Winter Pond Management

One of the biggest problems in the Autumn and Winter is when leaves begin to fall from the trees above. If these leaves get in the pond and decay it will throw off the ecological balance of the pond. Remove by using a net to skim the leaves off the surface of the pond.

FISH

As the water temperature falls we should be feeding our fish less as their metabolism slows down. Once the temperature drops below 10 degrees C you should stop feeding altogether. Cold-water fish such as Goldfish and Koi cannot digest food properly below these temperatures. They will happily munch on algae and other natural foods if the water does warm up occasionally.

Do not allow your pond to completely freeze over, make sure you have a small area free from ice, as organics decompose in the pond they can produce toxic gases that can become trapped in the pond if it is covered by ice for more than a few days. Defrost a small area using warm water.

PLANTS

As plants are starting to die back, any dead and dying leaves should be removed,
place plants deep enough in the pond to keep the roots from freezing.

PUMPS & FILTERS

It is advantageous to keep your pump and filter running through the winter. The bacteria in your biological filter will not be active at low temperatures but it will remain alive as long as you keep it supplied with oxygenated water. When spring arrives and the water temperatures begin to rise the bacteria can start to work immediately keeping the water quality healthy for your fish and helping to control the algae.

Pond Feeding Guide

Many, many people only buy one kind of fish food and feed that to their fish all year round. However, this is not necessarily the best option for the fish or your pocket. Pond fish extract different nutrients from their food at a different temperature. In the case of protein the uptake of this nutrient is limited during the cooler months and much higher during the hot summer temperatures. Foods have now been developed with this in mind and Wheatgerm foods which are low in protein but more easily digested, have been developed for Autumn, Winter and Spring feeding; whilst growth foods, which are high in protein are available for summer months. Below is a rough guide of what to feed and when.

You should only feed your fish enough food to allow them to feed for five minutes. Any more will be wasted and end up as waste in the pond. If a fish is fed until it is full, 30% of fish food will come straight out as waste. The five minute feed can be given four or five times a day, at regular times during the day in the summer months.

Best garden watering systems for your home

We are going to take a look at the best garden watering systems for your home and Property. We’re going to look at the best ways to water the plants in the summer and even the winter. No two garden watering system are the same, and there are many cases where it makes sense to use one over the other. We will be going through all of the different variables and what you can expect from a garden watering system.

The cheapest garden watering systems available.

It almost goes without saying the cheapest garden watering methods are using a hose or simply a water butt with a watering can and rose. What’s the use in a hose in the water from your tap is actually pretty cheap, but beware; if you’ve got a water metre which most people have these days then of course is not that effective at all. The best way is to have a water butt and keep it topped up with rainwater whenever you can. This means that you can run the water around the garden with a watering can and it will give you some good exercise too.

From my perspective I really like a hose pipe because you can just simply move it around the garden and it’s relatively easy to do. But this all comes down to the fact that you might not have a water meter. Some of the luckiest people in the UK will actually have a water well. If you can get your own water from a well then of course this is going to save you a considerable amount of money, and all you need to think about is whether you have a manual method of drawing the water from the well or having a pump that will draw the water up for you.

Having a pump draw the water out will mean that you need to use electric which costa a little bit but obviously over the course of a month you might be surprised if you used even much more than a few pence of electric. After all, it’s not like you’re going to be supplying a massive farm and requiring huge amount of irrigation.

The best garden watering methods when balancing cost to performance.

Hands down the best garden watering system method is the drip irrigation. This method simply allows gravity to send water to the root of all plants. Not only did this method can serve huge amount of water, It also sends the water directly to the root of the plant which obviously means that no water is wasted whatsoever. Many plants don’t even like the leaves to be wet. So this is a huge advantage for almost all plants.

