Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mid-May Update

I thought I should update how things are going, since it's been about a month. First, we still don't have any tilapia. The word from Foster Lake and Pond Management is that they don't have their tilapia in yet, 'cause of the colder weather this spring. They were confident that they would be in soon, and they'll be larger than usual, so there should still be enough time to grow them out to plate size before it gets too cold this spring.

Sometime soon after my April post, we had a torrential rain that eroded out the mound that the upper bog was sitting on, 'causing it to slant. It was not level enough to use, so I had to empty out all the gravel and re-level. I decided at that point to just run the outflow directly into the pipe that spills back into the pond instead of filtering it through the second bog. Everything's working great now, but I lost all my plants in the upper bog.

As you can see from the photos below, though, we bought some tomato, pepper, and squash seedlings, and they seem to be doing OK. Note also that the lower bog lettuce is coming in, and some tomatoes from seed are also coming in. I think that they aren't getting quite enough nutrients from the two fish that are living in the pond (oh yeah, one of the koi died mysteriously. he was always a little sickly from day 1).

soybeans, lettuce, small tomatoes are original. squash, large tomatoes from seedling

what you don't see clearly here in the upper bog are the little cucumber seedlings coming up from an extra packet of cucumber seeds we had in the house. there are some little pepper seedlings hanging on, as well.

trying their hardest to poop enough for all the plants!

The plants in the pond are doing amazingly well. Considering that they were dormant and kind of runty looking, they have truly gone through a miraculous transformation. Below, you can see what one month meant to a bog arum. And, we were fortunate enough to get one of our iris versicolor's to bloom. For a larger version of that photo, click here.

Next update after the tilapia go in. It will be interesting to see what happens, as the pond system is in a nice equilibrium right now. The water is crystal clear. Many of the plants are yellowing, so I believe they need more nutrients (and soon!), but for now, everything appears to be surviving. I anticipate that once the fish are in, the yellowing will stop and the growing will increase. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pond costs

I thought I would share just how much this pond cost, not including time and labor or electricity for running the pond pump (~100 watts/24 hours a day), just so you can get an idea of the amount of effort and money required for set up. I'll also estimate yearly operating costs.

- Landscaping (plants, dirt, etc.): $1756 (48% of the cost)
*$1366 of that was for rocks/gravel - all delivered
- Pond/bog construction (liner, skimmer, plumbing, electrical, bog tubs, caulk, etc.): $1353 (37% of the cost)
- Pumps/filters: $276 (7% of the cost)
*I bought a backup pump and replacement filters, in addition to current one)
- Fish, fish food, meters, nutrient additives: $307 (8% of the cost)

Grand total: $3692

Annually, you'll need to buy new fish, fish food, nutrients, some plumbing/caulk for leak fixes, filters. I imagine that will be no more than $500, but I'll keep track and document after one year has passed.