Tag Archives: autumn

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.

Probiotics for your garden – The good bacteria

At Envii, we often talk about ‘Probiotics for your garden’. In the last ten years or so, everyone’s seen those incessant TV adverts about probiotics, the good bacteria (Yakult, Actimel etc), but what do we mean when referring to our garden? Well pretty much the same to be honest. We mean that we are adding beneficial bacteria to our growing mediums… and we all know how important healthy growing mediums are.

Last week, I posted about how to improve compost and at the end I shamelessly plugged our Foundation product. Well, I’m about to do it again! Envii Foundation is really what we are talking about when we say probiotics. By adding it to our soil or compost we’re counteracting any common pathogens and restoring the soil’s natural balance. This is why we’ve seen such dramatic results in early plant growth, as you can see in the picture underneath.

onion-carrots-and-parsnips

Not caring for your growing medium is one of the most common mistakes made by amateur gardeners. By getting the natural balance correct, half the battle is already won.

The picture below shows the difference between two pea plants from last season. The plants were kept in a greenhouse, fed and watered the same and planted in exactly the same compost. The only difference being that the one on the left was treated with Foundation. This again shows how effective it can be.

peas-planted-31st-may-photo-30th-june-2015

Click here to visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for reading.

Autumn leaves

My drive into the office this morning was different. Same route, same car, same tunes but something had changed. Something that I might have subconsciously noticed because of the date – autumn has arrived. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly pessimistic at the brown leaves on the pavement and mention of September on Radio 2. Anyway, it got me thinking of the preparation necessary for the inevitable cold months ahead. I know what you’re thinking, stop banging on about winter just because you’ve turned the page on the calendar, but it’s important, especially to us gardeners.

Autumn is a time for preparation – if you fail to prepare for winter, you’ll create yourself twice as much work next year. Here’s a list of jobs you need to get done before the frost comes in –

  • Make sure your tender plants are under cover
  • Pick tomatoes
  • Feed soil
  • Plant or move evergreens and conifers
  • Plant spring bedding and bulbs

There is also some myth that the planting season is over; which simply isn’t true. September can be an excellent time for planting – whether in preparation for the next season or even to harvest before winter. These plants are still worth a go –

  • Broad beans and peas – these plants will establish themselves over winter which means they will flower and fruit early and increase your yield. It may be necessary to fleece them, depending on how cold the winter is.
  • Garlic – garlic is one of those rare plants that can be planted anytime during the winter.
  • Leafy vegetables – many vegetables with lots of large leaves can be planted and harvested during autumn.

Watch this space for more tips on autumn and winter gardening. All is not lost!

Click here to visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Image by joiseyshowaa