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My First Pond-2003
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    For years I have wanted a water garden, but never felt I could afford it. I priced some of the pre-molded liners,  flexible liners,  plants, etc. and it all seemed more than I could manage. 

    Finally, in the spring of 2003, I decided to do what I could within my budget.  Along the way I have learned some easy ways to   have a beautiful water garden with very little cost.  I hope in sharing these tips, someone else will be able to have the water garden  they didn't think they could afford.  I would also appreciate any tips you can give me.  Use the poll on the "Other Stuff" page to send me your comments and suggestions. 

     I dug out  the old plastic kiddies pool my grandson had outgrown and filled it with water.   I took a few Sunday afternoon trips down nearby  country roads to gather rocks to stack around the edge.  I purchased a small Beckett fountain pump with filter included for around $25  ( my only financial investment).   I was able to convince a relative to give me a small start from their water lily and that combined with annuals in pots       around the edge actually began to look like a water garden.   By July, I decided to stack some of the rocks I had gathered.  I ran some          tubing from the pump to the top of the rocks and had a waterfall.  The rest of the   summer I spent hours just sitting by my water garden, enjoying the beauty of the flowers and the relaxing sound of the waterfall. 

    Like most water garden enthusiasts, I longed for more space, more plants, and a pond deep enough to sustain fish.                 That fall, at a close-out sale on garden equipment, I spotted a Beckett 85 gallon pond on sale and took the plunge.  I have since          upgraded to a larger pump with a home-made  waterfall.  My water lily has survived two winters  and is growing rapidly. 

    PLANTS I have since purchased two more plants.  I spent under $3 for a water hyacinth.  The small plant I bought has     multiplied and grown into well over 30 plants in only three months.   In warm climates, the water hyacinth is considered a        noxious weed because it multiplies so rapidly and clogs the waterways.  This makes it ideal for the budget gardener.                    Not only is it inexpensive, it is really an attractive plant with beautiful blooms.  Cost = $2.79

     I also added an arrowhead plant.  These plants grow wild in a small fishing lake nearby.  I pulled one           single leaf plant from an overgrown corner of the pond, planted it in a small pot with gravel and set it in the edge         of my pond.  It has now spread across the pond, and provided some beautiful blooms..  Cost = $0

    I spent $1.50 for the smallest bunch of anacharis I could find.  Anacharis is an excellent oxygenator and helps to keep the pond water crystal clear.  It is a rapidly growing plant and can be divided by just snapping off a sprout and sticking under a rock in the bottom of the pond.   Cost $1.50

    FISH  I purchased a dozen minnows at a bait shop for $1.50 and 5 comet goldfish from the pet store for $1.00.  I have lost one minnow, but the rest are very healthy and are growing every day.  The tiny goldfish have grown to nearly twice their original size and seem to be growing more      every day.  The minnows have not grown as much, but their lively play provide lots of entertainment.  My grandson wiggles his fingers in the water and they will all come to the surface looking for food.  I bought three small Koi for $3 apiece.  I realize they are not the exotic specimen  Koi    I have seen advertised for hundreds of dollars, but they are lively, healthy and very pretty.  Their bright gold adds color to the pond.   They are also very friendly and are learning to eat from my fingers. Total for fish -- Cost $8.50

    FILTER My small fountain pump came with a small foam filter that surrounds the pump.  I realized early on that this was not sufficient with the water plants and fish.   I priced filters of all types and  found that even the most basic were pretty costly. 

    So.............I decided to make my own.   I bought a 10" water plant basket, the kind with open sides, for $2.00   I filled it half full of pea gravel,     laid the pump with it's own filter on top and surrounded it with more pea gravel.  I bought a 12" square piece of foam replacement filter for $3.00     and  cut that to fit the top with a hole for the tubing.   I can easily remove the top foam piece, hose it off and replace it.  I do this about twice a    week.  I remove any leaves that fall into the pond by hand  and use a small net to remove any other debris.   My water has stayed crystal clear     and both plants and fish are doing well.   Cost $5.00

My total investment, including the sale-priced liner, the filter, the plants and fish, is under $90.00.  The amount of enjoyment I get from it is    priceless.

Happy Ponding






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