Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring housing problems

I have a garden full of tree frogs. These two love to live in my calla lilies. Unfortunately the callas are fast rotting away, but the frogs love their houses and refuse to move.

If they would consent to moving just one floor down, they could have two brand new calla lilies, model houses, if you will, and be the first occupants of these elegant new homes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fertilizing aquatic plants

If you have not yet fertilized your water lilies, now is the time. Use aquatic plant tabs and push them into the soil. Use one tab for each gallon of soil. If your lily pads have not yet reached the surface, wait until they do.
I do not fertilize other aquatics. The fish waste seems to do a fine job of that. The plants leap from their pots as it is. With fertilizer, they would be camping on my front porch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fire Ants and the Pond

I get many questions about killing ants (especially fire ants) around the pond. They are worried about poisoning the fish if some ant killer gets in the water. Diatomaceous earth is an effective and natural ant control. Even if some gets in the pond there should be no problem. Diatomaceous earth is available at most garden centers. Follow the label's instructions for use.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Koi and Clay

Koi will scrounge around a pond's natural bottom for food. When they eat the food, they also get some tiny pieces of clay. The clay provides tiny particles which provide needed grit to help with digestion as well as beneficial minerals which account for much of the very bright colors of Koi living in natural bottom ponds.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fish spawning

It's spring and a young male fish's fancy turns to thoughts of female fish. When you see your fish chasing after each other, sometimes even removing scales or acting as if they are fighting, they are really spawning and you will soon be a goldfish grandparent.

Fish are not good parents. The moment the fish is born, the parents try to eat it and are often successful. Goldfish are born a grayish, brownish color to give them a chance at life and obviously, some make it.

If you give those babies a place to hide, they have a better chance of survival. The best place for fry to hide is in the fine roots of water hyacinth. Scatter the hyacinths around your pond so the fry can stay there until the coast is clear. When they get a bit bigger, they can survive much more easily.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Koi? Illegal?

Owning or keeping koi is illegal in the state of Maine. Koi are considered a nuisance fish that can invade public waterways and cause native fish to die out. No matter what state you live in, check with your local extension service to find out the status of koi.
Other states are considering making owning koi illegal. Check with your local pond society or extension service to learn the status of koi in your state.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Clean out that pump

The biggest cause of pump failure is the pump getting clogged and dirty. At least once monthly uplug it, remove the tubing that goes out of it. Get the garden hose with a strong nozzle on it. Turn it on full blast and put it in the hole where the water comes out. You will blow the debris out of the pump and impeller. The impeller needs to turn freely. Test it with a screwdriver.

Do not pull your pump out of the water using the cord as a handle. That is the second largest cause of pump failure.

One of the first signs a pump is failing is it begins to run intermittently. There is a safety mechanism in the pump that turns it off when it gets too hot. If that happens, start shopping because your pump is not long for this world.

I love Oase pumps, so check them out. They have a great warranty and cost very little to operate.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Louisiana Irises

Louisiana irises are just finishing blooming in Zone 8b on the North side of Lake Pontchartrain. Our Irises are beautiful plants and love to grow in our ponds or anywhere where they can have wet feet. They are great for bog gardens and rain gardens. I have used them next to ponds and even in gardens where there is no pond in sight. They do well up to zone 5. Consider adding them to your pond.
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