The Sustainability of Pond Keeping

The Sustainability of Pond Keeping

Besides providing serenity through the peaceful sounds of running water and the graceful movements of swimming fish, your pond holds potential for providing you with so much more. This is to suggest the idea of growing fruits and vegetables in a bog filter using fish waste from the pond as the fertilizer. In other words, Aquaculture.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.

Sustainable gardening is a method of growing plants such that the garden is able to successfully maintain and sustain itself without requiring many outside resources, pesticides or herbicides. The benefits of sustainable gardening are many, including less reliance on watering and no chemical or pesticide use.

The Concept of Using your Pond (Aquaculture)

If you are an experienced water gardener, you have no doubt learned by now that fish waste (ammonia) and other decomposing debris in the pond gets broken down by beneficial bacteria that colonize in the biological pond filter, and becomes useful nutrients to pond plants in the form of nitrates. Believe it or not, the biology in your garden soil is the same as the biology in your pond. Microbes (bacteria) in the soil digest organic matter, and in the process, they provide nutrients to plants… sound familiar?

Gravel and planting media inside of a bog filter or floating island will also collect beneficial bacteria and put nutrients right at the roots of your plants. Why not employ this concept to grow plants that will feed you as well? Although many water-loving plants that we use in our ponds can be edible, there are many common fruits and vegetables that also need plenty of water to grow… not to mention, would thrive on the abundance of fish waste readily and consistently available, and may *grow 25% faster than those grown in soil. [*source: How Aquaponics, a.k.a. Fish Poop, Can Grow Food Using Less Water and Land]

Experiment with your Bog Filter

I would suggest experimenting with different edible plants to start. As we know how well water mint and watercress will grow, we do not have first-hand knowledge of other veggies. Just what I’ve read online. Start with something simple, like strawberries…be certain that no chemicals have been added to the water, and enjoy.

Try things like: lettuce (in cooler temps), chives, tomatoes, beans and peppers.

Natural Pesticides will Appear

“If you build it, they will come.” And I’m not talking about ghosts from baseball past. I’m referring to the beneficial predators in a water garden. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but frogs, toads, and dragonflies will take care of things while you are away. 

Frogs and toads are drawn to water whether to take up residence, or to come only for mating season. But whatever their reason, they will eat insects and slugs that may threaten your garden plants while they are there. 

Dragonflies will devour aphids, moths, beetles and other nuisance insects as well. An adult dragonfly can eat up to hundreds of mosquitos in a day. That alone definitely makes them worth having around.

*This article was written mainly to stimulate thought outside the box on the possible benefits of your water feature. With all the other “green” movements like rain water harvesting and such, it just seemed to fit the bill. Using your pond for more than a luxury, increases its value. So, give it a try and bring water gardening to a new level.

With all the movies and video games out there suggesting such, it seems the world is in imminent danger of a zombie apocalypse. Where-as this may be difficult to fathom for some… what could it hurt to be prepared… just in case.