Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mid-Summer Heat!

Well, here we are. Late June and it is HOT! 110F right now, 108 yesterday, and 105 tomorrow. Needless to say, I'm not working in the yard during the day. Last night it was 90 at 9:00pm, so there isn't much going on right now. I have managed to get a few things done and I am starting to clean up the work areas and patios. My tomato crop is in jeopardy because of the heat, so I took some precautions to help against it.

So here is what is currently happening:

You can see my tomatoes are covered with an overhead sheet to keep the burning sun from damaging the fruit.
The patio area is clean and will be getting a new color of paint to more match the new landscape.
I have some onions growing in the grow bed on the left. Not sure how onions will do considering the rock wont allow much room to grow. There is also a garlic plant that I had picked a little too early so I shoved it in the bed. It seems to have grown some since then.

I made a small island and artificial reef for the fish to call home by stacking two milk crates on top of each other. The top one is face up with some left over pond liner on the inside to keep the water out. I then placed a bucket inside the liner and filled it with soil. I took a good sized mound of Blue Fescue ornamental grass and transplanted it into the bucket and then covered the soil with a couple medium sized stones and some pebbles. To keep the milk crates from view I then covered it all with Palm Tree coir and Spanish moss. The moss became detached and that is why you cant see it in the picture. I'll have to figure out a better way to keep it in place. Down below(out of view) I placed some plastic aquarium plants and some other things for the fish to hide in. This should keep them happy as most fish like to have areas of protection when they get nervous.
I have a little work to do on securing the flatrock for steps down to the waterfall/bridge. I am not going to make these permanent as I might want to change some of the area later on. I will have to stabilize the steps by driving large stakes into the ground below each step and then placing a small amount of concrete below them to keep them in place. BTW I did not have to purchase the flatrock as they were part of the previous landscape, so that saved some $$$. In fact, this part of the pond cost very little to create. I have more sweat invested in this than cash.

As you can see the fish are very happy in their new home. There are 5 different types of Goldfish, and 24 Total fish in this pond right now. The larger pond will be home for Large Mouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and maybe some other types of California native pond fish. So what I am creating is an area that is mostly ornamental and an area that will be used for fish farming. The large pond will be for food, while the smaller pond will be for enjoyment.

The waterfall area has been a small problem. In order to keep the fish from taking off into the larger pond and ultimately their death, I have put down a couple of barriers. The first thing I tried was some palm tree coir, which worked great until it started accumulating debris. It was raising the water level above the liner because it was not allowing good water flow. I then tried some screen near the middle of the stream before the fall and used rock to secure it. This also didn't allow much water flow because the rock was, essentially, restricting too much flow. Finally I took some screen, wrapped it around a redwood stake and placed it well in front of the area. I left some loose screen below the stake to block the water down deep. The current pulled the screen perfectly into place so all I had to do was throw some rock on to it to make sure it stayed in place against the liner. This has worked perfectly because there is a much larger screen area so it wont get clogged with debris. And since it is grey, it is very hard to notice unless you are looking directly at it.

The steps leading from the deck into the pond area came out great. I still have to clean the mortar off of the flatrock, but that is a lot of hard work and better left to evenings on cooler days. It might be fall before I get a chance to complete it, as these mid-summer days are very hot.
I still have a lot of work to do on the larger pond area as far as landscaping is concerned. As you can see(at the bottom of the photo) it is pretty much mud and dirt right now.

The Morning Glory's are growing nicely and will soon cover the entire fence. They are a wonderful morning treat as the blooms are at their peak color and fullness. Many other wildflowers are and will soon to be making an additional colorful treat to the area. This photo doesn't give them justice. They are much more prolific than in this slightly blurred image.

Cleaning off the work area and patio has been some focus the last couple of days. It was very unorganized and cluttered with everything from dirt to tools. It's funny that when working on another yard you will clean up everyday before you go home, but at home it seems to be an afterthought.

The larger pond will be used for large fish and as a food source. The edging of this pond will have to be friendly to getting up close and personal with the water. With that in mind, I am creating area that will take my weight to the waters edge without causing debris to fall into the pond. These will basically be two deck areas on each side of the pond. In hindsight, I should have made these decks ahead of time as it would have been a little easier. But with the heat so bad, I don't mind getting in the water so much.

The small bog area and inlet is working out great. Mosquito larvae call this home and the fish call it a buffet. As the water raises and lowers by about an inch and a half a couple of times a day the small insects are forced to retreat into the deeper water where they become food. I supplement this by netting larvae from the large pond and dumping them into this pond. The fish go absolutely crazy for this natural food source. I also supplement their diet with vegetables and temporarily with commercial flakes. As they get larger I have a large worm bin where I have been farming worms that will be the main source of food for all the fish. Hopefully there is enough worms for this to be sustainable. It would be if all I had were these Goldfish, but once I get the larger, more ravenous fish, it will be feed and see.

I need a little more mulch for the vegetation around the pond. But otherwise most of the plants are growing great. Hopefully the extreme heat doesn't kill any of them.
As you can see, the area around the large pond is in desperate need of some landscaping. That will be my next focus in coming days.

The left over piping from the pool and spa are becoming a nuisance, so I am in the process of removing it.

...And that is where I start this evening and hopefully out of the mid-summer heat.


  1. nice posting...nice photos....

  2. wow...
    nice photos...

  3. Whoa, that was some pretty good looking garden you got there, and it'll look good once you get all of them cleaned up. I just remembered the time when my friend had her swimming pool demolished by the pool contractors (Chicago) she also had a natural pond and garden made, so she can grow out some edible herbs.

  4. I just stuck to this blog while I am searching for pond details. Your blog is very nice. I like it very much.