At The Water Garden – Season in Review
Summer in a Nutshell
I know I know; I haven’t added much as far as articles go this summer. Things have been busy at backyard water garden headquarters. Between a constant string algae invasion, a family of frogs moving in and a new discovery there is never a dull moment.
Now that summer is slowly drawing to a close and we start to transition into the next season things are beginning to slow down a bit. It has been a wild summer (pun intended) this year for sure! If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, then you know that things have been growing and evolving all season long.
From Out of Nowhere
My daughter was the first to notice our latest discovery. Nature had taken its course and our pond is now filled with tiny fry, one of which has actually changed to an orange and black color. We call him “Tiny”, although he is growing rapidly. This was the first of the spawn that we noticed. Over the next few days we noticed more and more emerging from the pond vegetation.
The koi have only been in the water garden for two seasons, and I was under the impression that they would not spawn until they were at least three or four. Must be something in the water “wink wink!”
All kidding aside, I think I may be in trouble. From what I could count there seem to be dozens of them. Another thing is that they are all different sizes, which leads me to believe they are from different batches.
The fry, grey in color until they reach a certain size then it seems their true colors come shining through, although to contradict what I just said, I have seen some very small ones that are colored already. Koi fry start to get their colors approximately two weeks after hatching.
I haven’t done anything to encourage this to happen. I was always under the impression that getting koi to mate and have the fry survive was a daunting task. This has been a learning experience thus far, and if things keep going this way I may just have to create another water garden… MY FAVORITE!!!
Onto the Next Big Thing
My mind is already filling with all sorts of crazy ideas! In fact, it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole thing, letting my imagination dream up the next project, then bring it to life. I am warning you, once you start with a hobby like this it’s tough to not let it get out of hand.
I am already trying to figure out how to create a natural looking hillside in my backyard creating an upper and lower pond connected by a rushing stream. Similar to the picture you see here… wouldn’t that be something! I may need a little more help with this project than my kids!
The difficult part will be getting my wife to go along with it, although she has been nothing but supportive during this whole backyard adventure. She has even been the one capturing most of the pictures you see here. To see more beautiful nature shots, not just ponds check out DK Photography.
The other day I went to do my routine skimmer box clean out, when I was greeted by yet another guest. A small water snake had made its home in the dark corners of my skimmer box.
I carefully and swiftly placed it into a bucket to transfer it across the road and around the corner in a nearby creek. When it comes to location, I am fortunate to live where I do. Poisonous snakes, alligators, poisonous spiders and the like are not a huge concern. Keep all this in mind if you do live in a warmer climate, just like that famous quote from Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come.”
Fortunately, the worst thing I have to be weary of is how cold it’s going to get this winter.
Now back to my dilemma. My plan so far is to get my water garden ready for winter in the same way I did last year, and wait until the spring to see how many of the young koi make it through. Our winters can be harsh up here in Western New York, but the koi seemed just fine all season long.
But before I begin thinking about the snow, there is another nuisance that shows up first. When the leaves come down. Sure they are a beautiful site on the country side and when driving through the mountains.
This can be an irritating time for any water garden owner. However, there is a remedy for this just like everything else. Use black netting to cover your pond. I have done this in previous years and it has worked like a charm.
One tip, keep the netting above the water by pulling it tight. If the weight of the leaves makes the netting dip into the water, it will act like a giant tea bag. This happened to me the first year. The water turned a deep brown in color. It went away after my spring cleaning, but why go through all that.
Beware Old Man Winter
The most important thing to remember is to keep the ice broken on the surface so the poisonous gasses can escape. This can be accomplished by using an aerator to keep the water moving. An aerator is simply an air pump with a hose that connects to an air stone that is submerged in water. If you have ever seen a bubbler in a fish tank that is essentially the same thing. That’s what I used and it seemed to do the trick.
There were a few days that the surface froze over even with the aerator moving the water, and I had to go out and break up the ice a bit, but those days were rare. Another thing is to not place your aerator on the bottom of your pond. If you built shelves like I did, then place them on the shallowest shelf. The reason for this is to not disturb the deeper water with air that is cooled by the winter air. By keeping it close to the surface you will break the ice without super cooling your fish.
Wrapping It Up
It has been a great season out by the water garden. There is always something new to see and enjoy. There is still plenty of time to enjoy out by the pond as the seasons change. When you’re ready to start your project stop by our pond shop, we have everything you need to help you get started. Comments and questions are always welcome so feel free to leave them below and I will respond as soon as possible. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to have their own waterfront property!