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This is my pond...

 
Gwen Lynn
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...that doesn't look like a pond!

These water hyacinth are a result of one pretty small plant that I bought 3 months ago. I have them growing in my 2 other (smaller) ponds, I've taken some to the barn & recently have been tossing them on the compost heap. To say the least...they are prolific! I have to push them around so the fish food hits the water!

This morning at 8:30, their buds had yet to open. (Sun doesn't hit the pond until late morning; I took the pix around noon). In an hour, they were all open. Just like that!
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Irene Kightley
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That is absolutely beautiful Gwen Lynn !

I imagine the microclimate round that area must be very attractive to all sorts of interesting and useful creatures.

I bet you can't stop looking at it ! 
 
Leah Sattler
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gorgeous! hyacinth are so easy and prolific I can't help but think that they could have a zillion uses. and they could be a 'safe' way to raise an incredible mass of vegetation without introducing an invasive species (as long as you keep them well away from natural waterways)
 
Leah Sattler
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if you had the space to grow lots they probably would be an awesome mulch generator!
 
Alison Thomas
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Wow Gwen, they're absolutely fabulous.  Wish my pond looked like that instaed of being covered with decaying brown parrot's feather.
 
Gwen Lynn
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I do use dead hyacinth for mulch. They last a long time, but are amazingly lightweight! Thanks for the compliments, all! 

The pond does provide a micro-climate. Our yard is a very frog friendly place to be. That's for sure. I have 3 good sized bullfrogs that I see regularly. They've grown since early spring & I can't help but wonder exactly what they're eating around here. I know what frogs eat (in general). I just wonder what (exactly) they're eating HERE. This year I found 2 young red eared turtles cruising through the yard. I've never seen them here before and I've been pondkeeping for 11 years now. 

As long as there is a freezing period, water hyacinth are safe to grow. They can certainly become problematic is warm areas. A quick google presents many pros & cons to growing this plant. I just learned that there are 7 species of it. That may explain why I've only been able to overwinter it well only once. Since that one time, I've never been able to do it again, & I've tried a number of different approaches.
 
Fred Morgan
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Very pretty! Given that you need a cold period to keep them from spreading, I will definitely never try them here!

 
Gwen Lynn
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Thanks! We have lengthy cold periods (unfortunately; I don't like cold weather) in NE Okla. I've never been able to overwinter them outside. Freezes wipe them out. I've only successfully overwintered them once indoors, and I've had them for 10 years. Most years I have to go to a store and buy one (like I did this past May) and by August I end up throwing them out because they are crowding the ponds!
 
Gwen Lynn
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Info regarding water hyacinth indoors:

http://www.fishyou.com/plants-hyacinth.php

This explains why I haven't had success with overwintering in an aquarium. I thought was a water temp issue, but it's actually more of a light issue. I should have guessed that. I manged to bring some in before the freeze. Guess I have to figure out a way to get it the best light possible. This is the time of year where I wish I had a south facing window in my house. I don't have one. While that's a good thing in an Okla. summer, it's not so hot (literally!) in the winter.
 
Leah Sattler
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next time I am in tulsa I can bring you a flourescent light if you want. I think i still have several kicking around here I saved from an inside grower abandoning them. maybe that would be enough. they are the type that hang on chains. 
 
Gwen Lynn
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You are a sweetheart, but there is no need. I have a few florescent light fixtures left from when I grew african violets. Just gotta get something rigged up.

Thank you much for the offer though!

Next time you're in Tulsa, just bring me your smiling face! That will light up the house for quite some time! 
 
Jennifer Smith
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Leah Sattler wrote:
next time I am in tulsa I can bring you a flourescent light if you want.

Hey Leah, maybe you and Gwen can come up together...you are invited too.
 
Leah Sattler
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that would be fun! dont' know when I will be up for much of a trip though. gwen is being kind with her "smiling face" comment. I ain't much in a smilin' mood lately. we have to go to tulsa regularly for family stuff. I am looking forward to a few weekends 'off' before christmas. 

I love opening this thread and seeing these pictures. so lush and full of vegetation and life and interest.

glad to know you have something you can rig up already available!
 
Gwen Lynn
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Yep, I've got them in a bucket right now, by an east facing bedroom window. I just need a grow bulb on a drop light fixture and that should be enough to supplement the daylight for a few hours in the evening. A mini-indoor pond! I've never tried it this way before. The one year I was successful at over-wintering water hyacinth, I did it out in our studio. There is plenty of available light there, but it can get pretty cold. I think that's what happened the next year I tried to do it out there, they got too cold. Now that I know they get rot (from low light) I can watch for it. We'll see what happens!

Glad you are enjoying the pix, Leah. I actually need to look at them from time to time when it's winter. Kinda recharges me. Everything is so brown and drab. Even that picture of pokeweed I posted this summer is looking good!
 
Jennifer Smith
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My plan is to have my pond over winter seed stock in the house in fish tanks.  Your hyacnths sound perfect. Clean the water and make chicken feed.  Plus so pretty.
 
Ken Peavey
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Nice looking plants you have there.  I usually go with function over form, but the hyacinths offer both.

