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Overwintering the Garden Pond

October 28th, 2011

If you remember, we have a small garden pond that we put in last spring. It used to reside in my parent’s garden, until they replaced it with a much larger pond. We put fish in it last year, which promptly all got the ick and died. They were replaced with fish from my parents pond that survived for quite a while, then died right before winter.

This spring we put 10 small feeder goldfish in the pond; they all survived. Now I’m wondering if I need to put a small heater in the pond for winter. My parents always had fish survive in the pond, but they had a spring running into it which kept it from freezing. I know it doesn’t freeze through to the bottom because my water lily survives, but I’m wondering if the fish will survive.

Does anyone have any advice for me on what to do with this pond over the winter? heater, on heater? We live in a zone 5a, so it can get pretty cold in the winter.

What zone is your garden in? Do you deal with cold or heat as your most extreme temperature?

Tiny Toads

June 9th, 2011

I’ve been watching the pond daily and keeping track of the growth of the toad poles. There are hundreds if not thousands in there. There may be some frogs as well, I haven’t been able to tell yet if any of the tadpoles are frogs. It truly is amazing how a small 70 gallon pond will increase the biodiversity in your garden and capture your interest as well.


I’ve been watching these little guys since they were about the size of a grain of rice. Now they’re the size of a very large pea. About a week ago I noticed that they started getting legs and yesterday I noticed a few of them had started to lose their tails and were crawling out of the water.

Soon my garden will be overrun with tiny toads. Many of them will become food for birds but a few will survive to wage war on the slugs and other insects in the garden.

Any interesting thing in your garden you’re keeping an eye on? rabbit or bird nest? insect eggs?

The Garden Pond

August 31st, 2010

If you remember we put in a small garden pond earlier this summer and stocked it with goldfish from the pet store. The gold fish all got Ich and died, which is common with pet store fish. Since my parents already have 2 ponds at their house that are stocked with goldfish that are healthy and naturalized to ponds, we decided to catch a couple of theirs for our pond. Mr Chiots got out my dad’s casting net and netted us a few little fish.

These fish are thriving now and making sure our pond stays free of mosquito larvae. The water lily we planted in the pond is doing well, it won’t bloom this year, hopefully next year we’ll see some beautiful blooms. Perhaps we’ll get some frogs to move in as well.


The garden that surrounds the pond isn’t quite finished yet. I have to decide which low growing plants to put in front of it among the rocks, I want to get this finished by the end of September.

I moved one of my favorite plants to the pond garden, it’s a Golden Variegated Hakone Grass. It’s thriving in it’s new location. I’d love to have much more of this beautifully plant in my garden! It glows beautifully in the shady corner of the pond and drapes gracefully over the rocks. I can’t wait until it had reached it’s mature size.

The garden around the pond is also filled with: goat’s beard, ‘Francis Williams’ and another smaller variegated hosta, and mint. I’m considering some wooley creeping thyme for the area in front the pond or perhaps some short golden sedum that I have in the front flowerbed.

Any great suggestions for low-growing plants? Do you have a favorite plant that in the garden?

Our Little Pond

May 22nd, 2010

The little pond in the garden is really starting to come together. We installed it a two weeks ago and last weekend we got some fish for it. We spent a day this past weekend planting some hostas, hakone grass and goat’s beard around it. I still have some rocks to place around the front edge and I need to find a few small plants around the garden to finish off the front part and then it will be done!

I was hoping to work on it yesterday but spent the entire day at my mom & dad’s house. I still worked in the garden, just not my own. I worked the edible garden over there, weeding the onions and planting a few more potatoes. I also dug up some lilies, mallow, and fennel to plant over here and I got some cuttings from their neighbor’s hydrangea vine. I’m giving my mom a few of our shrub roses in return.

Even though the pond isn’t finished, the fish seem to be really enjoying it. We thought a few of them had been eaten by coons, but we’ve counted all 10 in the past few days. We put a few big rocks in the bottom and a few smaller ones around the edges to give them a place to hide. If all ten are alive in a month or two we will move 5-6 of them to one of my parents big ponds, our tiny pond won’t support 10 fish.

We’re enjoying having the pond in the garden. We can see it from the bedroom window and from the front porch. I’m always stopping to watch the fish as I’m out and about doing chores. They’re very relaxing and soothing. I’d encourage everyone to install a small water feature in their gardens!

Have you ever thought about installing a small pond in your garden?

Update on the Garden Pond

May 15th, 2010

Last week I told you about the new pond we were adding to the garden. We’re quite excited about it and were waiting for the right time to fill it! I didn’t want to use city water and I wasn’t about to use the water from my rain barrels until I knew some rain was on it’s way. Last Friday night was the night, we were out at midnight emptying our rain barrels into the pond since a huge rain storm was coming. On Monday I went out to plant a waterlily in the pond and I spotted two toads already enjoying our new water feature! (more on planting a waterlily later).

When you live a half hour from everything, you always plan your errands on the same day to save time. Yesterday we decided to spend the day Holden Arboretum with my parents and figured we’d stop by the pet store on the way home to buy some gold fish for our little pond.

We didn’t want to invest in expensive koi, especially since these cheap feeder goldfish often do better. They will help control mosquitoes and provide some beauty in the pond. We’re hoping at least 3-5 of them survive (we bought 10), I’ll keep you updated.


We arrived home at sunset with just enough time to float them in the water for 30 minutes before setting them free. Of course it was too dark to take photos them. I can’t wait to check on them today!

Anyone else have experience with fish in a small garden pond? Anything new and exciting going on in your garden?

The Seed Starting 101 Series will resume next Monday.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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