With this method being so effectively means that of course it extremely cheap to run once you’ve got the set-up done. The drawback with drip irrigation of course is the initial upfront cost. All of that plumbing actually equates to a considerable amount of investment. stomach the upfront cost then you’re enjoying reap the benefits for many years to come. One of the most amazing thing about drip irrigation is the fact that you can water a whole Garden systematically by just turning on one tap. You have a main water but that then links and has the watering hoses running all over the garden. Because this method so affected the water just runs to the end of the line then just slowly releases because of the small gaps and holes in the post pipe at the end. It requires almost no maintenance and you can even add fertiliser to the water so that you don’t even have to run around and fertilise the garden either. This has the added benefit of not spreading a fertiliser over the leaves which might be an edible part of your garden. From so many perspectives a water irrigation method is priceless if you’re planning to stay at property for a long time.

Pond Maintenance

Regular maintenance is very important for a successful pond. The workload isn’t heavy but you need to take weekly action between April and October. Look carefully to identify problems before they become critical. But with a little maintenance, a correctly positioned and planted pond can be a pleasure, not a chore.

Keeping the pond clean

Dead and dying plant material rots, polluting the water, so use a fine mesh net to clean out the pond each week from spring to autumn.

Don’t feed any fish unless the water temperature exceeds 10°C (50°F). You will notice when they are active and searching for food – over winter they live on fat reserves and plant roots. Feed them sparingly at first so that any uneaten rotting food will not pollute the water.

Maintain about 60% surface cover by planting water lilies. It helps to keep the water temperature low and restrict algae growth. There will still be an annual spring flush of green water when temperatures warm up, but your pond should clear when the lilies start to grow.

In autumn, when marginal plants die back around the edge of the pond, cut off the surplus foliage before it drops into the water.
Clean out your filter and pumps (if fitted) in autumn and at other times in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip: Leave the net in place over winter if herons are a problem.

Keeping the pond in balance

Keep an eye on the pond in warm weather and replace evaporation losses regularly, but gradually, to prevent a sudden influx of fresh water.

When you see fish coming to the surface to breath at any time of the year, it indicates that the water oxygen is low. Turn on a fountain, if you have one, to oxygenate the water. If not, sprinkle the surface with fresh water from a hosepipe.

A gaseous exchange between the pond and atmosphere is necessary to keep up oxygen levels and allow carbon dioxide and other poisonous gasses to escape, so if the surface freezes in winter it is essential to keep an area ice-free or the poisonous gasses will build up and kill your fish and plants.

Turn your fountain off in cold weather. The mixing of warmer water at the bottom of the pond with cold water at the surface will lower the overall temperature and harm your fish. Only use fountains in cold weather if they can be lifted to the surface level so that mixing will not occur.

Tip: Don’t break winter ice by hitting with a hammer – the shock waves can kill your fish. Instead, place a hot saucepan near the edge of the pool and gradually melt a section of ice.

If you would like to put a pond in your garden, see Building a Pond and Simple Water Features for tips.

Building a Pond in Your Garden

Water features and ponds can be very pleasant additions to your garden and they can set your home apart from the rest of the properties in the neighbourhood.

If you can create a focal point in your garden that you enjoy and love, the chances are that it will therefore add value to your home.

Ponds are not just for Christmas though, and it is worth remembering that a neglected water feature or pond can be a real eyesore before you make the commitment and install one. Maintaining your pond is not a huge job but it is something that you will need to keep on top of if you are to keep it looking nice.

Building a Pond Yourself

Digging your own pond has plenty of advantages, you can dig it exactly how you want it, you can save a whole load of money and you can get some exercise and maybe even a tan in the process.

Any good garden centre should stock the floppy felt that you can then lay yourself enabling you to line your pond with a watertight covering; alternatively you can purchase the pre-made moulds for a bit extra.

Then all you need is some flat bottomed rocks to cover the meeting of your ponds lip and your lawn and the first stage is done, easy as that. Now get your bucket or hose and start filling! For more tips about “Building a Simple Water Features”, see Simple Water Features

Getting a Pond Built For You

Hard labour and digging is not everybody’s cup of tea, if this is the case you can, of course, pay somebody to do it for you.

As is always the case with hiring help, recommendation is the best way of selecting your workers. If you are struggling though, the yellow pages will have an extensive list of firms ready to work.

