Sunday, April 11, 2010
Pond Cleaning Day
Yesterday, Jim gave the pond a light spring cleaning. The goal was to eliminate the decomposed plant material and fish waste that causes poor water quality. This was also an opportunity to give a few fish to a friend with a larger pond; too many large fish in our pond was causing concerns about water quality and overall fish health.
The first step was to remove the water from the pond. Jim hooked up a large, flexible pipe to a submersible pump and filled the blue tank, which would become the temporary fish home.Here comes 'Lucky"! The rest of the water was released into the gardens. The best fertilizer ever!
Once the pond was empty, it was time to bring out the industrial-strength shop vac. Out comes the black, stinky, anarobic goo! This was promptly deposited into the compost bins and throughout the garden beds---truly, black gold.
(Notice that most of our water plants sit on a shelf that rims the perimeter of the pool. Technically, this would be considered too shallow for water lilies, but ours thrive.) At this point, a blast of water from a high-pressure hose nozzle works well to loosen off a bit more crud from the boulders, pots, and pond walls (concrete, in our case). You can also employ a stiff-bristle brush if you want to, but, hey, no need to go crazy. A bit of algae and bacteria are a good thing!
The most time consuming part of this whole process? Refilling the pond! We use non-potable water from a small well on our property. The water is somewhat alkaline and we don't use any corrective treatment for it, but the plants and fish thrive anyway. (I'm convinced that most pond/fish care literature is way too fussy!)
As you can see, our hardy water lilies are starting to emerge and are packed into their pots. Stay tuned for Water Lily Dividing Day, coming soon!