Filed under: fish, pond, water garden, winter | Tags: cold, ice, Koi, Minnesota, pond, snow, water plants, weather, winter
It’s December in Minnesota, my pond has had several days where it has iced over, but I have pushed my luck far enough, It’s time to winterize the pond. My floating plants died out with the first freezing day and they have long ago made their way to the compost pile. Now it’s time to turn off the water circulation pump and take it out.
The air pump has two long hoses to get air down into the pond, a pair of metal nuts are needed to keep the hose down in the water. I have a cover for the pump made from an old plastic juice bottle so that snow and rain is kept off of it.
Now I can be sure that fresh oxygen is getting to the fish when the pond is iced over. The koi hang out around the heater appreciating the extra warmth.Here’s where I hang the pump. I have a screw to hold it all on the board beside the electrical outlet. The pond is now ready for winter.I’ll set some of the flower pots in deeper water so the ice will not damage them and the pond is ready for winter. There are no flowers in bloom, but the koi keep a bit of color as the ponds settles in for winter.
Filed under: garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden | Tags: broad leaf arrowhead, garden, Minnesota, plants, pond, water garden, water hyacinth, water lettuce
My pond has been overrun by floaters this year and something has to be done.
I took half a wheel borrow full of floaters to the compost pile earlier this week and the floaters filled the cleared spot up the next day. All of this green is from 10 small plants purchased in early June.
The floaters in my pond are water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and water hyacinth (Eichhoria crassipes). They are just leaves and roots. So far neither of these plants have bloomed for me.
The roots on the water lettuce are about 8 inches long on mature plants. The plants send out side shoots with smaller plants on them. As the plant gets bigger, it also sends out more babies. They continue to grow as long as they can reach water.
Water hyacinth are much like the water lettuce in that they are just green plant and roots, and they send out shoots to produce more plants. The hyacinth have bladders to help keep them afloat. In southern states they are considered invasive. Some places in Africa and Asia they will heap hyacinth together to make floating islands where people will live. Here in Minnesota both plants will freeze off as winter nears. Then I just net them up and add them to the compost pile.
If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see the newest addition to the pond, sagittaria latifolia. Sagittaria latifolia is a plant found in shallow wetlands and is sometimes known as broadleaf arrowhead, duck potato, Indian potato, or wapato. This plant produces edible tubers that were extensively used by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Filed under: birds, Farm, fish, house, pond, water garden, Wildlife | Tags: animals, barn swallow, farm, garden, goldfish, Koi, plants, pond, raccoon, raspberries, robins, wildlife
We’ve had a few animal visitors lately, some we want and some we’d rather had stayed away.
I was delighted to see this frog sitting on a lilly pad two days ago. I had lots of frogs in the pond early this spring, but very few since.
My mom had been harvesting about two quarts of raspberries until the robins found them. Now every time she approaches the garden a dozen or more fly off. They don’t even let the berries get ripe, but eat them just before they are ready.
I heard a splash in my koi pond two nights ago when I went to look at it before going to bed. In the morning a few pots had been dug in, but not much to worry about. This morning my goldfish pond looked like this.
Water lilly’s had been torn up and hyacinth and water lettuce were upside down. Worst of all, four 10 year old goldfish are missing. I suspect a raccoon, but have no evidence to prove it. With my sweet corn about ready for harvest, I hope I am wrong.
Some barn swallows built a nest on a roof bracket over the kitchen window. Although I like barn swallows since they eat insects, what they do to the side of the house has my bride upset. The word is out, they need to move soon!
I really do want animal visitors, but sometimes i wish they would not be so messy.
Filed under: fish, garden, house, pond, projects, rain, water garden, weather | Tags: floating water plants, garden, Koi, pond, railing, screen porch, water garden, weather
It looks great, and adds a bit of safety also. It’s only 4 steps up and a drop to soft grass so we were not worried about spacing on the bars. The hand rail will help get up and down the steps.
When we were in Colorado we found some nice brackets to add to the west posts of the porch, they were installed Sunday also.
They will allow the hanging of some decorative items to add some color.
Our floaters in the pond are really growing in this warm weather. Here’s the pond on June 30th,
and here’s the pond today, July 9. More and more the year old koi are turning from black to orange. It’s fun to watch them all come when I feed them, it is taking more and more food to make them happy.
I finally found our newest batch of kittens today, they are about 2 weeks old. Mom is not happy to have me around so I left them alone for now. When they get older I’ll start getting to know them.
Our grass is starting to show signs of stress from the heat of last week. Many places are starting to turn brown. No rain is forecast for the next week, but temperatures will be a bit cooler than they were.
