Page 38 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 38

                                                                                                                                                                                 members articles
A pond on your allotment
 Why did I decide to dig a small pond on my allotment? There were indirectly several reasons, but most important was that I wanted to attract some wildlife, particularly frogs. I also wanted to store some water, because getting water in the dry part of the summer was a real chore, since we have to fetch it from the canal in watering cans. The pond is now about 1 metre x 2 metres and is about 1/2 a metre deep. It was on some rather lower ground, which mostly seemed quite wet. It was quite an effort to dig the pond, but it did provide some extra soil for a raised bed nearby. It also enabled me to make a nice south-facing bed on which I could grow irises. The time to do this job is most likely in the winter when there isn't so much going on in the allotment – I had the pond by March 2013. However, when the weather is wet, the pond will probably start filling of its own accord. Certainly, mine did; the water table is fairly high. However, I did put in a pond liner to ensure that it could fill up properly and provide me with water with which to water my seedlings in the spring and summer.
Safety can be a problem with ponds on allotments; although children should always be supervised this cannot be guaranteed. The benefits for children, however, are many. They absolutely love seeing the slow worms. I have also had some local children counting the number of frogs – with great excitement, they counted 11. I have had the odd toad on the allotment prior to digging the pond, but there is much more wildlife now, including pondweed – which I don't want. Luckily somebody, who was clearing out a pond, put some water lilies into my pond which pleased
me greatly. I am afraid to report that I do sometimes chuck slugs and snails into it, as it is nearer than the canal. This does not improve the water clarity or quality.
Is it any use for watering my allotment? Of course, I have to bend down and fill a watering can, but it is nearer than the canal, where we have to do the same.
I must admit that the collection rainwater off my greenhouse by the barrels are more useful, but in dry weather both the barrels and the pond nearly dry up, although the canal doesn't. Global warming seems to be
Global warming seems to be giving us dry spring weather and also drier summers
giving us dry spring weather and also drier summers.
Would I go to the trouble of digging a pond again? The answer is Yes. Mainly for the wildlife.
Juliet Blackburn
Editor’s note: Allotment Associations who do allow ponds to be created on plots must ensure plotholders follow conditions on the siting and size of the pond, measures taken to protect children such as a raised grid, and arrangements for inspection.
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             38 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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