Dear Almighty Green One,
In the last couple of letters, I have addressed bottom ecology. The story of the pond begins in the bottom with the little beasties you eat froggie. It provides your sleeping bed where you are now. It is too cold now but spring is coming; besides there is nothing to eat yet except some algae.
In the beginning some 4.5 billion years ago, life started. It settled on a rock; and still exists there today. Not just any rock but round river-run rock. Most ponds do not have this easily obtained habitat. A single pile in a pond will increase the habitat for several thousand species of pond inhabitants.
“PonDoc, what size do I want?” The first thing a quarry owner asks is “What size?” A bug on a rock doesn’t care. Often you can obtain a mixture of sizes from about an inch down to sand. What is more important is you do not want it washed too much. The reason is a load of river run rock will bring many desirable species of bugs to the pond. You get an entire aquatic microbial population transplanted to your pond.
Do not use crushed rock. River rock has been washed in rivers for thousands of years. The mineral content has been removed. Volcanic basalt has a lot of minerals including mercury and arsenic. If you get crushed rock, you are gambling that these toxic poisons are not present.
There is 4.5 billion years of evolution between the inhabitants of the rock and the hand (see pic). Often the hand doesn’t understand the “Whos” on the rock. The bugs on the rock are almighty. We think we are in control but anyone with a dicey belly understands differently. A pond also works on its belly.
Gluggie, ole’ froggie, I am trying. I will get your house in order as soon as I can. You cannot expect me to do it all at once even though you need it all. Even though a pond is a closed system, if something is missing in Nature, our Mother replaces it with something else. Often we do not like the other “something”. I will be seeing you in a few weeks.
PonDoc from the pond