Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where did summer go?

What happened? School starts next week and my garden's a mess... not that those two things are related! There have been quite a few garden highlights after all this time (as I'd hope!), but the one I want to tell you about is 'how I brought my pond back to life'. I have a small pond in the garden - about 2mX4m and 70 cm deep. It ticked along beautifully as a still pond for a dozen years. Then about three years ago, it 'winterkilled'. When everything thawed in the spring, the fish were dead and the pond had developed an otherworldly purple coating on all of the submerged plants. It stunk. I drained it, cleaned it, and put the best of the oxygenators back and tried again. Next year - same thing. I have to admit I was flummoxed. I made a point not to add fish, and I netted out the worst of the mess and just left it. Needless to say, things were no better this spring, but since inactivity didn't seem to be making it worse, I left it and began to contemplate taking it out. After a month away from home this summer (that made two months away all told), I was in the garden and noticed GOLDFISH in the pond. My first thought was 'where did you come from?", quickly followed by the realization that I couldn't leave them to stew in water like that. I had been toying with the idea of an aquascape system, but really didn't feel like I could afford $1500 + on a pond cure. I decided to create my own filter/circulation system. The basic ingredients - a black plastic storage crate, furnace filter material, hen grit, a submersible sump pump that moves 1350 gallons an hour, and the short black hose that is used to connect your washing machine. I skimmed the leaf debris out of the pond while running the garden hose into one end to give the fish some breathable water while this went on. The pump went into the crate and a 'box' of filter material was fashioned around it. Hen grit was used to fill the space between the pump and the filter box. Larger gravel was used to fill in the rest of the crate and support the filter 'box' in the center. The black hose was attached to the pump, and the whole thing was lowered into the pond. (thank you Heather!). I hooked the end of the hose over a log, and plugged in the pump - voila - a lovely strong jet of water gushing over the log and into the pond. After three days there was a noticeable improvement. Two weeks later, I can now see the bottom of the pond, the purple slime has disappeared and the stink is gone. I think the fish are much happier. All this for the cost of the HST on the Aquascape system. I'm feeling pretty good!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! How crafty and clever is this! I confess I thought the pond was lovely when I was there, and I didn't smell anything amiss. Glad the fish from outer space will be happy now.