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How to Grow an Edible Pond

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Old 04-10-2019, 08:26 AM
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Default How to Grow an Edible Pond

What's better than having a water feature in your backyard? Having a water feature that you can eat! There are many varieties of edible plants that you can grow in a simple water garden. With some preparation and the right background knowledge, you can have a pond, and eat it too.


EditPreparing Your Pond
  1. Select a water-safe container to create a small pond. Metal washtubs, preformed pond liners, and sealed ceramic pots are all great choices for your pond. A container that is in diameter and deep will give you enough room for 4-5 plants, which is a great size for a beginner garden.[1]
    • Containers made of wood, like a barrel, can be used only if you line the inside with a pond liner.
    • Plants do better in containers with dark interiors that do not reflect light away from the pond.
    • The container does not have to be visible. You can bury it in the ground or surround it with rocks or decking.
    • If you plan to bring your container indoors permanently, or just for the winter, make sure you select a container that youíll be able to transport easily.
  2. Build an outdoor pond if you want a larger water feature. Larger ponds are possible if you have the yard space to dig a large hole that is at least deep and wide. Building it to this size will help ensure the health of the pond water. Line it with a pond liner that is at least larger than the pond itself.
    • Larger, in-ground ponds are complex ecosystems that can be difficult to balance and manage if you are new to pond management.[2]
  3. Choose a location that gets 5-6 hours of sunlight per day. The plants in your pond need sunlight in order to thrive, so choose a bright spot. You also need a spot where the plants have protection from the scorching effects of afternoon sun.[3]
    • Afternoon sun is the most intense, so consider placement of your plants to maximize morning sun and provide a couple hours of late-day shade.
    • Any size container of standing water can be a drowning hazard for young children, so keep this in mind when you are scoping out a spot for your water garden.
    • Keep the pond away from trees that drop their leaves or flowers in large amounts. These can clog up the pond.
  4. Line the bottom of your pond with rinsed gravel. Gravel will provide a natural biofilter and substrate for your pond and will give you something to nest your potted plants into. Itís important to rinse your gravel before you use it to make sure it is free from dust and other debris that can cloud your pond water.[4]
    • of gravel is all you need.
  5. Fill your pond with clean water. Youíre going to eat the plants that grow in the pond water so make sure you are starting with water that is as free from harmful bacteria, heavy metals and, toxins as possible. High-quality tap water is usually the best option.[5]
    • Distilled water is not a good option because it contains none of the minerals that are found in natural water sources.
    • Rain water collected in a rain barrel can also be used, as your garden will be watered naturally by the rain anyway.
EditPlanting Your Edible Pond
  1. Pot your plants in water-permeable containers. All plants need to be potted, even if they are capable of rooting out along their stems (like watercress). Use plastic pots that have plenty of holes for the water to go in and out of the root system. Line your pot with newspaper, then put in a scoop of organic garden soil. Once your pot is filled about halfway, place the plantís roots gently on top of the soil and then fill in the area around them with soil until the base of the plant is securely buried.[6]
    • If you purchased your plants from a garden center they may already be in plastic, permeable containers. If this is the case, you can move on to the next step.
    • You can find plastic planters and organic gardening soil at most garden centers.
  2. Spread a thin layer of gravel on top of the soil to keep the water clear. The gravel will help weigh the plant down and stabilize it. It will also help keep your water from getting muddy by creating a barrier between the pond water and the plantís soil.[7]
    • Larger rocks can be used as needed to keep plants submerged.
  3. Submerge potted plants to create your water garden. Deep water plants, like the cattail, can sit on the bottom of most ponds as long as they are set less than deep. Submerged and emergent varieties generally do well with of water above the tops of the pots. Surface-cover and bog plants generally enjoy being only from the surface. You can set your plants down in their pots, right into your pond.[8]
    • Use flat rocks or bricks to raise plants up if the pond is too deep for your plants to sit at the right level.
    • Floating planters can help keep emergent and bog plants perfectly positioned. They also can help turn any pond plant into helpful surface coverage.[9]
  4. Design a visually-appealing garden. A pond garden is something you can eat, but it can also be a charming addition to a garden, deck, patio, or sunroom. For a striking display, place the tallest plants, like cattails, in the center of the pond with lower-lying, surface-cover plants around the outside.
    • An alternative arrangement is to place taller plants along the back of the pond with shorter plants along the front edge. This layout works well if your pond backs up to a fence, wall, or patio edge.
EditGetting Your Plants
  1. Buy a mix of plants from a reputable pond supplier in person or online. Itís important to make sure you are getting what you want and need when you buy your pond plants. Read reviews about stores and their products before choosing where to make your purchases.[10]
    • A reliable seller should be able to provide you with useful and accurate information about the best ways to care for your plants and how to prepare and eat them.
  2. Purchase deep-water plants to help oxygenate your pond. Itís important to include at least one variety that is a submerged or emergent species. This means it will sit happily at or very near the bottom of your pond where they will help draw oxygen from the air into the bottom of the pond, improving the quality of your water.[11]
