|19th century harvesting of wild rice. Photo public domain.|
Some of you may wonder why I would choose to devote space to a small pond when I have so little land with which to work. Isn’t this a large amount of precious space to devote for a little bit of ambiance? And really, who is fooled into thinking they are relaxing by a babbling brook just because they are sitting near a pump that causes a trickling sound in a puddle of water?
The pond will serve several purposes in addition to an attempt at ambiance:
- Crops! Yes, multiple edible plants can grow in water. My plan is to grow wild rice, a native North American water grass.
- Frogs! Growing food organically does not mean we can just stop using pesticides and things will grow without any pests and problems. We must help keep the balance of the ecosystem by introducing all levels of the food chain into the space. Not only do frogs eat bugs, they also eat slugs…yes!!
- Fish! We have become disconnected from our food sources and the processes involved. If we can bring ourselves to wash, gut, and bone fish, we can enjoy delicious tilapia from a small pond. Maybe we'll just start with freshwater clams. I have my doubts on how we’ll do at this piece of the puzzle, but this is about the journey. Time will tell.
How am I going to build a small pond without much cost? The kiddie pool that the kids have outgrown. A small pond needs an impermeable liner in order to hold water, and that big plastic nuisance sitting in my basement can be put to use instead of taking up space in a landfill somewhere.
Insights for this project came from Sustainable Living in the City by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew and this month’s “Nature Notes from the Plot” in Kitchen Garden.