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Water Garden Expert Interview

Jan Goldfield from "Pond Lady's Wader Garden Forum" is a neighbor you will want to have. But even better than being her neighbor you can join her forum and spend time with Jan in her living room. She is very active there and has become a trusted leader in her community.

She had her own water garden business from 1987 until she retired in 2006. Now her time is spent managing her website and blog, and helping people keep their Water Garden in optimal shape.

We picked Jan to interview because of her next-door-neighbor charm and her knowledge of all things related to the Water Garden. Note: The tips she gives us in this interview is for a Goldfish Pond and Not a Koi Pond!

Hi Jan, thank you for joining us today. Please take a moment to tell us about your "Pond Lady's Wader Garden Forum" and anything else you'd like to let our readers know about yourself.

I did my first website in 1995 with the help of my then 20 year old nephew. I used it as a sales aid, but not many folks had internet back then. As the 'net grew', so did my site and the ability for me to send customers there to see photos and get questions answered.

I changed the site many times, including a time when I sold products on it. That took more time than it made money, so I changed it to an informational site only.

I have always felt that one of the most important things I did as the first pond builder in this region, was to educate the public, not just about ponds, but about the ways we are killing our planet and ourselves.

I wanted to show people how to reconnect with nature and it seems like getting them outside was one way.

You talk about Water lilies on your web site are these your favorites or are these the flowers that generate the most questions?

pictures of water gardens
Photo courtesy of Jude

Yes, they do generate questions. But more questions are asked about murky, green ponds which leads to talking about submerged vegetation, the most important plant in the pond. The water lilies are what sells the pond and are great for providing shade, keeping the pond clear and protecting the fish from predators by giving them a place to hide.

I know you feel strongly about not feeding the fish in your pond, can you tell me why this is?

If you feed the fish, you introduce a foreign substance. A balanced pond has 1 bunch of submerged vegetation per square foot of pond surface. The fish eat the plants, provide fertilizer for them. And the plants provide 02 for the fish and grow faster than the fish can eat it. If the fish get fed, they grow too big, the bioload gets too much for the size of the pond. Soon you have huge fish, too much fish poop, not enough 02. The huge fish begin to die and all the fish poop pollutes the water. The pond becomes a great example of how we are polluting our planet

How do you go about achieving a correctly balanced water garden?

See the last answer: One bunch of submerged vegetation per square foot of pond surface area, at least 1/2 of the pond shaded with floating plants, no fish feeding, no run off getting into the pond, no more than 1 linear foot of fish per 25 square feet of pond surface.

In your 10 second tips you tell us a mixture for pest control that you use for your plants, will you talk about that and how well it works and also is it safe to use if you have fish in your pond?

It is totally safe. I got the recipe from the USDA. Pond people have been using it long before I learned about it. It is safe to use for land plants as well.

This is the recipe for Pest Control that Jan has on her Website.

Pest Control

Aphids and many other garden pests can be easily controlled with an inexpensive, homemade insecticide--according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil. When pests strike, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days. Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites. It will not harm fish.

Jan, thanks again for this interview.

Please take a visit on over to "Pond Lady's Wader Garden Forum" or to "Pond Lady's Blog" and say Hello.

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