I did a quick search on hyacinth, all sorts of uses
Thailand- they have a factory making rope and furniture from the stems of the plants.They burn the plant and make soap using the ashes. Water hyacinth briquettes are made.They grow tomato crops on top of a type of water hyacinth raft. (land is very scarce in this area)
Uganda- In Luzira Maximum Security prison all meals are cooked from the biogas that is given off from a digester plant using water hyacinth and cow dung. The prisoners weave sleeping mats from the plant.
Florida - they lead the way with using sterilised water hyacinth mulch as a compost for growing mushrooms on. The yield of mushrooms is excellent and as this is a good food source it should be seriously investigated.
Java, Philippines and Formosa - the flowers, leaves and petioles are eaten as a vegetable.
The leaves produce a rich compost on which food gardens can be established.
It can be ploughed straight into the land as a mulch. It has a high water content so keeps the soil moist. It also has a high nitrogen content.
The roots are effective in water purification.
Burning dried water hyacinth as a fuel.
Mushrooms can be grown on sterilised chopped up water hyacinth mulch. This is being done in Zimbabwe at HIV/Aids orphanages in an attempt to supplement the children's diet with mushrooms.


some good and bad
Water hyacinth grows very, very quickly.
Fish cannot breathe and boats cannot travel when a pond or river is covered by the weed.
The blooms of the hyacinth also provide a breeding place for insects and diseases.

Many people in different countries are working to find new uses for water hyacinth.
Perhaps water hyacinth is a problem in your area as well.
If so, then you will want to know about the many uses of the water hyacinth.

There are all kinds of things the weed is good for after it is harvested.
People in Uganda use water hyacinth to make paper and mats.
You can dry or cook the weed and feed it to your cows.

But remember, animals may get sick if they change their diet suddenly, so make sure you mix the water hyacinth with other feed!

You can also use water hyacinth for compost.
Women in Fiji weave baskets with dried water hyacinth.

Farmers in Bangladesh and Burma make floating vegetable gardens.
They heap mud on top of densely packed water hyacinth and grow all sorts of vegetables.
Some people compress dried water hyacinth into logs and burn it for fuel.

 
Emil Spoerri
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are all of these good for eating or just some of them?

if good food for cows, good food for pigs too?

what about waterfowl?

how does this compete with duckweed, it seems the main advantage is that it is lightweight for it's size so makes a good mulch
 
Ken Peavey
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
are all of these good for eating or just some of them?


I don't know enough about the plant to answer that.  I'm sure there are cultivars specific to regions of the world.  If you don't know about it, don't eat it.

Anyone have an answer?
 
                              
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What little I read about eating them said they would need cooking in several changes of water to even approach edible by humans so I didn't really bother researching further that way.

Now that I live in Florida, no way I dare grow them because I think the fines are huge and might even include imprisonment.  They have been a huge problem in Florida water ways.

They are beautiful though and a great way to use up excess nitrates from a pond system.
 
                    
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Beautiful pond! 

Duckweed doubles its biomass in 24 hours, is high in protein, and I've read that if you dry it out it can be 50% of a home made chicken feed.  Humans can eat it too, one of those low on the food chain super foods. 
 
Gwen Lynn
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Well, my bucketed water hyacinths are not happy. 

I haven't set up a drop light yet, but I will today. I wonder if I should keep the water more oxygenated with a small bubble stone in the bucket. Hmmmm...

Any ideas? 

Thanks for all the compliments on the pond pix. That picture is helping me get thru what is turning into a long winter, for our neck of the woods!
 
                          
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There's only one creature I know of that can eat that much water hyacinth... I wonder if manatees have potential as livestock?
 
Gwen Lynn
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Too funny, and I hadn't thought of that!
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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While it might be possible for duckweed to double it's bio-mass fast, don't count it is doing so under all conditions.  I've had duckweed die off on me before.

Also, don't count on chickens liking duckweed all that much.  So far my girls don't really care for duckweed or moringa.  Duckweed does make a good supplement for many types of fish but it is a challenge to keep much duckweed growing over a pond with fish that like duckweed, they will eat up all they can get at pretty quickly.
 
                    
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TCLynx - thanks for the experienced info with duckweed.  I've noticed chickens don't eat much of it when there's lots of grain feed available, but I was interested in making pellets of duckweed and some other grain ground up and mixed together?  When we get around to trying that I'll letcha know.

We were growing it in buckets during the summer at another californian farm, it grew crazy fast.  Blew my mind!
 
                      
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Is there any preparation needed to feed water hyacinth to chickens? Or do you just throw it in the paddock & let them have at it?
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Well, I don't have a scientific answer about the hyacinth and chickens but my girls are still alive even after they ate all the hyacinth out of my water feature they got access to.  Ducks helped too and they are also still alive.

Now I noticed that a huge list of plants are ranked as having too high a nitrate level that could be toxic to chickens but my chickens have eaten a huge amount of most of those plants without harm but they are practically free range chickens that always have access to feed and dirt and whatever plants they haven't eaten yet.  If you were to lock chickens in a dirt pen and only feed them hyacinth, that might be a different story.
 
Brenda Groth
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if you want to get rid of some of those you could send me one..tee hee..they are beautiful..will the critters eat them??
 
Tyler Ludens
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Water hyacinth seems to contain some chemicals that cause the mouth to itch when its eaten, this seems to diminish when its cooked.

reference:  "Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest" by Delena Tull

Keep in mind it is extremely invasive in warm climates.
 
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