Sunday, 24 December 2006

Magic properties of barley straw.

We were very fortunate at the garden centre, in being given expert advice by someone who specialised in aquatic plants. After calculating the volume of each pond, he was able to ascertain the quantity of oxygenators we would need. He also helped us choose the appropriate numbers of floating-leaved plants, emergent pond plants and plants for the wetland areas. We were also given very helpful advice on how to clean the algal bloom we had in each pond. The answer to that lay in paying a visit to our local farmer.

Nowadays it is common practice, for those who find they have a problem with a sudden development of greenish/bluish algal bloom in their pond, to go to a garden centre and buy little mats of barley straw, which are then floated on the surface. Sixteen years ago, it was a relatively new idea that, with time, barley straw could eliminate the algae. There were no little mats in garden centres then. We bought a bale of barley straw from our local farmer, and stuffed it into old onion sacks and floated these on the ponds. The old man from the village derived much pleasure each time he passed by and saw the floating sacks, but we just smiled and waved, and thought to ourselves how wonderful the ponds would be with all the new plants we had ordered.

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