This article is about how to Winterize the Estate | Getting Ready for Winter. I will cover what I do to winterize my pond, pool, outside cold sensitive plants, garden, and what I do with the leaves from my dozen + oak trees. This post is talking about what I do in suburbia Pasadena, MD. This post would be quite different for my farm in Romney, WV. I may write a post about that next year.
I have a 12-foot by 7-foot pond that is 2-foot deep stocked with Koi and gold fish. You are supposed to stop feeding the fish when the water temperature drops below 55 degrees. The fish overwinter just find with the cold weather but there are other hazards that come with winter.
First, the lily pads die back after a few frosts and when the water temperature drops to a certain point. The lily pads protected the fish all summer long from the nasty blue herring that wants to eat all of the fish for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.
Then there is the leaf litter from all the oak trees. The leaves will all fall into and be blown into the pond and settle at the bottom. That’s fine until next spring when the plants start to decay. The decay causes a nitrogen explosion which acts as fertilizer for the algae. The algae will go crazy and you can’t see the fish. Not seeing the fish is the least of the problems though. Algae can suck oxygen out of the water and causes the fish to suffocate.
An easy solution to both of these problems is to put a net over the pond. I made a PVC A-frame house that goes into the pond and holds a net up and allows the leaves to fall to the outer sides of the pond. This keeps the pond leaf free and the net keeps the predators out as well. See the embedded YouTube video of the pond net.
The pool would be subject to the following issues: leaves, algae, chemical imbalance, and freezing. The majority of the issues are solved by covering the pool. A cover keeps the leaves out, prevents sun light from growing algae in the water and lack of sunlight also prevents the chemical from burning off. If you put an air pillow in the center of the cover, then when the pool freezes the ice will break in the center of the pool and not expand out and ruin the sides of the pool. The picture shows the pool covered up. I still need to drain some water off the top and add the air “pillow”. I also need to do the step below dealing with the pipes.
The only thing not solved here are the pipes. I use a shop vac and blow or suck all of the water out of the pipes and then put pool anti-freeze in the pipes and seal them up. Pool anti-freeze can be bought at a pool store.
Cold Sensitive Plants
Cold sensitive plants that you want to overwinter need to be protected. You can bring them in the house or put them in a garage in some cases. My garage is connected to the house and would probably overwinter most plants. I just put mine in the basement near the door which has a window to let light in. I water them about every two weeks.
Living in suburbia, I used to bag my leaves and put them out by the curb. Last year I bagged all my leaves and took them to West Virginia. I spread them out over the garden, about 18” thick. This kept the weeds down and soil moisture up as well as helped the soil microbes and worms. See the video for more details.
Do NOT cut all of your old plants down and get rid of them leaving bare soil. Either use your old plants as mulch or find something else to use as mulch. Leaving bare exposed soil over the winter kills beneficial soil microbes and promotes weed growth. Maybe grab some of the leaves if you have some and just lay them over the garden bed.
I will be cutting down my old plants and just dropping them on top of the soil. They will mostly decompose by next year.
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