Little Shop of Horrors - How EI frightened the gardener

REDSTEVEO

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WOWW:wideyed::wideyed: I forgot how awesome this pond was, truly stunning lily growth! Thanks for putting these photographs back up Clive. As usual it provides inspiration and something for us to aspire to.

Cheers,

Steve
 

kirk

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I will come back and read all this properly, that pond is unbelievable loverly job.
 
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I'm considering dosing my pond with generous nutrients this year to see what happens.

My pond is, I believe, about 1000 litres (based on how long it took to fill, together with a quick measurement of the tap flow rate). It's a wildlife-only tank with no fish. I dug the pond in August 2014, and in the spring of 2015 it had newts and frogs breeding in it. It also had plenty of dragonfly and damselfly nymphs.

It has a water lilly, some water forget-me-not, and various other marginal plants - most of which grew fairly reasonably through 2015. But I did have green cotton-wool algae that I was constantly fishing out by twiddling a cane in the water. I'd like to see if I can really turbo-charge the plants and keep the algae at bay this year.

So what dosage should I use? Full-on EI as you would for a high-tech tank, or a slightly throttled-back version to account for the lack of water changes and no CO2?

Also, one needs to take account of the seasonal nature of a pond; when would you start dosing? Would you ramp-up the fertiliser dosage or just jump in with the full amount?

I'm assuming there'd be no danger to frogs, newts and insect larvae? It would be a shame not to have them, but if the plants grow well it should benefit them.
 

darren636

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You'll find the pond plants will be much more vigorous in their second year.

I use tnc substrate plugs and the plants go beserk.

You can't beat a wildlife pond.
 
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darren636

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Totally agree! Digging a pond has been the most rewarding thing I've done in life for years!

Unfortunately, our wildlife pond ended up turning into a 6' deep koi pond, with a shallow section for plants and fry, the fish demolish the plants every spring but I still get plenty of dragonfly and damsels emerging on a sunny morning.
 

zozo

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No need to fertilize the watercollum, use fert tabs (clayballs. cones, pellets whatever) and stick it in the pots. Most pondplants which you like to see emersed are heavy root feeders anyway and water collum fertilization almost always ends up in pea soup. Dump in a load of daphnia if you don't have fish, they will eat all green algea and multiply on it's on as long there is food. :)
 
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Well, I have been dosing nutrients into the pond for a month or so now. I should have noted down when I started!

To start with I dosed 50% EI, based on my estimation of the pond's volume at 1000 litres. I did that for a couple of weeks, and tested the water watching for any rise in nitrates. Yes, I know lots of folk round here poo-poo testing, but AIUI nitrate tests tend to give "false positives" by responding to some other ions in addition to NO₃⁻ so the fact that I was seeing zero response means that I really did still have very low nutrients despite the dosing.

After a couple of weeks at 50%, I had zero NO₃⁻ indications, and certainly wasn't seeing a bloom of green thread algae as conventional pond wisdom would have you believe. If anything I was seeing a slight retreat of the algae, which seemed to be melting away slightly. The plants were picking up, although you'd expect that anyway.

So I decided to go up to full EI dose. I've now been doing that for about three weeks. Again, I'm still seeing no detectable NO₃⁻ readings*, which either means my plants are mopping it all up or perhaps I have grossly underestimated the volume of my pond! Algae has continued to retreat, although hasn't vanished completely - there's still plenty around the margins which I'm leaving as food for the tadpoles (which I stole from a neighbour's pond while I was looking after their garden). Before this experiment started I was "twiddling" loads of algae out using a cane, and last year that had to continue throughout most of the summer. But now, whilst I can still twiddle a little bit of algae out, it's much less.

* Actually if I test shortly after dosing I do see a modest NO₃⁻ reading, but if test the following day there's nothing.

The plants are definitely bigger and lusher than they were last year. In particular, last year the watercress was quite disappointing - it spread a long way but the growth was quite small and poor quality. Now the cress is growing much bigger leaves. I planted some marsh marigold about six weeks ago (so can't compare with last year) and that has quadrupled in size and flowered profusely. The one disappointment is the lily, which seems very late and slow, but then I haven't bothered to put any fert tablets into its pot which is probably a mistake.

My one concern is the lack of water changes. I'm certainly not seeing a build-up of NO₃⁻, and therefore it's quite likely that PO₄³⁻ isn't building up either - but what about organic wastes? Will I have problems later in the season? I could lower an immersible pump and water the garden with pond water, then refill with rainwater - but availability of rainwater in the necessary quantity will mean I can only do that a few times in the season.
 
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zozo

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Dunno bout the weather in UK, but the other side of the pond where i'm living it's still verry chilly, cold nights and chilly cloudy days, till now only had very little sunny days. My nymphaea's also still very dormant at the time, only got to about 3 floaters one the rubra, the other one is still sleeping and doing about nothing. And they do have roottabs with them already. Even in the deeper natural more temp stable ponds in my neighborhood i see the lilies not yet booming. My average water temperatur is still around 10°C, only had a couple of days of 18°C when the sun was kickin in. They likely will com up once the sun comes out for longer periodes and the water temp rises.

