Tag Archives: bacteria

The Do’s & Don’ts For Ponds

Pond keeping can be a mind field when it comes to knowing what you can and can’t do to achieve algae free, crystal clear water. One ‘expert’ will tell you to do this, another ‘expert’ will tell you to do that and suddenly it all becomes a very confusing, tangled web of conflicting information.

We are not claiming to be experts but we do know a lot about bacteria and how it thrives in ponds. Therefore, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you create the perfect water conditions in your pond, keep algae at bay and maintain a balanced eco system.

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product on a regular basis.
Beneficial, aerobic bacteria is the foundation to any ponds eco system, it keeps algae at bay by eliminating any excess nutrients in the pond, prevents sludge from becoming anaerobic and releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide into the pond and helps prevent fish illnesses.
Bacteria needs to be topped up regularly. As with any living organism, it only has a certain lifespan and once it has died, it needs replacing.

DO use a hosepipe to wash your filters.
This is a very conflicting point within the pond industry but at Envii we recommend using a hosepipe to wash filters. The chlorine that is found in tap water is only present as a trace element and the amount that is left behind on the filters is so small that it will have a very insignificant effect on the bacteria that is present in the pond.
By using pond water to wash your filters, you will remove a lot more of the bacteria that is present in the pond and then have to replace the pond water with tap water.

DO check your water parameters on a regular basis.
Although your water may look clear, it may not be the quality, healthy water that your fish need. Check your water parameters every couple of weeks to ensure your pH, KH, ammonia and other levels are where they should be. If you don’t know what your water parameters should be, have a read of our Water Parameters post. Water parameters can change rapidly and can have severe consequences on your fish.
If you find that your water parameters are not where they should be, use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise them and create the perfect water conditions for your fish.

DO ask for technical advice.
Nobody wants to buy a product that they think is going to solve their problem, only to find out that they have purchased the wrong product or not used it correctly. We provide expert advice not only for our products, but for any other pond query either by email or phone. So, take advantage of us and give us a call!

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product all year.
We hear from more and more people every week who had a crystal-clear pond in winter that suddenly went green in spring. Algae won’t grow below 8°C which is why ponds look good during winter. However, bacteria also die when it gets below a certain temperature and with a lack of algae to feed on, come spring their numbers have decreased drastically. The depleted number of bacteria, coupled with the rise in temperature in spring quickly results in an algae bloom that will turn your water green.
Treat your pond with Winter Pond Treatment during the colder months to keep bacteria present in the pond and prevent an algae bloom in spring.

DO keep your pumps and filters running all year.
A lot of pond owners decide that once the temperature drops, the pumps should be turned off as the pond can no longer be enjoyed. However, by turning the pumps off, you will be creating problems that will not show themselves until spring. During winter, a lot of debris falls in to ponds and starts to break down. If this debris is not cleared out, it releases excess nutrients into the water that algae will feed on when spring arrives.
Keep your pump and filter running to remove any of this debris and keep the water moving.

DON’T empty your pond and start again.
One common misconception when a pond is struggling with algae or green water is to empty all the water out, clean the pond and refill it. However, this is possibly the worst thing to do in this situation. By removing all the water, you also remove any of the beneficial bacteria that was in the pond. When the pond is refilled it is filled with what is technically sterile water that contains chlorine, toxic heavy metals and little to no bacteria. Initially, the pond appears to be in a very good condition as the sterile water stays clear for a few weeks but then quickly turns green due to the lack of bacteria available to fight off any algae spores.
If for some reason you do have to empty your pond, introduce a bacterial product as soon as you have refilled to introduce bacteria into the pond straight away.

DON’T remove blanket weed whilst it is still alive
The most obvious thing to do when you see blanket weed appearing in your pond is to pull it out and throw it away. If you have ever done this, you will know that within days, the blanket weed reappears and you begin the cycle again.
If you remove blanket weed when it is still alive (green) the strands tear and release new spores back into the water.
Ensure that any blanket weed you remove has been killed first by using Blanketweed Klear. For more information on blanket weed, read our post on How to Get Rid of Blanket Weed.

DON’T change your filters
If your filters are getting dirty when using a bacterial product, it is because your pond is dirty. You should only clean the filters, not change them.
Bacteria anchor themselves on to the filters and digest any algae or sludge that gets caught. If you change the filters, you remove all the beneficial bacteria that has been added to the filters.
If you have to change your filters, be sure to apply a bacterial product directly to the new filters.

DON’T introduce plants without leaching out fertiliser
When buying plants to add into your ponds, the easiest place to buy them from is the local garden centre. However, these plants are grown in fertilisers that aim to speed up the growing process to allow the garden centres to sell them quicker. If these plants are added straight into the pond, the fertiliser leaches out and in to the pond, harming the beneficial bacteria.
Before adding plants to the pond, put them in a bucket of water for 7-10 days and change the water every day. This will leach out the fertiliser and they will then be safe to add to the pond. For more information on pond plants, read our post Should I Keep Aquatic Plants.

