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Bridging the Gap at Grey Dog Maple Farm

Welcome back to Grey Dog Maple Farm. It’s been awhile but we’ve been busy hatching our own chicks; changing jobs, gardening, planting food plots, picking berries for jam, and preparing for the coming syrup season. One of the most recent improvements towards the syrup side of the farm is what I’ll be sharing today, how to install a culvert.

I wanted to add another access drive from the main road to the syrup shack. That meant cutting a path through the woods as well as finding a way to get over an old ditch that hadn’t been used for anything in a long time. Building a bridge was too costly and time consuming so I used a culvert instead.

I’m frugal but if it’s a good deal, I will also buy things that I can use way in advance of ever needing them. A few years ago I had seen an ad for culvert. At the time I didn’t need it, but the price was too good and I knew that I would eventually use it. If you have time, you can almost always find what you need for less with a little research.

To start, you need to dig out the ditch. You want the bottom of the culvert to sit just below the natural flow of water. Since water travels the easiest path, this will ensure your culvert does its job. I did this with the help of my tractor. One issue that you may run into, and I did with this one, is that your equipment may not reach the depth you need. You can solve this problem by first digging out the dirt where your equipment is sitting, thereby lowering your equipment to where it can reach. Just put that dirt back when you’re done.

Once you have your ditch dug out, roll the culvert in and make sure the bottom is below the natural flow of water. After you verified that, you can begin backfilling your ditch. Powered equipment makes this easier, but it can all be done with a shovel and wheelbarrow too. This particular project had one side starting out much higher than the other so I had to move dirt on both sides to fill it back in.

After your ditch is filled in and the culvert is covered, you need to add some hard fill around the ends of the culvert to make sure the dirt doesn’t wash out. I used what I had which was some hardened mortar bags and some broken limestone sills that I got for free from a local masonry supply company a few years ago. They were throwing them out because it was junk to them, but it was a good deal for me. Remember, be frugal but also think ahead.

Once the ends are completed, it’s good to drive over it until the dirt is packed down. This will also help prevent dirt from washing away until you can seed it or add actual driveway material. Because it will be some time before I put any driveway material on this, I spread grass seed over it for now.

And that’s how you install a culvert. I did this job by myself and it only took a total of five hours with the help of my tractor. If you’re installing a culvert or have any other farm projects, we’d love to see pictures. You can send those to us through our contact link. And now that things have leveled off, stay tuned for more blogs and be sure to give this one a like.

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