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A Quick Guide To Pond Maintenance

By Paul Smith/user:Romfordian (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

You may recall that I wrote a post for Sow and So back in November about how to dig and build yourself a garden pond. If not, you can read the post here… Well anyway, since summer is approaching (I hope!) I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about maintenance.

Even the most carefully planned, self-sufficient ponds require a little maintenance – unless you’re going for the bog garden look, of course. Here are a few pointers to keep your aquatic haven from turning into a watery hell.

Water, water, everywhere

By brewbooks from near Seattle, USA (Reflection Seike Japanese Garden) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By brewbooks from near Seattle, USA (Reflection Seike Japanese Garden)
When the weather is warm, water levels may sink due to evaporation. However, if it keeps happening at a faster rate than you might expect, it’s worth checking out. The pond’s edges might not be completely level, meaning that the water is overflowing, or there may be a leak due to a hole in the lining. This article offers some other possible explanations, as well as advice on maintaining water quality.

Winter is coming

By Serena from Europe (No swimming today  Uploaded by Caspian blue) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Serena from Europe (No swimming today Uploaded by Caspian blue)
It might be months away, but it’s worth preparing for the colder months in advance. If you’re likely to be away from home for any stretch of time while it’s due to freeze over, you may want to invest in a heated de-icer, which will prevent the pond from freezing over and starving the wildlife inside of oxygen. Keeping your pump running can also help with this – reduce the rate of water to about 50%, though, if possible.

However, if you’ll be at home, you can achieve the same results with a pan of hot water. Simply place the pan on top for a few minutes to melt a hole, which will be plenty big enough for fish and plants to get the oxygen they need.

If your fish seem a little still, don’t panic – they hibernate during the winter months. Also, plants will stop growing until springtime, so don’t panic if it looks like your pond is dying; it isn’t.

Don’t leaf it

By Paul Smith/user:Romfordian (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Paul Smith/user:Romfordian (Own work)
Removing fallen leaves from the surface is especially important during autumn and winter. If you’re yet to dig your pond, a great tip is to avoid placing it underneath a tree, as this could save you countless mornings spent fishing for debris. Probably the most effective method is to use a net. Be careful not to discard any of your fish by mistake, though!

Blanket ban

Removing blanket weed might not be the most fun job, but it’s certainly an essential one. Not only is the algae unsightly, but it’s also extremely damaging for plants and wildlife as it starves your pond of oxygen. Basically, the best method involves grabbing a rake and getting stuck in!

This helpful video talks you through the process, and also explains how to prevent blanket weed from returning.

The key is to be vigilant, look out for any unwanted weeds and act fast before they become established. And of course, when disposing of the plants, do so in a way that reduces the chances of it re-entering your pond, or even the local environment.

In some areas you can get in trouble (or even fined) for unwittingly introducing invasive plants into the local ecosystem, so depending on the plant type it may be necessary to dispose of the plant waste by burning it. The golden rule is to research the specific type of plant and “know your enemy”.

Pro pond tip:
Set up a calendar of jobs to do throughout the year so that you don’t forget anything.

This guest post was written by Ricky Peterson. Ricky works at SwallowAquatics.co.uk and when he’s not at work he loves to spend time in the garden or out and about.
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Introducing Sow and So

A little overdue since I have started blogging already but I would like to tell you what Sow and So is about.

Organic

Sow and So is about gardening, organically of course because if you have ever tasted an organic carrot, strawberry or anything else homegrown you really don’t want to go back to the tasteless supermarket veg and fruits.
I have noticed that with growing your own food you can be more inspiring in the kitchen. Make your own pesto or tomato sauce instead of buying ready made in a package or jar.
Now I know that you need to put some time and effort in growing your own food. Time these days is not something people think they have a lot of. You work all day and the thought of having another hobby next to the ones you already have seems like such a burden.
With this blog I will try to let you see that it is worth it.

2000 Square Meters

First I need to tell you that I am not a garden Guru. I have started growing food in our small backyard in Rotterdam, The Netherlands  3 years ago on 2×2 m2. I made lots of mistakes and still do and I will tell you all about them so you might skip them and make other mistakes…
I now have a plot of land of 2000 m2 ( In Belgium) which I will slowly convert into a profit making vegetable garden, orchard and bee farm. For more information about our transition I would  like to refer to my “about” page.

So what to expect on this blog?

We will tell you all about the season past and the growing season to come.
We will talk about everything from seeds, sowing, growing, harvesting and preserving.
We will write book reviews on the new and old garden books
We will let you know about the newest trends in gardening
We will share our idea’s about using recycled and sustainable materials
We will share our recipe’s and

a lot more….

I say we because there will be guest bloggers.

Guest Bloggers

My friend Bridget Elahcene from Great Britain will tell you all about her backyard garden which produces food but looks amazing as well. She will tell you about keeping chickens and making wine and so much more then that.

Next to Bridget we will probably have more guest bloggers, you just have to come back to Sow and So and see.

My goal is to have an interactive blog, where readers can leave comments, questions and exchange idea’s.

Sow let’s get started!