Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wake up the Water Plants
Its April 1, which means - time to wake up the water plants that have been in cold, icy water all winter. The greenhouse gets to +20 in the daytime, just through natural solar heating, but the evenings will still drop to -10 to -15. Time to turn on the night time heat! The ponds are all thawed in the greenhouse, and with the thawing comes plant growth.  I decided today to set up a micro Biofalls in one of the heated ponds to filter the water and help clean up the sludge that has accumulated in the pond over the winter.
Check list:
1. Check submersible pump - does the impeller turn easily? Check!
2. Make sure the pump is connected to the biofall? Check!
3. Place pump in pond, as far away from the biofall as possible. Check!
4. Place filters in the biofall and place it at the edge of the pond. Check!
5. Plug in the pump and wait for water to fill the biofall and spill back in pond. Check!

But wait ... there is water spilling out of the bottom of the biofall through the loose bulkhead fitting at the back of the biofall - not good!

Reverse step 5 and 4, empty the biofall, and try hand-tightening the nut on the bulkhead fitting.
Hands aren't strong enough - look for humungeous pipe wrench and carefully tighten the nut.
Repeat steps 4 & 5.
Looks good ... but... there is still a small trickle of water coming out of the bulkhead fitting.

Get a sheet of plastic, put it under the biofall, curl the backend to channel the water back into the pond, and wait until someone with stronger hands shows up!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Northern Tropical Water Lily Babies

Northern Tropical Water Lily Adventure in Alberta - March 17, 2011
I was ecstatic to see that the tropical water lily bulbs that I had managed to store through the winter, were actually starting to sprout. My storage method was one that I had learned from attending a seminar given by Ken Landon at the 2010 IWGS conference in Texas. I decided to plant the sprouting bulbs in covered plastic cups and in a plastic salad container with a lid, thus kicking off my Northern Water Lily adventure on February 7th, 2011. No high tech here! The majority of my bulbs sprouted and grew successfully in a light soil medium. I added Microbelift Ensure to the water to supply nutrient to the little sprouts.

Albert Greenberg was my biggest success story, filling its cup with lots of leaves and starting to become root-bound within 38 days. I was able to separate the little plantlets, and ended up with 5 plants from the small tuber shown in the picture to the right.

Moonbeam was also thriving in its makeshift planting tray, but didn't produce as many shoots as Albert G. Although the tuber is quite large, it only produced 2 plantlets (far right), so I removed the larger plant, and left the smaller one which had just a few roots, attached to the tuber and placed it back in its tray to continue growing. Ostara also grew very well, and is continuing to produce small sprouts. I also have Laura Frase and Avalanche started.
Each of the plantlets is planted in a 4" square pot lined with newspaper (bio-degradable paper & ink is canola based), and filled with sand. All pots contain a very small piece of an Agritab, and are in an aquarium heated to 75C.
My next puzzle is what do I do with the original tubers? Do I plant it or do I put it back in storage?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What do fish do in winter?

Absolutley Nothing!
These Koi and Goldfish are spending the winter in an unheated pond in our greenhouse, which is also unheated. The pond contains double 9" aeration disk, run by a small Hakko aerator. This supplies sufficient movement to the water to prevent the pond from freezing solid in the winter time. It also prevents gases released from any decaying or decomposing material from building up. The air temperature in the greenhouse is minus 10. When it was minus 25 a few weeks ago, we plugged in a floating heater for a day or 2 to melt the ice that was forming on the surface.
The fish are motionless at the moment, as there are no water currents that would cause them to have to use their fins, which in turn, also preserves the body fat they built up by consuming a large amont of food in the summer time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Texas White List is Expanding

The Texas White List is a list of aquatic plants that are permitted to be grown in Texas. This impacts exports to other States and into Canda. The list started off with very few aquatic plants being permitted, among them, most varieties of Nymphaea. The concern has also been that if ine state is successful in restricting the growing of these aquatic plants, more states would follow suit.

Rolf Nelson, president of IWGS has just shared the news that ALL Nymphaea species have been put on the Approved List (white list) in Texas. This means that growers in Texas can grow, sell,and possess any and all Nymphaea species and their hybrids.

However, the Ineligible Species List still contains many aquatic plants we all enjoy having in our water gardens, such as Colocasia esculenta, Hydrocleys nymphoides, Juncus inflexus, Ludwigia sedioides, Mentha aquatica, Typha laxmannii and Typha minima.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hyacinths Spawn Goldfish

I have always recognized that hyacinths are very beneficial in a water garden, but transplanting goldfish eggs was not on my list of benefits for this little plant. Each fall, I am amazed at the number of little goldfish that I am finding in my growing tanks and ponds that have never had goldfish in them. I have also had customers return little goldfish to me that they find in their ponds at seasons end, and haven't the heart to allow them to freeze into a 'fishsicle'.

Where did these little goldfish come from? It all links back to the roots of the hyacinths. I have hyacinths around in my goldfish and koi pond, and I switch them into different ponds to allow their roots to rejuvenate. Apparently these roots have unhatched goldfish eggs on them, and when they go into a pond that has no fish in it, the eggs hatch and the little fish survive.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Aeration for a winter pond

Its time to think about how the goldfish and trout are going to survive the winter. Our trout and most of our goldfish winter outside in a large dugout, which we aerate with a vertex compressor system. The compressor provides air to four 9" air diffuser disks which produce very fine streams of air bubbles into the water. The air disks are connected to the compressor on shore by means of a weighted bottom line hose. The force of the air flow from these air disks will keep a hole open in the ice, even in our cold -20 to -30 temperatures.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Freeze Up

What a disappointment. First day of fall, and we have already had a hard frost in the Edmonton area. The flowers in the flowerbeds are all a wilted looking black colour, as are many of the hardy aquatic plants. Its funny that the water lily pads don't seem to suffer from the same effects of a hard frost. Perhaps its because the lily pads are floating on the water and that takes the frost out of the leaves. What do you think?