Allotment tasks – planting a pond

There’s any number of reasons for having a pond on an allotment:

It’s good for wildlife, and that means pollinating insects will be taking up residence on your plot – good for producing lots of crops

It helps create a microclimate – while irrigating plants is important for growth, it’s not the whole story; many plants need water in the form of mist or vapour and respond to various climatic cues such as dew falling and rising, which allow the plant to know whether it should be preparing for ‘rest’ or readying itself for photosynthesis. Having open water also reduces the amount of water you need to use around plant roots from a hose or watering can as plants can draw water from the atmosphere as well as the ground.

A well set up and mature pond (say three to five years old) should be a self sustaining eco-system: the water should provide enough miniscule aquatic life to keep fish healthy. Of course if your pond is younger than that, or smaller than say two metres across and four feet deep, you will need to keep feeding fish between late April and October because the water probably won’t be rich enough to sustain fish life. Remember though, that on an allotment, wildlife in the form of snails and insects, water beetles, pond skaters and who knows what, will all turn up as they migrate, get blown onto your plot, or arrive in the treads of wheelbarrows or on the soles of other people’s shoes as they pass by. You need to keep it filled with rainwater, because the chlorine in tapwater is very bad for fish.

So that’s me, pondering Maurice’s pond, which has to go into the ground in the next few weeks, and wondering how long it will take to fill with rainwater.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Anonymous Simon Kirby said...

Hi. Ponds on allotments are great for wildlife, and frogs and toads are great for allotments! I just put a pond on my allotment. I have a pond at home with goldfish, and that's pretty good for wildlife with dragonflies and such, but fish skew the balance badly so the allotment pond has no fish and is just for the wildlife, frogs and newts especially. My home pond is 2' deep and the bog-standard goldfish breed happily in there. I never feed the fish and that's important to keep the water sweet.

I favour a flexible liner because you can rake the margins very shallow so that hedgehogs and such can get out, and the birds love to bathe in the shallows.

On the allotment I put a rustic fence around the pond to keep the kids safe - I think that's quite important.

March 24, 2008 at 3:34 PM  

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