t serve any purpose beyond that, there’s still a value in creating something lovely. I’m often a brutal utilitarian… but I have to admit, my ponds bring me more than just sources of water, pest control, fertilizer and food. They’re active ecosystems that bring in a wide variety of interesting creatures… they reflect the blue skies above… and they simply provide a peaceful oasis in uncertain times.

Ponds can range from a multi-acre waterwork crafted by bulldozers… down to a half-barrel on a patio.

If you don’t have a pond yet, why not?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to dig a few more.

About David The Good

David The Good is a naturalist, author and hard-core gardener who has grown his own food since 1984. At age five, he sprouted a bean in a Dixie cup of soil and caught the gardening bug. Soon after, his dad built an 8’ by 8’ plot for him and David hasn’t stopped growing since. David is the author of four books, writes a regular column for The Ag Mag in North Central Florida, is a Mother Earth News blogger and has also written for outlets including Backwoods Home, Survival Blog and Self-Reliance Magazine. You can find his books on Amazon here. David is a Christian, an artist, a husband, a father of seven, a cigar-smoker and an unrepentant economics junkie who now lives somewhere near the equator on a productive cocoa farm. Visit his daily gardening and survival blog here: The Survival Gardener And for lots more gardening info, click here and subscribe to his often hilarious YouTube channel.

View all posts by David The Good

6 Responses to “5 Reasons To Add Ponds To Your Homestead”

  1. Wayne Johnson Says:

    I’m in process of completing a pond on my urban property. I’m feeding the pond with rain water from my house, and because of this, I got a Storm Water Management Grant from my city, who will be paying for half of my project! This is way cool, and something other ‘pond people’ should investigate. I got really tired of gathering information about ponds over the years—and suddenly decided last fall to Just Do It. With a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a few hoses, I found loads of free exercise and real joy knowing that my pond will someday be a reality. JUST DO IT…..

    Reply

  2. FLAPrepper1 Says:

    Good article.
    I have a 22′ x 18′ pond in my backyard for the past 8 years. It’s home to 4 Koi. They’re about 3 foot long. I can easily add Tilapia to the pond for SHTF reasons.

    Reply

  3. Ron Says:

    I’ve tried to create a pond on my farm multiple times but haven’t done so well. Do you know of a good strategy to seal a natural clay bottom well?

    Reply

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