Friday, January 26, 2007

Thinking about spring

I know, I know, it's January and it's cold out there. But the seed catalogs are arriving and all of you under a snow blanket are reading them, marking your favorites and maybe even starting some seeds in your houses. We long for spring and think that winter is the longest season of the year.

Now is the time to start thinking about what spring pond tasks await us. If we cleaned the pond last fall after the leaves fell, we are probably in good shape for warm weather's arrival. If not, we have that nasty task to look forward to.

Now is also a great time plan what more we wish to do with our ponds. Do we want to add to our plant, add to our out of pond landscaping or maybe make more or bigger ponds? Now is the time for planning, thinking, dreaming.

If you have questions about what you want or what you need, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Letters, we get letters

I am in need of a new pond heater for the pond in my newly-acquired home. Are the 100w de-icers efficient enough to keep the fish alive over a New England winter? I have both a 1250w and a 100w jobbie. I'd obviously like to use the one with a lower wattage (and buy myself a second one to save the pennies)... but am I fooling myself? Are they just a piece of junk? Hope you can give me some insight.


Pondlady sez:

Thanks for writing.

I wish I could give you a definitive answer. I live in New Orleans and we don't exactly get frozen ponds. If your pond is below the frost line, you should be OK. Give the smaller one a try. If a hole in the ice stays open, you are fine. If not, try the bigger one. All it needs to do is keep a hole open.

If your pond has frozen solid in the past, then you must think about bringing your fish in for the winter because nothing will work to keep the water thawed unless you think about a swimming pool heater.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rain and more rain

It has just now stopped raining in New Orleans and we are one soggy city. My shoes get sucked off if I walk through the front yard to the mailbox.

The entire city is hyped about the Saints football team and no one is all that interested in the health of their ponds. Good thing ponds can tend to themselves for ages with no human interference. In fact, they often do better if we just leave them alone. i suspect that will be the case here if the football team wins tomorrow. And then comes Mardi Gras on February 20th. New Orleans is a constant party from now until Ash Wednesday.

Of course, only half of the population has returned to the city 17 months after Katrina and it may stay that way. But ponds either in someone's yard or abandoned are doing well. After my house was destroyed, it was a year before I could move my pond to my new house. There were about 8" of water in the pond, lots of anacharis and several goldfish. This, with no power and no attention for a year. Ponds are indeed wonderful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pondless waterfalls

I have had questions lately about pondless watefalls. They are not all that different from regular ponds. First you dig a hole and line it. Put rocks around it. Then you build a waterfall. Fill the pond with water. Put a pump in a cylinder made just for pondless waterfalls. If you looked in my shop at my website, you will notice I do not sell them. There's a good reason for that and here it is:

You have dug the hole, built the waterfall, put the pump in the aforementioned cylinder, put the cylinder with pump in the water. Now you FILL UP THE POND WITH ROCKS. Some of you have already seen ahead far enough to see the problems coming. The water gets dirty. Grass clippings, leaves, dust, dirt from the air, doggy and kiddy toys all find their way into the water and eventually the pump needs to be cleaned. And where is it? Under all those ROCKS!! Hmmmmmm.

Monday, January 15, 2007

De-icing the pond

Here's some ways to keep a hole in the pond ice. Gases need to be exchanged so fish can survive.

On to the de-icing ideas:

Carolyn hooks up a hose to an inside tap and runs water over the ice. She has a dechlorinating device hooked to the hose.

Craig floats a flat black painted can wrapped in styrofoam to keep it from sinking. The black paint absorbs warmth and keeps a hole open in the ice.

I have used a milk jug with a rope tied to it and with a couple of cup of water in it so it stays in the water.

Or you can buy a de-icer that keeps a hole open.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Watch out for acid rain

Often we have protracted periods of no rain here in Louisiana and then day after day of heavy rains. During the rainless times, we usually have to add water because of evaporation, so that means we have to watch chlorine levels in the pond.

Then one day our hard rains will start. The pond fills and overflows. The overflowing is OK, but the rain is cleaning filthy air, air filled with the pollutants we put in it from our exhaust pipes, airplanes, chimneys and factories. All of that chemical waste is washed from the air onto our soil and into our ponds.

After the first rainfall following a dry time, watch your pond carefully. If your fish come to the top trying to breathe or your plants begin to yellow, change at least half your water. Don't forget to put dechlor in the new water.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Letters, we get letters


I am 78 and am constructing my first water element. It is about finished. My problem is I am not quite sure how to handle the return water at the top of my 60 foot effort. It curves down hill and consists of two small ponds about 8 feet across and 8” deep and a 5000 gal pond that is 45 “ deep. I have installed a Savino CS 16000 skimmer that will hold an Easy Pro TH 750 5900 GPH connected to 60 feet of 2” PVC that will circulate at about 50 GPM. I have two small waterfalls coming out of the two small ponds and I do not want a large waterfall at the top of the element. I thought sinking a 50 gallon plastic drum and letting it flow into the top channel. Any ideas??


pondlady sez:

You are using one pump for two waterfalls and also to get the water to the top channel? I will assume that is the case. If so, you may have some problems getting water that high with your pump. If you are already successful doing that, you could easily use a 50 gallon drum. You could also buy a spillway that already had a low spot for water to flow out. They are relatively cheap, but they do not have a real long shelf life. They are plastic and vulnerable to the sun.

I am also assuming your channel is lined with something, rubber liner or concrete. I am hoping for liner. Be careful that the water at the top channel drains onto the liner and not under or to the side of it.

One of the problems with 8" deep water that I have often run into is that a stick or leaves can fall into it and soon a few more and soon after, you have an unplanned dam and water flowing out the sides pumping the pond dry in the process.

Congratulations on doing your first water feature at 78. I was a child of 48 when I started my pond building business many years ago.



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Time to start thinking

Happy New Year to everyone.

But now that the year end festivities are over and carnival is 7 weeks away here in NO, we can start giving a thought to what we are going to do with our gardens this spring. Some of us have recovered from Katrina destruction and are beginning to think of other things besides where the drywall people are. The PTSD is lifting, so we are beginning to believe we will live through this, or at least hope we will.
So what are we hoping for in the garden? Are we going to add a water garden after thinking about it for a year or so, or are we going to define an area in which to put one? That's a good start. So what are you thinking about? How about an indoor pond to make the den more relaxing? Or what about a pondless waterfall outdoors? What are your plans?