Monday, January 25, 2010

Update on winter

Sorry, no photos today, but I wanted to update on the trout.

First, I need to report that we went through 2-3 weeks of extremely cold weather, with night time temps often below 20 degrees. I didn't lose any fish, but my plants suffered badly. There were whole plants that were basically turned into little vegi-sicles from the water coming out of the pond freezing upon contact with the plant. The upper 2 inches of the clay hydroton was frozen solid like permafrost. The arugula and cilantro took it in stride, but the broccoli was wilting badly. I cut off all the wilted leaves, and with the more moderate temperatures the past week, they seem to be recovering. We'll see. Obviously, this would not happen with a proper greenhouse, especially if it were heated.

Now, back to the trout. I was wrong when I said they don't feed in the cold! It has much more to do with the timing of things, though even this can be inconsistent. I will say that they don't feed as much in the dark (after sunset). But if it's warm, they may feed no matter what time of day it is. Second, I've discovered that they're much more shy of my presence that the koi ever were. If I go anywhere near the pond, they spook and don't really feed much at all. But, if I stand about 10 feet back and lob the food into the pond, they go NUTS! They really attack the pellets, some jumping cleanly out of the water. It's really awesome to watch!

All in all, I really enjoy having the trout in the pond. They are much more fun than the koi at feeding time! There's one fish, though, that insists on sitting in the skimmer, right above the pump. I'm not even sure how he gets in there, 'cause there's a net to trap leaves at the entrance to the skimmer. But, since I often forget to check the skimmer for leaves, he probably spend 2-3 days in there at times, just swimming against the current and waiting for the odd pellet of food to get sucked in!

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