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Adding tiny wildlife pond to garden

 
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So this spring I want to add a tiny pond to the veggie garden.  I hope to attract more dragonflies and also think the peaceful sound of water bubbling quietly in the garden will be very nice.

The plan is to start off very very basic (and resist the urge to turn this into a big production)  am thinking of using a small pond liner, a few plants, some gravel for the bottom, and a $30 solar bubbler to to oxygenate the water and keep the algae from becoming toxic.

This video shows how to dig/terrace a small pond using just a liner. It talks about depth and how the edges need to slope gentlye so water critters can easily get in/out:





 
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Yay! Dragonflies are awesome and I love to watch the baby ones launching from my garden reed containers.

That said, I have found that kiddie pools are too fragile; they spring leaks at the drop of a hat.

My favorite thing to use for this is those turtle-shaped plastic vessels sold as kiddie sandboxes; utterly indestructible. About $30 new but I buy them at garage sales for much less.

If dragonflies are the only goal, it’s possible to dispense with the tricky/fiddly pump system. A micropond with vigorous plant growth will “eat” the nutrients that support choking algae overgrowth; you’ll have algae, but not a sold mass of slime. Frogs (essential to keeping mosquito larvae out of the system) won’t mind. But it won’t be as pretty as an aerated system.

In my experience dragonflies like tall reedy plants that rise out of water. The two that work in my climate with zero care or attention are chinese water chestnut (edible, but takes careful culture to get large and tasty) and “horsetail” (Tall Scouring-Rush, Equisetum hyemale.)

Good luck with your project!
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Dan Boone wrote:Yay! Dragonflies are awesome and I love to watch the baby ones launching from my garden reed containers.

That said, I have found that kiddie pools are too fragile; they spring leaks at the drop of a hat.

My favorite thing to use for this is those turtle-shaped plastic vessels sold as kiddie sandboxes; utterly indestructible. About $30 new but I buy them at garage sales for much less.

If dragonflies are the only goal, it’s possible to dispense with the tricky/fiddly pump system. A micropond with vigorous plant growth will “eat” the nutrients that support choking algae overgrowth; you’ll have algae, but not a sold mass of slime. Frogs (essential to keeping mosquito larvae out of the system) won’t mind. But it won’t be as pretty as an aerated system.

In my experience dragonflies like tall reedy plants that rise out of water. The two that work in my climate with zero care or attention are chinese water chestnut (edible, but takes careful culture to get large and tasty) and “horsetail” (Tall Scouring-Rush, Equisetum hyemale.)

Good luck with your project!



Thanks, and yeah I edited out my kiddie pool thought just as you posted this. Just saw a video that showed how using a pond liner allows different depths which is important to manage temp.

It gets HOT here and in the summer a full kiddie pool becomes very warm (bathwater warm) which means there is probably little to no oxygen, I worry that will make it an inhospitable place for dragon fly larvae, or possibly even little frogs if they show up, or just turn into a toxic algae puddle. That is why I want a bubbler, to keep the oxygen level higher plus it will sound nice.

Thanks for the tips on plants! I tried to look into which plants would stay a reasonable size and wasn't sure.
 
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If your pond will be in full sun, you will need to beware of the water overheating to the extent that it becomes inhospitable to the kinds of plants and animals you are hoping to invite.  I used to live in GA myself for years and have made a few ponds there.  I always tried to have a deep portion, at least a couple of feet, where the water would stay cool and any fish, tadpoles, and insects could shelter there.  Marginal and floating plants will help too.    
    Counterintuitively, a small pond like this makes for good mosquito control in the surrounding area.  This is because most mosquitoes breed in ephemeral water that dries up after a short time.  Perennial water breeds some mosquitoes but it also harbors and breeds their predators....fish, frogs, etc.  Some of these predators, such as dragonflies and toads, disperse from the pond out into the surrounding landscape and continue to prey on adult mosquitoes there.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Alder Burns wrote:If your pond will be in full sun, you will need to beware of the water overheating to the extent that it becomes inhospitable to the kinds of plants and animals you are hoping to invite.  I used to live in GA myself for years and have made a few ponds there.  I always tried to have a deep portion, at least a couple of feet, where the water would stay cool and any fish, tadpoles, and insects could shelter there.  Marginal and floating plants will help too.    



Yeah I am planning to dig 2 or 2.5 ft deep on one end, and have terraced/shallow on the other end.

Just read dragonflies often take 1-3 seasons before they will breed in a pond. If that is the case I am considering buying a few bait minnows and putting them in (my super uncomplicated pond idea is getting more complicated by the minute).  Course if I buy bait shop minnows I should keep them in a bucket for a few days to rid them of parasites and get them eating well etc... and then I will have something else to feed every day...lol.

Did you keep minnows in any of your ponds? Do you think it will work in a small 5 ft diameter pond with a bubbler and a deep end? I am hoping it will, I can put some shade cloth over it part of the day if necessary.
 
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