Monthly Archives: July 2017

Preparing Your Pond For Winter

For any enthusiastic gardener, autumn is a perplexing time. Your arduous work throughout spring and summer begins to fade away, with the promise of next season and another fruitful crop just on the horizon. Pond keepers are no different in this respect; they toil all year to fight off algae blooms and keep their pond in the best condition for its inhabitants, only to be bombarded with algae come spring. The thought of having to cover up the pond, no longer being able to sit around and enjoy it with a cold drink in hand, can be a little sad. However, with a little maintenance during autumn and winter, your pond will be match fit for the first sign of a warm spring day.

The main priority for any pond owner throughout the year is to keep the pond water ‘healthy’. If the water parameters are correct in terms of pH and KH (carbonate hardness), you will provide a healthy environment for aquatic wildlife, fish and beneficial bacteria. It cannot be stressed enough, that without the water parameters being correct, beneficial probiotic bacteria will struggle to deal with the unwanted organics added during autumn & winter that elevate the risk of fish & wildlife death and algae blooms in spring.

Without any care or maintenance over autumn and winter, ponds begin to form a layer of sludge on the bottom from unwanted organics such as leaves, twigs and faecal waste from fish and wildlife. Whilst frogs and newts love to lay in this sludge, if left untreated, it can cause an imbalance in the water, making it poisonous to wildlife and fish by discharging Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) gas from anaerobic bacteria inside the sludge.

Essential Autumn Care Tasks
To prevent an algae bloom in spring, complete these simple tasks during autumn:

Check your water quality

After a spring and summer of algae, acidic rain and fish waste your pH and KH levels will need adjusting. The pH should be between 7 & 8.3 and the KH level should be above 5. You can either buy a quality testing kit, take a sample of water to your local water garden centre or simply use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise the pH at 8, and KH above 5. Pond Equaliser will also remove any ammonia and heavy metals to create a safe and healthy environment for fish, wildlife and beneficial probiotic bacteria.

Add bacteria

Add quality, probiotic bacteria that are capable of working at temperatures lower than 08°C. Use Pond Klear for smaller ponds, Natural Pond Klear for larger natural ponds and Winter Pond Treatment for the colder winter months. Task-specific probiotic bacteria slowly digest any debris and unwanted organics and reduce the toxic H2S levels.

Tend to plants

Prune back any aquatic plants and remove any floating debris from the pond; this debris can be deposited in a compost heap as it is high in nitrogen and other essential nutrients for plant growth. Don’t forget to check for any wildlife that may be hibernating when removing aquatic plants or sludge; newts and frogs will hibernate in sludge and dragonfly larvae can lie dormant in plants for several months. When you remove any debris or plants from a pond, leave them at the side for a couple of hours to allow any wildlife to make its way back to the pond.

Cover up

Cover your pond with a net to catch leaves and twigs; leave gaps around the edge to allow wildlife to get in and out of the pond. The frogs and newts that may be hibernating at the bottom of the pond will be ready and waiting to eradicate slugs and snails in spring.

Put your fish on a diet

Feed fish less as the temperature drops, or consider moving to a low protein food. As temperatures drop, fish eat less, once it gets below a certain temperature they will stop feeding. If you continue feeding them, the wasted food will break down, release nutrients into the water to feed any algae and will add to the layer of sludge at the bottom.

Deep clean

If you have a filter, clean it thoroughly in autumn to remove any algae or debris trapped during summer and clean monthly throughout autumn and winter.

Keep it moving, slowly

Keep pumps and filters running all year; they will continue removing debris and prevent the pond from freezing over. If possible, turn the flow rate down to avoid cooling the water further. If water freezes over, it restricts the available oxygen for fish, and seals in the toxic gases that can be released from decaying organics.

Check your water quality, again…

Most important of all, get the water parameters right to increase the ponds biological self-cleaning ability, as this will reduce the amount of work required, and increase the enjoyment of your pond in spring & summer 2018.

For more information on why ponds go green in spring, read our blog post here.

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Featured Product – SeaFeed Xtra

What Is SeaFeed Xtra?

This weeks featured product is SeaFeed Xtra.
SeaFeed Xtra is not your average seaweed fertiliser. Whilst it may appear to be at first glance, it contains almost double the amount of solid seaweed than its closest competition. We have also added extra micronutrients, extra Urea, extra Iron & extra Amino Acids to really improve the performance or our seaweed fertiliser.
A unique cold press manufacturing process allows SeaFeed Xtra to retain more of the biologically active compounds needed for your plants and produces a more concentrated liquid fertiliser.

How Does SeaFeed Xtra Work?