Some areas in the corn are showing a lack of water. This was more pronounced in the 100 degree heat. Now that temps are in the mid 80′s the roots are able to keep up with the demand for water. There is some water if you go deep enough, I just hope it is enough to get the crop to the next rainfall.
Filed under: fish, garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden | Tags: ater garden, butterfly koi, flowers, Koi, Minnesota, plants, pond, water, water lettuce, water lilly, water plants
I’m into year two on my west pond, and things are looking good. Last years pond may have been a little infertile since many plants are doing so much better this year.
Last year the water lettuce and hyacinth, both annuals in northern ponds, were just not growing well. This year they are taking over quickly. The water lilly is doing better as it should in its second year.
The year old koi are really eating up the fish food. Most of the juveniles are changing color, but some may stay black. The butterfly koi are blending right in. They can be identified by their longer fins.
There are a few yellow flowers on the plants under the bridge. I can’t remember the plants name. I added some spiral rush in those pots this spring after the rushes I planted last year died.
I’ve added a few new annuals in the pond side pots that add a bit of new color and texture also.
The thyme growing in the sitting area rocks are really starting to look good also.
The new hibiscus is blooming again as it has come out of transplant shock. I really like these flowers.
So there they are, pictures of the second year of my pond. Hope you enjoyed them.
Filed under: fish, garden, Minnesota, pond, spring, water garden | Tags: day lilly's, frogs, garden, iris, Koi, marsh marigolds, Minnesota, outdoors, plants, pond, sedum, spring, stone cap
It’s a beautiful April First here in Southwestern Minnesota and we are enjoying the warm before the weather turns a little more like April. I went out to check the pond and found the “flat” near the bridge was full of leopard frogs again.
We counted 12 of them before I took the picture, you should be able to see at least 8 of them in this picture. I found over 20 frogs around the pond at various times and they all have their favorite spots. If they don’t like what’s going on around them they jump into the water and head down to a hide out. So far they have been quiet and have not started “singing” to us. Most of the frogs are black with a bit of yellow-green on them, but a couple have started to shift to green.
The Koi are not easy to photograph since most of them are “black” and prefer the deeper water. These three orange one year olds are the easiest to see. There at least 12 more one year olds in “black” (several are visible as grey ellipses in the picture) and three older black ones.
The marsh marigolds are the only bits of color in the pond for now. I’m not sure if any of the other plants will come as the year goes along, but it is nice to see these yellow blooms.
Since I have had the creek running the water has cleared up a lot. It is still a bit brown due to the dead leaves in the bottom, and the brown algae on the rocks, but warmer weather should green things up a bit more.
I added rock steps to make getting into the pond easier this spring. As long as the grandchildren understand that this is a garden and not a swimming pool my plants should be safe. Since Allison and Katelyn are still too young to get to the pond without help, I should be OK for this year.
The sedum, irises and day lilly’s are really starting to green up along the “creek.” The stone cap stayed dusty green all winter long under the snow and is really spreading out over the rocks. All it needed was to have the dead plant material removed to show its color.
I spread some grass seed in a large bare patch and put the sprinkler on it today. That area of the lawn has had issues for years. So far it grows weeds best but I’m hoping with some sturdier varieties I can get it to green up properly.
Filed under: Minnesota, pond, rain, spring, water garden, weather, Wildlife | Tags: frogs, marsh marigold, marsh marigolds, Minnesota, pond, rain, spring, weather
It’s the first day of spring here in southwestern Minnesota and my springtime pond is mostly brown. I’ve cleaned up the dead plant material from around the pond and even cleaned most of the stuff that blew in over the winter off of the bottom. At this time last year we had snow on the ground and frozen water, not so this year.
We’ve broken records for both daytime highs, and high minimum temperatures this week so all of our plants seem to be getting an early start. This year the frogs came off of the bottom to warm in the sunshine of our record warm days. They’ve even found some insects to eat.
Most of the time the frogs dive in when I come into view, but sometimes one that thinks itself hidden better will sit around to be photographed. If one frog dives in there are sure to be many others taking the plunge. They are very dark so far this spring. I’m hoping we’ll see our usual green leopard frogs when the area greens up.
The surprise of the pond today was to see the first blooms on the Marsh Marigolds. This is my first year with these plants so I had not realized that they were such early bloomers. I remember them being in bloom until freeze-up, so I’m expecting a long season of sunny yellow flowers. I do hope they are not so early that they will freeze off before we get into our normal spring-time season.
The rain of the last few days has helped a lot, although we have not gotten much rain, just a few tenths. Right now we are about six inches behind in rainfall and it will take a major shift in the weather patterns to get us back to normal. One thing is for sure, it is hard to be gloomy when the weather is this nice.
