Simple Agricultural Well
When we leased property in Grand Blanc, we met the challenge of accessing water
without electricity or a well. When Jacob updated his grandfather on the farm’s
happenings and some of the issues we were facing, grandpa delved into his agricultural
past to share valuable cultural knowledge that affordably eased the stress of our obstacle.
If you are fortunate enough to sit with Grandpa and listen to the slow draw of history
flood out his mouth, a colorful, lively picture of life in rural Fulton County, Ohio from
his and his father’s days of youth are fully illustrated. The knowledge grandpa shares is
invaluable to ourselves and to our culture as many are realizing that what we consider to be progress has been damaging our soul and bodies in direct and indirect ways.
But back to the agricultural well part…Grandpa said it was common for a shallow hole to
be dug roughly 15’ x 15’ and as deep as one had the energy to go. A few inches of gravel
and a horizontal pipe with a well point lay down at its bottom. Then more gravel was
poured on top. The gravel lets the water flow to the point but filters out well plugging
sediment. The rest of the hole is filled with soil along with a vertical pipe to connect to a
pump. We enacted the oral history and succeeded in making an inexpensive, shallow well
for our watering needs throughout most of our first year of growing.
With the pond being dug and an excavator on the property, we took advantage of the
situation. The excavator made short work of the hole, a good 11 feet down, 15 feet long
and six feet wide. Using our tractor loader we surrounded a 7’ 3” well point with 24 tons
of pea gravel, delivered from the local gravel pit. We also laid a four inch sock covered
drain tile down into the gravel. This tile connects to the drainage ditches surrounding the
fields bringing water directly to the well while draining the fields so we can plant earlier
If all went well, there should be adequate water for any irrigation needs in the early
spring including high tunnels, seedlings in the propagation high tunnel and early field
crops. As summer’s heat dries the land, we will fall back on the pond as our main source
of irrigation water.