Planting and sustaining a pond

Planting a pond


There’s any number of reasons for having a pond on an allotment:

It’s good for wildlife, and that means pollinating insects will be taking up residence on your plot – good for producing lots of crops

It helps create a microclimate – while irrigating plants is important for growth, it’s not the whole story; many plants need water in the form of mist or vapour and respond to various climatic cues such as dew falling and rising, which allow the plant to know whether it should be preparing for ‘rest’ or readying itself for photosynthesis. Having open water also reduces the amount of water you need to use around plant roots from a hose or watering can as plants can draw water from the atmosphere as well as the ground.

A well set up and mature pond (say three to five years old) should be a self sustaining eco-system: the water should provide enough minuscule aquatic life to keep fish healthy. Of course if your pond is younger than that, or smaller than say two metres across and four feet deep, you will need to keep feeding fish between late April and October because the water probably won’t be rich enough to sustain fish life. Remember though, that on an allotment, wildlife in the form of snails and insects, water beetles, pond skaters and who knows what, will all turn up as they migrate, get blown onto your plot, or arrive in the treads of wheelbarrows or on the soles of other people’s shoes as they pass by. You need to keep it filled with rainwater, because the chlorine in tapwater is very bad for fish.

So that’s me, pondering Maurice’s pond, which has to go into the ground in the next few weeks, and wondering how long it will take to fill with rainwater.