DON’T feed fish during winter
As the temperature starts to drop in autumn, you should consider changing over to a high protein food for your fish. When winter begins, stop feeding your fish all together. Fish don’t feed throughout winter, so the food that is thrown into the pond will break down and release nutrients into the pond to feed any algae spores when the temperatures rise.

DON’T allow your pond to freeze over completely during winter
You should avoid letting your pond freeze over during winter at all costs. If the pond does freeze over completely, it will create an air tight seal that will not allow any oxygen to enter the pond or any toxic gases to leave the pond. If this continues for an extended period, it may result in fish death. For more tips on caring for your pond in winter read our Preparing Pond for Winter post.

DON’T overstock the pond
It is very easy to overstock a pond, after all, who wants a clear pond and only two fish to look at. However, if a pond contains too many fish it can have a big effect on the water quality in the pond. Fish produce a lot of waste; this waste gives off ammonia which can in turn raise the pH in the pond and lead to illness or death among the fish.
As a rule of thumb it is recommended that a pond has 55cm of fish per 1,000 litres. The average fish size in UK ponds is around 6 inches so this would equate to 3-4 fish per 1,000  litres.

Do's & Don'ts Infographic

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The New Way To Protect Your Plants From British Weather

British weather is some of the most changeable in the world. While we don’t have a lot of ‘extreme’ weather, it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict, which can make life very difficult for gardeners.

That’s why we have so many physical methods of protecting our plants. Plant blankets for cover in the winter and greenhouse shading and water irrigation in the summer are a few of the most popular methods. But it’s always been hotly debated as to how well these methods really work.

Click here to read – Why greenhouse shading isn’t the best option for your plants.

This is why we have developed a range of products that can protect your plants from unpredictable weather more efficiently. We know that by bringing out certain qualities in plants, we can help them to help themselves by managing their natural reaction to stressful situations.

Here’s an example – When a plant is subject to high temperatures its natural reaction is to wilt and abort its flowers in a last ditch attempt to survive. This happens because the plant can’t get enough moisture from the soil in order to cope with the high temperatures.

This adds up to the risk of your plants dying when a sudden hot spell comes along.

However, by changing the plant’s natural reaction to heat stress you can save them from this fate. Envii Chill Out reprograms the plant’s natural reaction by redirecting a plant’s growth into its roots rather than growing upwards and suppresses the gene that makes a plant abort flowers and shoots. This means that when high temperatures come along, the plant has a much larger source of water and nutrients to survive on. Then, when the temperature drops to a normal level, the plant automatically returns to its normal growth and development.

The product was initially designed for glasshouses in the Middle East where temperatures soar to over 40°C. Then, having been extensively tested by the University of Nottingham, we decided to launch it to amateur and professional gardeners alike. This means that, without the need for complicated water irrigation systems, unreliable shading or constant tending, gardeners can grow their plants without the risk of them dying from heat stress.

For more information or to buy Chill Out, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed & Protect – BBC Radio 2’s Terry Walton Endorsement

You might remember back in March, Terry Walton (BBC Radio 2’s Allotment/Gardening Expert) gave Early Starter a great endorsement.

Well since then he’s been trying out some of our other amazing gardening probiotics.

Here’s what he had to say about Feed & Protect, our two-in-one plant food and slug repellent.

 

” I am well-known for my vegetable growing but I do grow flowers; notably sweet peas to tempt pollinating insects to my plot. But I have a secret agenda in growing these and that is to please my wife with a fragrant bouquet of these brilliant flowers when I am late back from the plot!

They are however not the easiest plants to grow and are a delicacy for slugs and snails. Also they succumb to diseases and aphids very quickly.

I received a tub of Envii Feed and Protect and this looked like a solution to many of my sweet pea problems.  When they were planted out I watered them with a solution of this product and they grew vigorously. I was sceptical of its claim to ward off slugs and snails due to making its foliage distasteful to these munching molluscs!

I haven’t tasted its foliage myself, but there is no doubt that its leaves have not been ‘nibbled’.

The plants are watered every ten days with Envii Feed & Protect and I must say they are the healthiest sweet peas I have ever grown. The flowers are just appearing and I have had no bud drop this year which is a bonus.

The product also meets my ethos of organic gardening and there are no dead poisoned bodies of slugs to affect the wild life in my area.

This certainly looks the answer to my prayers for this crop and I will certainly try it out on my vulnerable vegetable crops.”

Another big thanks to Terry Walton for his endorsements!

Click here for more information on Feed & Protect. 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

6 Tips To Prepare Your Pond For Spring

Remove debris 

Use a net or pond vacuum to clean the debris from the top of the pond. Any organic material left in the pond will decay and cause algae problems like green water and sludge. Removing it is the first line of defence against algae problems. It’s also worth clearing the surrounding area to prevent anything blowing into the pond.

Move fish back into the pond 

If you’ve moved your fish into a temporary tank during the winter, now is the time to get them back in the pond. It’s important to ensure the temperature of the tank is within 1°C of the pond temperature.

Clip back and trim plants 

Spring is the best time to have a general tidy up of the pond area. Overgrowth can be a large factor in an imbalance in the pond system.

