In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
There's nothing so soothing as a still pool.
A Pond Quiz
Fancy yourself a pond lover? Here's a brief quiz to jump-start the season, whether you are just getting started in aquatic gardening or are a seasoned pro. The answers are at the bottom, just in case!
1. A pond is best sited:
a. at the lowest spot in the yard
b. on a high spot in the yard
c. on a steep slope
d. in a shady nook
2. If you are building your pond within 500 feet of a navigable stream, river, or lake you must:
a. have a boat near the pond at all times
b. get a city or village permit
c. refrain from putting fish in the pond
d. get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources
3. A pond should be accessible on 2/3 of its perimeter in order to:
a. allow woodland creatures a place to drink
b. allow ease of maintenance
c. allow neighborhood children swimming access
d. provide a view for temperamental koi, commonly known as coddle carp
4. To avoid having to winter over all your fish and pond plants in the basement, minimum depth should be:
a. 18 inches deep
b. 3 feet deep
c. 5 feet deep
d. depth doesn't matter
5. The easiest and least expensive type of pond to install is:
a. a free-form pond with a flexible PVC liner
b. a concrete bottom pond
c. a prefabricated, preformed PVC pool
d. a dredged, mud-bottom pond
6. The longest lasting pond liner is:
a. prefabricated, preformed PVC
b. free-form with a flexible liner
c. dredged mud
7. Oxygenating plants:
a. aerate the pond to keep it open for the winter
b. increase the amount of algae
c. absorb carbon dioxide given off by fish and decaying plant matter
d. change the ions in the air around a pond to make it feel more refreshing
8. Water lilies and lotus:
a. float freely with their roots dangling in the water
b. have their roots submerged in the pond bottom or in pots
c. have no roots
d. happily use their roots to feed the fish
9. Tropical water lilies:
a. are damaged when the water drops below 65 degrees
b. can remain in the pond through winter as long as the roots don't freeze
c. don't survive in our climate so most people use silk substitutes
d. are a myth that pond lovers want to believe really exist
a. should be eliminated immediately
b. provides food for the other plants
c. can be dried and fed to your children
d. is a natural occurrence in an artificial pond
11. How many fish should be added for each square yard of pond surface?
a. no more than 8-15 inches of fish length
b. no more than 3-5 feet of fish length
c. no less than 30 inches of fish length
d. it doesn't matter since they will balance themselves out by eating each other anyway
12. Fish should be introduced to a pond in a plastic bag filled with water because:
a. fish perform best in little greenhouses made of plastic bags
b. they will disappear to the bottom of the pond as soon as you let them go
c. the fish will be stressed by sudden introduction to the pond's different temperature
d. this is no longer a recommended practice
1: b - If located in the lowest spot, everything drains into the pond, making it harder to keep it balanced and clean.
2: d - Anything to do with water must be okayed by the Department of Natural Resources since they oversee all drainage issues.
3: b - It's critical to be able to take care of your pond from almost all sides, hopefully without having to get in!
4: a - Deeper is fine, but 18 inches will allow the fish and hardy plants to winter over. Any shallower and the fish will die.
5: c - You must, however, dig the hole to the exact measurements of the liner. Flexible liners give you more flexibility but are a bit more expensive.
6: d - Concrete will last the longest, but you must be on the alert for cracking. Flexible and preformed liners generally give 5-10 years of wear.
7: c - These plants are essential to keeping a pond balanced.
8: b - These plants are anchored in tubs and pots on the bottom or ledges so they can be removed if necessary.
9: a - Tropicals are a beautiful addition, but they do take the extra maintenance of bringing them indoors in winter.
10: d - Algae is a natural part of a balanced pond; you'll never be rid of it all, nor should you try to be. It helps as long as it doesn't get out of hand.
11: a - Putting more fish in a pond than can maintain a balance will stress the fish, destroy plants, and make the pond impossible to balance.
12: c - You want to protect your investment, so acclimate your fish gradually to their new circumstances.
If you guessed 11-12 CORRECT:
You must have algae in your pockets. You love ponds so much, they've grown on you! Congratulations!
Consider yourself a pond expert. If you don't already have a pond, one should definitely be in the works this spring.
You're on your way, maybe just getting started. Keep reading those books about koi and oxygenating plants and plan a visit to an aquatic garden center this weekend.
You are just getting your feet wet where ponds are concerned, but that's great. You are about to enter a whole new world. It's currently one of the hottest and fastest-growing types of gardening.
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