Filed under: fish, Minnesota, pond, spring, water garden | Tags: garden, Koi, Minnesota, plants, pond, sedum, spring, warm temperatures, water garden, water plants
It’s March, we should not be having weather this nice, but my pond is greening up so it’s time to get cleaning.
After this mornings fog burned off the weather turned really warm. Temperatures approaching 80 degrees were found in our area. This is unusual for March here in southwestern Minnesota. I was hauling beans in to town, but an oil leak in the engine compartment of the truck meant I needed to add 1 gallon of oil to the truck motor. The truck is now in the shop getting fixed. What to do?
My visits to the pond revealed not only awakening frogs, but new leaves on many of the plants in or near the pond. It’s time for a pond Spring cleaning.
These pond side plants are sending out green shoots. These plants have been here at the waters edge all winter. I started seeing some green here before the ice was completely out of the pond. This is much earlier than would have been possible the last two years.
If you look in the water near the center of the picture you can see one orange baby koi and a few little circles in the water indicating more just under the surface. Last years hatch of koi are checking out the water’s surface for food. I counted three larger koi and at least 19 first years. Too bad that most of them are dark colors.
The plants that normally would grow just under the waters surface had their pots moved to deeper water for the winter. Now they are sending leaves up to the surface. You can see the two pots as green leaves near the center of the picture. Today I moved them to their platforms so they could grow in the place they should. It meant putting on the chest waders so I could go into that COLD water.
Part of the spring pond cleaning is to remove some of the dead plant material from the bottom of the pond. Leaves that blew in last fall started to rot on the bottom of the pond and they make some really good compost. They do tend to take some of the oxygen from the water when they rot so air needs to get mixed into the water either with a bubbler or by pumping water down a “creek” when there is ice on the pond. Not all of the material should be removed from the pond bottom since frogs and turtles need that as a place to hide. You can see the water plant on its shelf in the middle of the pond.
Shore line plant material needs to be removed to keep it from entering the water as they break up. Removing the plant material revealed these sedum starting to come up. There were several other perennial plants starting to green up. There will be more to do if the weather stays warm. As with any garden, this one takes work to keep it nice. Spring is coming!
Filed under: cats, cold, fish, garden, pond, water garden | Tags: cats, flowers, frogs, garden, goldfish, Koi, pond, turtles, water garden
Although some areas near by were affected by the early frost this past week, our ponds remain healthy and blooming. The Sedum is in full bloom and a few other flowers continue to bloom near the pond daily. I was surprised to see the Blackie with a pale purple flower hidden in the leaves one day. Sorry, I missed taking a photo of it.
The baby Koi continue to grow.
Trying to get a picture of them in the water is a challenge. Most of them are just darker spots against the sand bottom. A few have already become colorful, but most are a dark grey to black in color.
It is obvious that we had two hatches since they are of two different sizes. Even the large adults are hard to see in these pictures, so finding the young ones is really a challenge.
Most of the time the baby Koi hang out under the plants, but when I feed them they will come to the surface to grab a chunk. They have a tough time getting the big pieces of food in their mouth, but they try. Mostly they work the bits of algae off of the rocks and floor of the pond for food.
There are still a few frogs around the pond but the weather has been cool and they don’t come out much. I think the cats have been lunching on them.
The Hyacinth are not growing so well in the cooler water of the big Koi pond, but are still thriving in the smaller Goldfish pond. Most of the water plants are slowing down and could use some warmer days.
We only got a few blooms on the water lilly in the Koi pond this year, but rarely missed a day in the Goldfish pond. There is one there yet today. The water lilies seem to prefer to be open when the sun hits them and close up when they are in shade.
I’ve not seen a sign of the turtles since the hatch. I don’t even know if any survived. The old nest was cleaned out by some creature just last week.
There’s the pond news for the week, come by and see them for yourself some time.
Filed under: garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden, Wildlife | Tags: garden, Minnesota, painted turtles, pond, turtle, turtles, water garden
In the early days of our Koi pond our landscaper had brought us some turtles. Those turtles decided to head off for bigger ponds and our pond was turtleless. Later he brought us some turtle eggs which we gently buried near the pond. At that time he told us to expect a September first hatch. As I was walking by the pond just now I looked down to see a bit of turtle shell peeking out of the mulch.
Soon you could see a little turtle checking out the world.
Once he hit the water, he was gone between the rocks in no time at all.
There are three more eggs in the mulch and I can see that they are already split. The babies will go into hiding as they grow larger. When winter comes they will burrow into the sand and silt on the bottom to sleep off the cold months. I’m hoping they will call my pond home for some time. Just another exciting bit of news from the pond.