Feed fish 

You can start feeding your fish again at temperatures of 10°C and higher.

Start treating your pond 

The earlier you can start treating your pond the better. Envii’s pond products work as low as 4°C which means you can get started earlier in the spring and treat later into the autumn. Giving the bacteria longer to establish will greatly increase the chances of keeping your pond clear and healthy. Click here for more information.

Clean your filters 

Most bacterial water treatments will dislodge any algae or sludge and it will get sucked into the filter. If the filter gets clogged it will stop filtering the water and become completely useless. It’s important to clean them regularly for water treatments to work efficiently.

Thanks for reading

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5 simple tips to get the best from your bacterial pond treatments

Check the water temperature

Many bacteria treatments only work in water temperatures of 10°C and above so it’s important to make sure your water is at a temperature where the bacteria can function. Envii’s pond treatments work as low as 4°C which means you can treat earlier in the spring and later into autumn.

Let it sit in a bucket of pond water

Bacterial products are supplied in a dormant state. By adding them to a clean bucket of POND water and letting them sit for 1-2 hours, you are allowing them to ‘wake up’. This will also make it easier to distribute the product evenly when it comes to putting it in the pond.

Keep your bucket of water warm

Warm water allows bacteria to wake up faster. Putting the bucket in direct sunlight or in a greenhouse/conservatory will increase performance dramatically.

Clean your filters!

We can’t stress this one enough! You should clean your filters before using pond treatments and then clean them every few days. Bacteria will loosen any solid matter in the pond which means it will get sucked into the filter. As the filter gets dirtier it will clog and stop filtering the water.

Don’t add any nutrients

We’ve seen someone suggest this but it’s terrible advice! A nutrient will help the bacteria grow but it will also feed the decaying matter that you are trying to get rid of. Let the bacteria do its job!

For more information visit www.bio8.co.uk

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5 Simple Tips To Prepare Soil for Spring

Failing to prepare soil before planting is one of the most common mistakes made by beginner gardeners. Don’t worry if you’ve done it you’re not alone! All it takes is a little time and effort and your soil will be extra fertile.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get your soil ready for a bountiful harvest this year!

 

Dig, lift and turn!

Follow this procedure and you can’t go far wrong. By loosening and turning the soil you are allowing more air to get to it which is essential for good root growth.

Add manure, fertiliser or compost to your top soil

Manure, fertiliser and compost are full of nutrients that make the growing medium far more fertile. Here’s a post we wrote on improving multi-purpose compost.

Add ‘good’ bacteria

Using a probiotic soil improver like Envii Foundation will populate the soil with ‘good’ bacteria. This will have a massive effect on the success of your plants. Foundation also creates a force-field around your plant’s roots which protects from diseases.
Give it time

Spend two or three weeks preparing your soil. Turn it over and leave for a week then add manure fertiliser or compost. Leave it for another week then add Envii Foundation and give it one more week till planting. This should give the ‘good’ bacteria and nutrients time to establish in the soil.

Prepare for next year

When all is said and done and the season is over, it’s time to prepare for next spring. Dig, lift and turn your soil and then add a probiotic soil improver to condition it. This should also compost any plant roots and debris left over.

Visit our website at www.bio8.co.uk 

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A look at Envii Feed and Protect.

This week I’m going to talk about one of our favourite products – Feed and Protect. It’s a product that we supply so admittedly my view is a little biased but I will link you to some other bloggers who have written about it over the summer to even the playing field.

What is it?

Feed and Protect is, in layman’s terms, a plant food that repels slugs and snails. It’s made up of a concentrated selection of micro-nutrients which act in the same way as a foliar feed but, by pure chance, it also makes the plants extremely distasteful to slugs and snails. This makes Feed and Protect unique in the market as it essentially acts as an all-in-one plant treatment.

Where did it come from?

We don’t actually make Feed and Protect here at Envii. In fact, we came across it whilst talking to our partners in industrial agriculture; they were using it on vast fields of crops where a high yield is essential to their profit margins. Being gardeners ourselves, we knew that there wasn’t anything else like it on the market – because we’d be buying it! The only problem was that it came in 1 tonne sacks, so we asked them if we could re-package it in more manageable quantities and sell it to the home and garden market.

What else do I need to know?

Well, there are two other main selling points to tell you about. Firstly, it’s a natural product; all the ingredients are naturally occurring and it doesn’t contain any chemicals. Secondly, it’s safe for pets; this is a big one for a lot of our customers as so many people are concerned about putting slug pellets down on the ground and having their beloved pets eat them up.

Don’t just take our word for it!

feed-and-protect-lettuce-test-crop

 

Earlier this year we sent out samples of Feed and Protect to various people in the industry. Here are links to two bloggers who wrote product reviews about it.

John Harrison

http://allotment-garden.org/garden-diary/3665/pro-biotics-the-new-wave/

Alison Levey

http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2015/08/product-review-envil-feed-and-protect.html

Soon we’ll be selling Feed and Protect direct from our website but in the meantime it’s available on Amazon and eBay.

Thanks for reading.

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