Winter Plant Care

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Daryl adding plants to milk crateOur pond is located in zone 5, so we need to prepare for a cold winter. To protect the lilies and potted plants from ice, most of them must be lowered to the bottom of our pond. We developed an easy way to do this which keeps us out of the cold water.
Carl adding plants to milk crateOnce the season has ended we cut off all damaged foliage from our pond plants so they won't decompose in the water. We purchased inexpensive milk crates and enlarged some of the holes so that our goldfish can safely swim through them. (Be careful not to leave any sharp edges for them to scrape against.) We fit as many plants as possible into each crate and slide long pieces of rope through each one.
Using the rope as handles, we walk down opposite sides of the pond and carefully drag each crate along the surface. We can then easily lower them side by side into the deepest end of the pond. We leave the rope in the crates and tie them to plastic milk jugs which we float in the water. The jugs help absorb the compacting ice during the winter and make it easy to find the ropes in the spring.  We can simply untie them to lift the crated plants back up to the surface.

walking with the crate lowering the crate

One last winter tip. We do not feed our goldfish when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees. The fish can't digest the food if the water is cold but will eat it anyway if it was offered. We let them eat on their own during the coldest months of the year and they do just fine every year.

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