    • The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is an excellent plant for oxygenation and you can eat the petals of its beautiful flowers, roots, and leaves. These can sit at the bottom of your pond, as long as the leaves are above water.[12]
    • Chinese water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis) will grow about to leaves in summer and die back to a corm in winter. These can sit below the surface of the water, submerged by about . You can eat the buried corms of the plant raw or in a stir-fry.[13]
    • Cattails (Typha latifolia) are a quintessential water garden feature that you can also eat. Their young stems can be eaten raw or boiled (it is said that they taste like corn). The flowers themselves can be roasted and the leaves can be added to salads.[14] Cattails will grow in a pot set at the bottom of a pond and can thrive in depths up to .[15]
  3. Choose plants to provide 60-70% surface coverage for temperature control. These plants require pots for their roots, but will grow plenty of floating, leafy foliage to provide coverage from the sun. Itís important to select one of these plants because they help prevent an overgrowth of algae and keep the water temperature cooler.[16]
    • Common Watercress (Nasturtium Officianale) is a good choice for surface coverage. This grows quickly and is easy to care for. It can be added to salad, soup, sandwiches, and used as a garnish.[17]
    • Water mint (Mentha aquatica) grows to about in height. Like other varieties of mint, it is easy to grow and will spread out to help provide cover for your pond. Use as any herbal mint, in teas or salads.[18]
    • For shadier spots, plant Water Hawthorne (Aponogeton distachyos), a plant that will sit at the bottom of a pond, but which spreads itís leaves and edible flowers across the surface. The flowers reportedly taste similar to red leaf lettuce and can be used in salads or as decorative (and edible) garnish. This is a plant that does well in gardens with ample afternoon shade.[19]
  4. Buy a selection of bog-loving plants for variety. There are some great edible plants that will grow happily in your pond under bog conditions, which means they love water-logged soil but donít want to sit more than under the water. These plants will prefer to sit just at or slightly below the waterís surface. Some good options include:[20]
    • Brookweed (Samolus valerandi), also sometimes called chickweed, thrives in wet, boggy soil and shallow water. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked.[21]
    • KangKong (Ipomoea aquatica) is also known as water spinach.[22] It is a perennial that grows best in the warm weather. Itís a popular and common ingredient in many Asian cuisines. Add the leaves and steams to salad or stir-fries.[23]
    • Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is a staple food source in countries throughout the world, including native Hawaiian cuisine, where itís used to make poi. People generally eat the corms, or tuberous roots, of this water plant but the leaves and stalks are also edible. It enjoys growing beneath the waterís surface, with about of water covering the top of the pot.[24]
    • Silk Stockings, or Sagittaria australis will grow happily in shallow water at a depth of about . The tuberous roots of the plant are edible and can be treated like other root vegetables. Ducks are fond of them too, which gives them their nickname of Duck potatoes.[25]
EditMaintaining a Healthy Water Garden
  1. Fertilize your plants every 3-6 months. Use a water plant fertilizer or any solid pellet or tablet fertilizer that is safe to use around vegetables. Just remove your plant from the pond, sc**** back the layer of gravel on top, and bury the fertilizer in the pot of your plant. Return the gravel layer and place your plant back into the pond.[26]
    • Look for organic fertilizers to avoid introducing industrial chemicals into your edible garden.
  2. Install a fountain to aerate your pond. Find a small pond pump or fountain at a local garden center or online and place it in your pond. A basic fountain assembly consists of simple pump that sits on or near the bottom of the pond and contains tubing that can extend up to the surface. When connected to a power source, the pump helps circulate the water, mixing it with air.[27]
    • Mosquitoes lay eggs and grow larvae in standing water and algae grows, depriving your pond of oxygen. A basic pond pump or fountain makes your pond less attractive to mosquitos and keeps the water oxygenated.
    • Solar-powered fountains can be a great and simple way to add movement to your water garden without having to worry about plugging it into an electrical outlet.
    • Adding a running water element can enhance the look and sound of your garden.
  3. Add helpful bacteria to control mosquitos once a month. The addition of a bacteria called "Bacillus thuringiensis," subspecies "israelensis," or Bti, to your pond water will keep mosquito larva from maturing into biting adults. This bacteria produces a larvicide that occurs naturally in the soil, but when applied to standing water will break the mosquitoís lifecycle.[28]
    • This bacteria and the toxin it produces are considered harmless for wildlife and humans and can be purchased in commercial forms from local garden centers or online.
    • The standard commercial product available in most garden centers will treat up to of surface area for 30 days.
  • When selecting plants, choose at least 1 variety that will sit at the bottom (submerged or emergent) and 1 that will provide surface coverage. From there, fill in the rest of your pond with varieties from any category that appeal to your palate.
EditThings You'll Need
  • Pond container (plastic or metal tub or ceramic pot)
  • Edible pond plants like watercress and lotus
  • Garden soil
  • Plastic, water-permeable containers for potting your plants
  • Flat rocks to adjust plant height
  • Pebble-sized gravel
  • Organic pellet or tablet plant fertilizer
  • Bti for mosquito control
  • Clean water
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