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Filling Your Pond

When the time comes to fill--or to refill--your pond, itís tempting simply to grab the hose, turn it on, and let the water flow. But thereís going to come a time when youíll want to know how much water your pond holds. Thatís especially true for fish ponds, in which you'll want know the right amount of medication to use in your pond when your fish fall prey to parasites or diseases. You'll also need to know how much algaecide to put in your pond or water feature to kill off that pesky string algae.

To determine how much water your pond holds, you can either buy or rent a ďflow meterĒ to attach to your hose, or, as an alternative, you can fairly accurately estimate the amount by measuring the length of time it takes to fill a five-gallon bucket. Divide that time by 5 to determine the time it takes to fill 1 gallon.

Next, begin filling your pond, noting the length of time it takes for the hose to fill the pond to capacity and divide that time by the amount of time required to fill a gallon. That should give you a relatively close indication of how much water your pond will hold.

For example, if your hose takes 1 minute (60 seconds) to fill a 5-gallon bucket, dividing 60 seconds by 5 gallons gives you 12 seconds per gallon. If your pond takes 1 hour (3,600 seconds) to fill and you divide that time by 12 seconds per gallon, you come up with 300 gallons. Itís not absolutely foolproof, but itís pretty darned close!

Once your pond is filled, itís D-Day...Delirium Day. Thatís the day you get to fire up your pump and get set to be deliriously happy. IF everything works as it should. Which means IF you did everything the way you should have done it, and IF the equipment works.

Which brings up an interesting point. If you hit the switch and nothing happens, donít panic. Check that all of the electrical connections have been made. Test the outlet to make sure that itís getting power. Wiggle the plug to make sure itís making electrical contact. If the pump still doesnít work, check your homeís breaker box to make certain it hasnít tripped. If that doesnít do the trick, you may have a faulty pump--rare, but certainly possible. To find out, try plugging the pump into a different outlet. If that doesnít work, take the pump back and exchange it for a new one.

Assuming nothing malfunctioned and everything seems to be working just fine, take a tour around the pond, checking the hose and pipe fittings for leaks. If you find something dripping somewhere, simply tighten the fittings until it stops. This is also a good time to check your stream, waterfall, or spillway to make certain that the water is running where itís supposed to and not where it shouldnít. Depending upon how well you did your homework and how diligently you prepared for this moment, you shouldnít have any major adjustments to make, although itís not uncommon for streams and waterfalls especially to need some tinkering to get them working exactly right.

Once youíre convinced that everything looks good, your next step is absolutely critical. Place both hands on your hips, shake your head from side to side, and say out loud, ďWell, Iíll be damned!Ē

Then go into the house, pop the top on an icy cold one, and settle back into a chair near the pond to watch the thing run. And, realize that you have broken free from the pack. You have done what few other people you know have done. You have built your very own living, functioning pond.

Itís Miller time.

Check out D. J. Herda's two latest gardening books, Zen & the Art of Pond Building and From Container to Kitchen: Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Pots, both available from Amazon.com.

SPECIAL! Click on the author's photo above to request a personally inscribed copy by e-mail for readers of Bella Online only!

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