Texas Gardening forum→water cover instead of ground cover

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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jun 20, 2021 9:31 AM CST
Duckweed! After all the rain this spring, all my cattle tub containers filled up with water. They are usually traps for leaf debris and because I use them to soak hanging baskets they tend to have some leached nutrients from those. The result is sort of rich standing water that's perfect for breeding mosquitoes (a crop for the nesting swallows Big Grin ) and growing some algae if it stands too long. A first this year was that a few of them developed a crop of duckweed. I think duckweed is a cool and interesting plant and you should read the Wikipedia article on it if you are interested in odd plants. Anyway, I thought I'd like to let it grow in the stock troughs where the goldfish live and discovered that's not going to work at all. They eat it as fast as they eat fish flakes. So I decided to grow some of my own fish food and started transferring it to a single tub with the idea of growing it. So far so good. These are tiny plants, but one container is growing an ultra tiny species - no bigger than the head of a straight pin. You can see the difference in the photo after I first moved it, but the colonies mix together so it would take a better photographer than me to photograph it now. The regular duckweed looks gigantic next to it. As the weather heats up, the water in the containers is being used up so the original source will be gone soon, but this one is now dedicated to duckweed. Wonder what happens to it in the winter months? Will it return?
Thumb of 2021-06-20/needrain/8ee2a9

Donald
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jun 20, 2021 10:43 AM CST
I like duckweed also, it was very prolific in my aquariums, so much so that I had to throw it out when it got to much, kind of interesting during the winter it maintained its color while outside in the snow. Thinking it might be good through the winter in TX.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/...
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jun 20, 2021 11:09 AM CST
It grows every summer on the earthen pond down by the barn, but it disappears during the winter. That's the only place here where it shows up on a regular basis. I don't know how its life cycle works down there. I'd enter the photo in the database here, but there isn't a generic entry and there are a lot of options otherwise. No clue where to slot it in. I can't even be sure that ultra tiny one is really the same species or not and both are in my photo.

Your aquarium fish didn't eat it? Mine eat every thing in an hour or two. They go after it! nodding
Donald
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jun 20, 2021 1:22 PM CST
I'm sure they may have eaten some, I also gave it to a tank with goldfish and they did not seem to touch it much. It really was a great filter for the overhead light and cut way down on the algae build up.

Up here in the Tundra, we have it in a small pond and every year it comes back

https://duckweedgardening.com/...

Sounds like we need a Duckweed Gardening Forum!
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
[Last edited by crawgarden - Jun 20, 2021 1:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jun 20, 2021 2:06 PM CST
I think I'll meander over the the Pond and Water Gardening forum and see if something has been posted there.

My fish are feeder goldfish. Less than 30 cents each at Wal-Mart. Trash fish, I think, that thrive in conditions without aeration or a pump or filters etc. I think as organisms they are a sort of an organic replacement for all that. They prevent the troughs from being mosquito breeding grounds, eat scum and algae and I don't what else. Whether I bother to feed them or not they grow, get fat and multiply. Those above ground troughs froze almost solid in February with the extreme cold spell and only two fish died - think because both of them got trapped by the ice in an area that exposed them when it was melting before they had an escape hatch.
Donald
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
Aug 22, 2021 5:10 PM CST
Your tiny plants might be Wolffia.
Porkpal
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Aug 22, 2021 7:05 PM CST
porkpal said:Your tiny plants might be Wolffia.

You may be right. I kept a container isolated from the regular duckweed and it made a solid cover and I've been feeding it to the fish as well as the duckweed. Unlike the duckweed which as a slender, hair-like root hanging down, I can't detect any sign of a root on the smaller ones. They tend to cluster around things that get in the tub and float - dead leaves, drowned grasshopper, wind-blown debris. However, that acts more like a magnetic attachment because they clearly aren't physically attched. Wikipedia says this about Wolffia "They have historically been collected from the water and eaten as a vegetable in much of Asia." They are a potential human source of food apparently and Wiki says the protein content is equal to that of a soybean. That alone would make them good fish food. If you've ever watched geese skimming up duckweed on a pond by the beakful, it makes sense they have some food value.
Donald

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