Pre-stocking the Pond
The water in the new pond is only about a foot deep (which apparently qualifies as deep enough for Allie and Harry to go swimming every time they go out there) and the banks are bare compacted clay. Along with using the pond for stockwater, we would like to be able to fish it eventually. Based on what we’ve seen with other ponds, it will take a few years for the pond biome to develop, but we’re trying to give it a bit of a head start.
I’ve broadcast oats on the banks to encourage some initial vegetative growth and to prevent erosion as the pond fills. The kids wanted to give the pond a jump start on its animal population, so they caught a jar full of frogs down in our stream and assigned these frogs the role of colonists. Frogs seem to be able to find ponds on their own, but I encouraged them because I like seeing them undertake projects.
As with most machine-dug ponds, the pond lacks enough structural variation to encourage a diverse ecosystem. To get around that, we’ve been adding some of these elements post-construction. The kids built several rock piles and a few skull piles out of the dairy cow graveyard we inherited. Some of their structures are not quite what I would have built, but again I think there is more value in them doing things imperfectly, so long as they are doing things (note that I’m not consistent with that magnanimity). We built pallet structures, ballasted by boulders. We also added a few tires, concrete blocks, and broken clay pipes. All of these things will provide shelter for smaller fish and hunting grounds for larger fish, encouraging a tiered food system.