How to clean your pond
Avoid pushing more soil into your pond
The first problem I encountered was that as I moved anything near the pond, more soil kept falling into the pond which would only mean that I would have even more soil to extract. I therefore dug a trench about 45 cm away from the pond all around it, and then, with a push of the back of the spade I transferred all the soil that was on the banks of the pond into the trench, instead of letting it fall into the pond water.
How to drain your dirty pond
a)The pond siphon
Now I had to empty the water; I dug a large deep hole on the side of the pond and tried the age old method of siphoning out the water. As I wasn’t keen to suck the water, I lay both sides of the pipe into the pond , waited till it filled with water, I held my finger on one side, lifted it out and placed it at the bottom of the hole that I dug which was obviously lower then the level where the other side was in the pond. As the water began to spurt out of the mouth of the hose I began to think how I easy the job of emptying the pond will be, but my happiness was short lived, since the water was so muddy the hosepipe soon began to slow down to a trickle and then dried up altogether!
b) The pond bucket
The next obvious way was to bend down with the large yellow bin and physically empty the murky water whilst kneeling on the side of the pond, it worked well, but soon the water was too distant for me to be able to reach it from the banks of the pond.
c) The pond long arm bucket
I then designed the first ‘long arm water drawer’! It is simply a long piece of wood screwed to the side of a regular bucket and although I was taking less water at a time, at least I could reach the centre of the pond and I could do it standing up without breaking my back whilst kneeling!
d) The pond brush
There was now just about 30cm left at the centre of the pond. With brush in hand I went into the centre of the pond and brushed out the muddy mixture over the sides of the pond. I was pleased to find that my old wellingtons were still totally watertight!
The problem now was removing the frogs without damaging them, as I brushed them over the side of the pond they kept jumping back in. I wished someone could tell them to stay out for just a couple of hours until I put in the fresh water. I felt like a family trying to coax their old grandmother to move out of her tumbled down house to the modern granny flat they had built for her, and she just will not hear of it! [Although maybe frogs actually prefer murky water over fresh water!(like the granny prefers her old house!)]
Cleaning the empty pond
In my allotment we luckily have fresh tap water, [the council charge an extra £10 a year for it but it is well worth it]. I hosed down the sides brushed them over again and then began refilling with fresh water, the next day I added a thermos of boiling water to incease the temperature and then a few small goldfish, once they acclimatise they can live in freezing water as well, – and the frogs will soon return as well, I am sure. I now covered the pond with a wire mesh – this will keep the leaves and debris out – and the heron will have to find fish in the river next door not in my fishpond.
I felt I had accomplished a fresh start to the New Year with a fresh pond – a job well done – with many more in the pipe line – I hope!
Good gardening in the New Year
Boris Legarni .