Intresting topic, i never used water collum ferts on my pond plants.. Might give it a go this year and see what happens. :)
 
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Here's a picture of how it's looking at the moment. The heron is a just a metal statue!

FEC2E2EE-645B-4590-8641-34F2302A697E.jpg
 

mort

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Nice pond Mike. Is the Ajuga actually in the pond? and which species it bottom right corner please?
 
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Nice pond Mike. Is the Ajuga actually in the pond? and which species it bottom right corner please?
Thanks!

The Ajuga is growing in soil outside the pond liner and it isn't boggy, but it does trail over the edge and into the water and seems happy.

The large area of plant to the right is water forget-me-not, Myosotis scorpioides. It's a great plant and I recommend it heartily. It is evergreen, although some of the stems and leaves do blacken during the winter and it looks slightly untidy. Soon it'll come into flower, producing little blue flowers with yellow centres just like the 'normal' forget-me-not. I don't know if they're related or if this is just an example of convergent evolution.

Further round on the right there's a new patch of mare's tail Hippuris vulgaris, and behind that is a new patch of marsh marigold Caltha palustris 'Auenwald', which has now finished flowering. In the middle, with a plastic trellis for support against the wind, is a Pontederia lanceolata, which should grow well over a metre tall and bear purplish-blue flower spikes in later summer. Behind the heron, the water is only a couple of inches deep and there's a patch of Summer snowflake Gratiola officinalis, and I've also grown some purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria from seed which I'm going to plant in that area.

To the left in the foreground of the picture is the large area of watercress, Nasturtium officinale. Right in the very central foreground there is some pickerel weed Pontederia cordata, which seems slow to get going this year, and also another plant similar to purple loosestrife whose name I've forgotten but it could be a member of the mint family because it has the characteristic square-section stems. There's also a very cute little plant called American water willow Justicia americana, which produces small white and purple orchid-like flowers.

There are no fish in the pond, but I have seen newts again this year. I didn't get any frogs breeding this year, although I've seen an adolescent frog in the pond - they seem to like staying in the pond for longer than the adults. As I mentioned, I stole a bucketful of frog tadpoles and these have grown fat on the remaining algae in the margins - you can often see the floating plant (Azolla caroliniana) moving as they wriggle about below.
 
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zozo

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Indeed looking realy cool. Nice little pond you got there, love the way it's setup and doesn't show any pondfoil or rocks to border it all.. Looks like a natural fountain in a medow.. :)

Your forget me not is yet not flowering?? Mine is already for weeks.. It's indeed one of the neatest flowers around the pond.. Just because of their numbers and tiny size, it's a flower drawing you closer to look and then you see how beautifull they realy are..
DSCN8613.jpg
 

rebel

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Indeed looking realy cool. Nice little pond you got there, love the way it's setup and doesn't show any pondfoil or rocks to border it all.. Looks like a natural fountain in a medow.. :)

Your forget me not is yet not flowering?? Mine is already for weeks.. It's indeed one of the neatest flowers around the pond.. Just because of their numbers and tiny size, it's a flower drawing you closer to look and then you see how beautifull they realy are..
View attachment 85628
Zozo, what a cracking photo!
 

zozo

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Zozo, what a cracking photo!

Thanks.. :) It's from a few years back with my first bog forget me not in the garden. Sat next to it for hours to enjoy it's beauty and take these pics.
DSCN8624.jpg

This plant honors it's name, once you had it you'll never forget you did.. :)

Also had the Hippuris and pontedera.. But iit was this still early spring.. Anyway sitting next to the pond sometimes is cirque du soleil, they even fly around attached like that.
DSCN6656 (Kopie).JPG


Note the oxygen bubbles.. :)
DSCN6660 (Kopie).JPG


All worth while sitting and waiting.. :)
 
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Awesome pictures, zozo!

Yes, the water forget-me-not does seem late this year, as indeed do many of the plants in our garden. The U.K. had a very mild winter, but spring was cold with one or two hard frosts. Many plants seem to be weeks behind where they should be.
 

zozo

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Awesome pictures, zozo!

Yes, the water forget-me-not does seem late this year, as indeed do many of the plants in our garden. The U.K. had a very mild winter, but spring was cold with one or two hard frosts. Many plants seem to be weeks behind where they should be.
Thanks.. :) Then you're UK climate is even colder than ours at the time.. And in my idea it's still very chilly nights average water temps are still rather low. Last year we had it even worse and everything started very late and a bad start shows the whole summer in a garden, didn't had much fun last year. But this one seems to do better again. :thumbup:

Whish you luck with yours.. Looks already awsome and we've not even started yet..
 
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