The perfect “nightcap” to your summer garden might not be what you imagine. As you move into the autumn, it’s important to stay on top of deadheading, collect those ripe (and over-ripened) fruits and veggies, and maybe engage in some soil treatment or early mulching to prep for the cold weather. However, it’s also the perfect time to consider adding a water featureadding a water feature to your display—a fountain, pond or other accessory can help maximize your Zen at the end of the hot season. |
For many gardeners, the idea of a water feature sounds great, but the potential upkeep can be off-putting. You already spend a lot of time weeding, snipping, sowing and planting. Are you really ready to add another task to the list? The good news is that water feature care is actually simpler and faster than you think (if you have the right tools and knowledge). Here’s how to add this relaxing feature without signing up for too much extra work.
Clean and Clear
The biggest challenge with water treatment is keeping the water clear and sanitary. Algae has a penchant for building up, since it’s nature’s way of colonizing water habitats. Something as small as a birdbath can boast some major buildup. At best, it’s unattractive and can permanently discolor vessels. At worst, it can clog up filters and be harmful to any fish you include in your display.
Different vessels and different sizes will have varying best practices for maintenance. For fountains, the best approach is micro barley bale or barley straw extract. For the bale, simply float it in a small packet in the water (kind of like a teabag in a mug). Use one bale per 10 gallons, replacing it every six months. For the extract, simply add this clear liquid twice a month.
“Pond”ering the Possibilities
Smaller ponds can be treated with barley straw and bales, too, but you can also use a submersible dispenser. This approach maximizes on “good” bacteria and existing enzymes to treat the water. It’s small, can be easily submerged and one can treat up to 2,500 gallons per month. If you want a larger pond, know that plants and animals are naturals at controlling algae—but might need a little help.
A barley ball is good for big ponds, treating up to 2,244 gallons and lasting up to six months. It’s a refillable ball that’s easy to blend in with the scenery. Also consider an aquasphere, which is a biodegradable ball that treats up to 225,000 gallons per month. Finally, a “blast” can quickly handle that algae.
Adding a simple birdbath is a fun option for bird watchers. Easy to maintain and attractive to all types of flying creatures, a birdbath combined with a bird house or other feeder is sure to bring surprise visits throughout the year.
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