When hiring somebody to do the work, you should:

  • Get a few quotes before committing to one firm
  • Have drawings ready to show them what you are after, even if it is just a rough sketch on the back of a notepad
  • Work closely with the hired help, don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you want and if they start doing something you were not expecting, tell them right away before it is too late.
source : www.diynetwork.com

Stocking Your Pond

Things you will need to get from your local garden centre when stocking your pond include the following:

  • Pond Life, from seaweed to lilli pads
  • Fish
  • Herbicide and pesticide tablets
  • Any ornamental decorative pieces
  • Ultraviolet bacteria killer
  • Circulation pump
  • Filtration unit

Maintenance

Maintaining your pond is not overly difficult, especially if you do purchase a filtration pump and ultraviolet light system. The pumps start at around £20 and the full bacteria killing system will set you back around about £100.

They are however, very effective and prove to be a good investment as they help the maintenance to be as hassle free as possible. They do a much more efficient job than the tablets and involve less effort from you.

The only thing you must be wary of with these mains powered systems is that they are properly and safely installed as water and electricity do not mix well. Do not do it yourself if you are unsure of what you are doing.

If you are worried that your pond is excessively murky and you fear that your fish may be struggling to breathe, bring a sample of your pond water into your garden centre and they should be happy to give you advice. For more tips about “Maintenance”, see Pond Maintenance

Making the most of your pond

One of the great things about ponds is that you can constantly add things to them to make them even more striking and make them evolve over time into something that is truly stunning.

  • Wildlife will naturally gravitate towards your pond and so you should embrace this, small shady rock gardens can be a beautiful haven for frogs.
  • Surround your pond with beautiful flowers, it will have a similar effect to a nice border or frame complimenting a work of art.
  • Add to your collection of fish over time, whilst the usual selection of goldfish is great, your pond will really come to life with a little variation.
  • Add to your collection of plantation over time also, but be sure to watch out for mould or disease, as both can be very destructive to the rest of the stock.
  • Consider a small water feature, even something as simple as pumped water trickling down some rocks at the side of your pond will give your pond a natural feel and distract from the man made and purpose built, reality.

Both as a feature to enjoy and an investment then, a pond can be a great addition to your garden and your home.

For as little as £400, and some hard work, you can install a beautiful, relatively low maintenance, pond that can bring plenty of joy to you and your family. And, in the long-run, add as much as four times that initial installation figure to the value of your home!

Simple Water Features

If you don’t have room for a pond in your garden, you can still enjoy the pleasant sound of water by installing a simple water feature. Kits for features like pebble pools are readily available or you can buy the components separately and construct one yourself. Small children and water features don’t mix – so think about a plant feature instead if you have kids.

Basic Components

A water pump: The size of the water pump is determined by the proposed feature. Solar-powered pumps are available but may not pump enough water for your purposes. Mains-powered pumps should be fitted by a qualified electrician unless a low-voltage type is used and protected by a residual current device.

A sump: A sump is used to collect and hold all the water in the system. The collecting area to collect the splashing water should be as wide as the outlet is high.

A pipe: You will need to run a pipe from the pump to an outlet nozzle.

Position

  1. A sunny position will bring out colours on wet stones and pebbles.
  2. Try to locate your feature reasonably close to an electricity outlet.

Sample designs

Sink feature: An old enamelled sink can be very effective as a water feature. The pump sits inside the sink with the outlet pipe emerging through the plug hole (sealed to prevent leaks). The outlet could be the tap, or a plaque on an adjacent wall. Water then cascades into the sink.

Large pots: A similar arrangement could be constructed inside a large wide-brimmed pot with the outlet in the centre, creating a fountain or bubble effect.

Pebble ponds: These consist of a sunken reservoir with a fountain on top. A liner is laid sloping into the sump – wide enough to collect splashing water – and covered in pebbles. Alternatively, have water bubbling from a hole in the top of a large stone. Imitation stones made out of plastic are available and look very effective.

Design your own

Using the principles above it is quite easy to construct your own design. A pebble tower can be made by drilling holes in large pebbles that are held vertically by a piece of copper piping. A plastic pipe leads up from the pump to an outlet at the top and water streams down the sculpture.

Maintenance

  1. Pumps need periodic cleaning and maintenance.
  2. Empty the water out of your feature in winter to avoid freezing.