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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Build a Small Water Garden
Build a Small Water Garden
Water gardens are an beautiful & exciting addition to any home. If you enjoy vegetable gardening, you'll love this!
There are many interesting, odd, fun things to make a water garden out of, from old feed barrels to large copper pots (if you're lucky enough to find one cheap!), a plastic children's play pool, or buy a garden pond from the garden center at your local hardware. Find the size you think you'll be comfortable with to start. Don't begin with the largest just because you think it will look pretty once complete. It may, but you may also find you don't want it or can't maintain it. So start small and work your way up, if you want.
Select a location for your tub that receives a minimum of 3 - 4 hours of sunlight everyday. Remember, once they're filled, tub gardens are almost impossible to move. Almost any container can serve as a tub. If you use a barrel, such as a wine, olive or whiskey barrel, line it with PVC sheeting to avoid problems from the bacteria remaining from fermentation.
A balanced pond should have four basic components; water, plants, snails and fish. For each square yard of water surface, you need 1 bunch of oxygenating grasses, 1 small to medium water lily, 1 bog plant and/or ornamental plant, 2 - 3 guppies or mosquito fish and 3 - 6 water snails. And if you live in a 4-Season location - you'll need a water heater to keep the pond from freezing over in winter! (Check with a pond company to find the best for your needs. You don't want the pond to freeze, but neither do you want to cook it to death either!)
Fill the pond container with water. Use chloramine- and ammonia-deactivating products because water out of the tap has sometimes been treated.
Keep the aquatic plants wet, and install them one at a time, each in its own pot about 6" across x 6" deep. Be sure to use heavy garden soil rather than potting mix, which will float out of the pots.
Place the water lily in the center of the tub.
Place grasses and bog plants aroung the outer edges. For height, set bog plants on a brick or block that lies on the tub's bottom.
Next add water snails and fish. Water snails are scavengers and will feed on algae and fish waste.
You can expect to achieve a good balance in your tub within 30 - 60 days.
Trickle small amounts of chlorinated water into the tub daily for about 30 days. This will help to control algae until the garden is balanced. Small amounts of algae are necessary as food for fish and snails, but too much may indicate excess nutrients or insufficient sunlight.
Periodically remove excess or old foliage and fallen leaves or twigs.
Do not continually change water. Each time you change water, the tub environment will need to regain its balance. Once a tub is balanced, it can remain so for years with only occasional water addition to make up for evaporation.
So, there are your simple instructions for a beautiful addition to your wonderful garden! So start planning & designing and be ready when the weather turns warm!