The Edible Pond

We have a new extraordinary masterpiece in our garden. Our favourite landscaper Uncle Robot has just finished hand crafting a beautiful water garden out of stone. Soon it will be home to a range of edible plants making it a natural addition to our Permaculture Garden.

I think most gardeners would agree that a pond is an integral part of any garden and whether it’s a purely decorative feature or has a more functional purpose, ponds create a sense of calm and can be admired and enjoyed by all.

We already have a couple of ponds at our place but we plan on using this one to grow a range of edible aquatic plants including water chestnuts, watercress and Vietnamese mint. These plants and others will help to create a micro-climate by shading the water and creating lots of essential habitat for frogs, insects, fish and fresh water mico-organisms and invertebrates. And as we live on the edge of national park It will also provide a source of water for native animals, birds and reptiles.

Our pond will also be a very important drinking hole for our bees as we’re planning on putting our Warré hive close by. Hopefully this will stop the bees from wandering off in search of water especially as a few of our neighbours have backyard swimming pools. It was one thing to name 10,000 bees but having them all drop around for a swim in the neighbour’s pool might just stretch the friendship.

We’re also interested in the idea of aquaponics as a sustainable way of growing fish or yabbies by cycling their nutrient-rich water through a soil-less vegetable bed. That’s why we made sure this pond was nice and deep so we had the option of converting it into an aquaponics system should we choose to down the track.

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that our Permaculture garden is a series of sandstone terraces, made from rock sourced from our own land. It not only looks beautiful but it is functional and strong and has saved us the expense of importing foreign material. Our garden has been built to last as rock will stand the test of time better than any other material. It has superior qualities including a built-in resistance to termites which are a major problem in our bushy environment here in Sydney.

All of the rock has either been cut using a small electric cutting wheel or with a bolster and hammer and watching an expert at work makes it seem all so easy and I guess it is for someone who has close to 40 years experience. We’re lucky that most of our stone has a nice strong grain which allows the rock to be split into fairly neat pieces and at the same time reducing the amount of wastage.

To make way for the pond, a large rock floater was cut into manageable sized pieces. These were used to build the walls and once things were underway, the whole thing was finished in a couple of days. It started by digging out a flat  pad and laying down a row of blocks to get the shape right. As there’ll be quite a bit of pressure on the pond wall the blocks were cemented in place and the interior face of the wall was bagged to smooth away any sharp edges. A pad of clean sand was then flattened to form the floor and a single piece of rubber liner carefully inserted and filled with water. The liner was trimmed back away from the edge so it couldn’t be seen once the sandstone capping was in place.

We decided to make the pond a main focus by building it right in the middle of the garden so it’s a feature that can be seen from all angles and one you’ll pass on your way around the circular pathway.

Here’s some photos of how it came together…

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Stay tuned for my next post ….aromatherapy for chooks!

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