Green Tips from Transition Keyworth (June 2011)

Like many people these days, we only have a small garden. It does, however, perform a wide variety of very important functions – my chickens live in it, I grow vegetables in raised beds, we have a lawn and a small patio for sitting and relaxing, a couple of fruit trees,  and most recently we added a wildlife pond. Do not imagine though, that this is a large area of water surrounded by lawns and trees – on the contrary, it is probably the smallest pond it is possible to build, squeezed into a tiny space approximately 2 metres square.

The decision to build the pond came just a couple of years ago, when the slug population really was proving to be a threat to my vegetables. As an organic gardener I had tried all the available methods to control them, but they were winning the battle for my seedlings every night!

Digging the pond took just a day – we marked out an irregular shape using a hosepipe, and set to with our spades to create a hole with a deeper area at one end for wildlife to retreat to when the weather is really hot or really cold, and a sloped bank at the other end to allow easy access for the creatures I was hoping to encourage. We bought a proper pond liner and lined the hole with sand to prevent stones from damaging the liner – then came the exciting moment when we could fill our pond with water!

We carefully chose a range of plants to go both in the water, in order to keep it clean and oxygenated, and around the edges of the pond to provide shelter for wildlife. We planted it up, added some large pebbles around the edge and it very quickly began to look quite established.  The final touch was a bucket of water from a friend’s pond, in order to introduce some beneficial insects and some extra plant life.

Now, two years on, my little pond is teeming with tadpoles. The beautiful yellow marsh marigold is smothered in flowers, the edges are softened with a variety of flourishing plants, and we frequently hear the distinctive ‘plop’ of a frog retreating into the clear water. And I cannot remember when I last needed to patrol down the garden with a torch hunting for slugs!

If you cannot safely have a pond because you have small children there are lots of designs for small water features which have lots of the benefits of a wildlife pond. I would highly recommend The Rock and Water Garden Expert book” by Dr. D.G. Hessayon, which has lots of practical advice and ideas.

And finally…….the Abundance Project will soon be up and running again – look out for our stall in the Square on Sat 11th June – come and say hello, we’d love to meet you!

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