I can't say I dislike winter....when it snows everything looks so pretty but then this winter has been pretty nice so far. Temperatures are in the 50s today and the SUN is shinning. Unusual for January in Ohio. The pond is frozen but only a thin layer and the fish aren't moving much although I can catch a glimpse of them sometimes.
So while I continue to knit away the hours I keep thinking about spring.....changes to the pond.....new plants to offer.....what plants are thriving in the greenhouse. When the planting season ends things begin happening in the greenhouse. With seedlings and dividing of plants there is alot of do to get ready for the following season. Put on the gloves, play in the dirt, then watch the plants begin to grow.
It won't be long and most of us will begin the task of spring cleaning our ponds. While there is still alot of activity in the warmer climates those of us in the north continue to wait. Being a mild winter thus far only makes us more anxious for spring.
Its been a crazy pond year so far. First our weather didn't want to cooperate and get warm but then when the weather started getting warmer we were so busy I didn't have alot of time to write yet alone get my pond going.
We decided to redo our pond this year, again, as my husband would say. It was a long weekend project but its complete now and with a few minor changes here and there will be so much better than the old one. Mostly the problem I had with the other one was all the rocks in the pond which made it hard getting in and out. Pretty slippery....so we decided to remove all the rocks and make the shelf larger and the bottom flat instead of sloped around the edges. Much easier for getting in and out for the tasks of trimming plants and fertilizing them. We changed our waterfall to enter from a different angle with a long stream bed flowing into the pond. Much more tranquil and natural. This will still give me a nice bog area to plant bog plants in. Its been a couple weeks and the plants are finally starting to adjust. Now just need to get the bacteria going to clear it up more. What a difference one month makes!
I started this blog a couple weeks ago and then things got busy so now I have updated pictures of the pond and wow did it perform. Everything is growing well and I must say the plants and fish are happy. The water is crystal clear and the plants are looking so healthy. I already see a lotus bud on the Mrs. Perry Slocum in just 4 weeks time. Check out my Albert Greenberg.
There are iris of almost any color one would want.....of course I want to plant them all around the pond. Although they only bloom once during the season I anxiously await their blooms. The Colorific is exactly like its name...blending of colors and quite unique. This plant only had about three flowers on it this year since it was just planted but next year will have more.
Then there is the Clyde Redmond which blooms a little later in the season. Its nice to have different iris blooming at different times of the season. The Wedgwood blue color of this iris adds alot to the pond.
Other than dividing the iris in the early spring they require little care and the rewards of color in your pond are worth it.
We've covered water temperatures, so what else should we do early spring prior to adding pond plants? We would like to mention a few things you should check when opening your pond for the season.
Check your pond to make sure there are no tears or leaks in your pond liner. Check around the edges of your pond to make certain the ground has not settled, and your pond is not leaking around the perimeter. Check out all your tubing, connections, pond pumps and filters to make sure they are all secure and working properly. If you have left your pump run throughout the winter make sure it is working properly. And for those who have turned off their pumps, you should check and clean them thoroughly. Turn your pump back on once the water temperatures are consistently above freezing which is around 40-45 degrees.
Remove any debris that has accumulated in your pond during the fall and winter. For those of you that have a pond vac, now is the best time to use those to rid your pond of small unwanted particles. You can begin putting MicrobeLift Spring and Summer in your pond to help with the cleanup. MicrobeLift Spring and Summer contains cold weather bacteria cultures that will work in the cooler water temperatures of spring. This will start establishing good bacteria and help accelerate the break down of debris. The spring rains help to flush your ponds, so if possible drain some of the water out of your pond and let the rain rinse and fill it up.
Once everything has been checked out you can begin thinking about feeding your fish, if you have them, and dividing some of the pond plants that have out grown their planting containers. We will discuss this in our next addition to Here Comes Spring.
Time to spring forward, or at least turn the clocks forward! Things are beginning to warm up a bit here in the north and we are anxiously waiting for Spring to arrive so we can begin to add new plants to our ponds. Another couple of months and we will be sitting back enjoying our ponds once again. It won't be long now. For those in the warmer regions, zones 8 and above, you are putting pond plants in your ponds and starting to enjoy them, while those of us in the lower zones are still waiting. At least most of the ice has melted and we can begin thinking about our ponds once again.
Don't be fooled by Mother Nature. We need to make sure it is warm enough outside, and make sure our pond water is warm enough for the plants to survive. Knowing your pond temperature is crucial, so begin by checking your pond water temperature at different times of the day. The pond water is cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon but will cool down again in the evening. Knowing what the consistant temperature of your pond water is important before adding the pond plants.
The first plants most of us want to put in are those that will help us keep the pond clear, such as floating plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce. Cold water will kill both of these in a matter of days if the water temperature is still too cold. We need to make sure the water temperature is consistent and reaches 65 degrees and stays there morning, afternoon and evening before we add floating plants.
There are other things we must do first that will keep us busy, such as adding beneficial bacteria to help keep our pond clear. The good bacteria, such as MicrobeLift PL neutralizes ammonia and nitrites, and will start to work when the water temperature are 50-55 degrees. If you add bacteria, it will stay in the pond and start working when the pond water is warm enough. It acts on its own and will stay un-activated until it knows to start working. For those of us who use barley, now is the right time to start adding it. This will also help retard the growth of string algae in the Spring months.
The list goes on and on. While all of us are anxious to add the pond plants there are still several things to do prior to this. I will be posting articles in the next few days with spring tips for our ponds.
There is nothing better in late winter, than going out to the greenhouses and seeing all the bog plants growing and some of the tropical water lilies starting to bloom again. We heat several greenhouses, so most of the plants we sell are available year round. But, as the days get longer and there is more daylight, the plants really start to take off. A few of the iris are starting to bloom here and there. Before we know it the 2010 shipping season will be in full swing. I can't wait to hear from all our pond friends across the country again. Looking forward to another great season helping people with their pond and plant questions.
Well, I personally do not want to believe it.....but, the calendar does not lie! It's September 21st, and fall is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. With that being said, there are some things you will want to do to ensure your pond and aquatic inhabitants survive the Winter ahead. Before winter arrives, you will want to make sure your pond and filtering system are clean to ensure good water quality throughout the winter months. With the arrival of fall it is wise to do a partial water change to remove any built up contaminants to improve water quality. Partial water changes need to be made before water temperatures fall below 60 degrees to minimize fish stress. Adding pond salt at this time will improve the slime coating of your fish, to help them ward off disease and parasites.
As long as the submerged plants are below the ice, they will usually survive the winter in most zones. Any part of the plant that is allowed to freeze will turn to mush and add unwanted debris to the pond. It is wise to cut these plants back.