SeaFeed Xtra provides plants with essential micronutrients to help promote growth and create strong, resilient plants.
As well as containing all the usual nutrients that can be found in seaweed, SeaFeed Xtra contains a unique formulation that improves the plants uptake of nutrients without having to expend any unnecessary energy breaking them down.
It can be applied either by foliar spray, root drench or a combination of both on a wide range of fruit, vegetables, shrubs and lawns.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It…

Two Thirsty GardenersHow To Revive Chilli Plants

Amanda Dobson – Great product have definitely seen the difference to trees and plants, so much so bought more of this product

Michael – Very good product. My pumpkins love it

How to Make Seaweed Fertilizer?

It is very simple to make seaweed fertilizer, simply throw some seaweed around your plants and over time it will break down and release nutrients into the soil surrounding your plants. However, unless you own the beach where you intend to collect the seaweed from, it is against the law to collect your own seaweed without permission. We strongly recommend buying a liquid seaweed fertiliser such as SeaFeed Xtra or buying seaweed from a trusted source.

What Is Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer?

Liquid seaweed fertiliser is a very simple product in theory. Seaweed is pressed and then the concentrate is diluted to produce the liquid fertiliser. Most seaweed fertilisers contain around 1-3% of seaweed and the rest is water and in some products, colouring. SeaFeed Xtra contains 5% solids, added nutrients and our unique nutrient delivery system that enables plants to easily absorb the additional nutrients without exerting any additional energy.

Is Seaweed Fertilizer Good for Plants?

Seaweed has been used for centuries in coastal locations as a natural fertiliser as it is rich in nutrients, it is cheap and because of where it grows, it is very resilient to harsh weather and disease. Seaweed is an excellent source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and up to 60 trace elements, all of which are essential to a plants growth. It also includes amino acids and hormones to accelerate plant growth.
As well as providing essential micronutrients for plant growth, seaweed is great for preventing plant disease by producing strong, resilient plants.

Why Use Seaweed Fertilizer?

As mentioned above, seaweed has a whole host of benefits for your garden, from providing extra nutrients to improve plant growth, to encouraging strong, resilient plants. As well as the above-mentioned benefits seaweed also helps to deter slugs as it can make plants taste saltier, although this change in taste is so small that humans cannot taste it.
We have mentioned the benefits for plants but there are also huge benefits to your soil and compost. Seaweed is excellent in any soil type, but it has an added benefit in clay soil as it helps provide aeration and loosen the clay soil. This allows roots to grow deeper and access more water and nutrients. Using seaweed in your compost pile will speed up the composting process as seaweed is a natural accelerator.

Why Is Your Pond Losing Water

Why Is My Water Level Dropping?

We can probably rule out the baby emptying your pond! But lets have a look at some of the common causes of water loss.

Pond water levels dropping is a common problem that many pond owners come across and at first can seem quite worrying. Naturally, everybody’s first thoughts are “I have a leak in my pond” and “there must be a rip in the pond liner”. However, only about 5% of suspected leaks turn out to be leaks, so don’t panic just yet!

There are a few different reasons that could be causing the water levels to drop and we will go through them below so that you can diagnose what is causing your water to disappear.

Evaporation

This is the most common reason for water levels dropping although it may not seem possible as water levels can drop more than 1 inch per day. Depending on the time of year and where your pond is located in the garden, if it is exposed to long amounts of direct sunlight it is possible for significant amounts of water to evaporate.

Pond Plants

Depending on what plants you keep in your pond and what time of year they flower, this can also contribute highly to water loss. If you have plants that bloom during the summer months they will need to absorb high levels of water, couple this with the natural evaporation in summer months and it is easy to see how water levels can drop.

Splashes

If you have a waterfall, water feature or fountain pond pump in your pond setup, these could be the culprit to your disappearing water. If they are not perfectly aligned, they can splash or spray small amounts of water out of your pond. Spend a couple of minutes watching your waterfall, feature or fountain to see if you can see any obvious water splashes. If you see any splashes, adjust any rocks to direct water or change the flow rate to keep splashes to a minimum.

Leaking Pipework

Check all fastenings on pump pipework. These can sometimes be made of brittle plastic that overtime will degrade and possibly crack or split causing small leaks in pipework joints. If you do spot a leak around the filter box, try and diagnose where it is coming from and replace the part.

All the above reasons can contribute to the loss of water in a pond and unfortunately it is something that is likely to happen throughout the year. Where possible, top your pond up with water collected in a water butt, if this is not possible, use tap water. Either way, we recommend using Pond Equaliser to remove any harmful chemicals and stabilise the added water.