Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FOOD DAY IS TODAY! Come out to Speedway Plaza to check out all the tables. We will have one for the CEC and gardening with lots of awesome information (and prizes)!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Concho's Container Pond: How to assemble your own!

We have just installed a container pond at the garden! We will be finishing up the final touches at today's workday (5-7PM), so come out if you would like to help.

So, what is a container pond and why are they useful?

Container ponds are small ponds usually installed in gardens, parks, or backyards for both aesthetic and practical reasons. If fish are added to the pond, it can be a great way to keep mosquito populations at bay! Otherwise, it is just a fun project with a beautiful outcome.

How do you go about assembling one?

Well, with the help a Pam Penick's similar blog, I am going to go through the steps we took to make one, so you can construct your own!

Step 1: Getting and installing a stock tank

The first thing to do is find a container for your pond. The easiest choice is to get a stock tank, which can be found at almost any feedstore. We got ours from Callahan's General Store in Austin, which has been so helpful in providing materials and information for many of our projects at the garden. There are a few different sizes of these tanks, however, any size will do. Just choose the one that fits best in the area you want to put it; we chose one with a 4 foot diameter. The only specific advice about size is to get one that's at leat 2 feet deep to support the plant and animal life that will be sustaining its equilibrium for you.:)

To install it, it is best to have a really level area of ground to place it on. It is a good idea to strip the ground down to the dirt (uproot grass, remove rocks, etc. . .) and spread out a layer of small pebbles (pea gravel works well) for it to sit on top of. This will allow you to make the land as level as possible so your pond won't sink down on one side in the future.

Step 2: Buying and planting the correct aquatic plants

Now it's time to fill the tank up with water and add the plants! If you fill it up with a hose, it is very important to let the water dechlorinate for a few days before moving on. The best option, if available, is to use rainwater. This does not have the chlorine that tap water has and makes the plants and fishies very happy.

Three different types of plants are important to incorporate into your pond in order for it to be almost completely self-sustaining:

          1. oxygenators-completely submerged plants (Anacharis)

          2. marginals-go around the edges of ponds (Marsh Marigold, Arrow Head)

          3. deep-water aquatics-sit on the bottom with leaves that emerge out of the water 
                                                                 (water lilies)

Having at least one type of each of these will ensure there is plenty of oxygen in the water for the fish as well as preventing excessive algea growth by absorbing nutrients. Fish also use some submerged plants as a food source, so you might have to replace them every once in a while. Deep-water aquatics like lily pads provide partial shade, which keeps the water temperature cooler and blocks sunlight (which algae use for energy).
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center donated all of our plants and the fish to make our container pond possible. They have also been very important to the success and growth of the garden committee!

Plant oxygenators by filling any pot with soil and your plant and setting it at the bottom of your tank. Adding a layer of pea gravel on the top of the soil will keep it from being disrupted by the water and fish. Do the same for all three types of plants, placing marginals on platforms (bricks, cinderblocls, etc.) around the edges of the tank and deep-water aquatics on the bottom. If the leaves do not yet reach the surface of the water, elevate them on smaller platforms until they grow big enough to rest on the bottom of your tank.

Step 3: Don's forget the fish!

Last but not least, the fish! The two best options for container ponds in this neck of the woods are the goldfish and mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis). The Wildflower Ceneter again provided us with gambusia fish, which we just put in this week!

The amount you should put in depends on the size of your pond. The golden rule is that you should have 24 sq. inches of surface water for ever 1 in. of fish!

Helpful Tips
  • Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery also is a gerat place to look for many of the materials and knowledge needed to make your own container pond.
  • There might be an initial algea breakout at first, but don't fret! The plants and fish should take over, and it will probably go away by itself.
  • Here are a few references we used when planning the garden's container pond, so check them out if you have and more curiousities!
We hope this helps if you are interested in staring a new project!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Potluck & Social!

Join us on Wednesday, October 31st at the UT Concho Community Garden for our Halloween Celebration!

Orange Bike Project will be having a Social Ride to the garden, taking a scenic route through campus and ending at the garden around 5 PM! Meet at "The Cage" at 4:15 PM, which is in Guadalupe Parking Garage (GUG) at the corner of San Antonio Street & 16th Street. Wheels down at 4:30 PM, sharp. For those interested, please email us at

The event will officially start at 5 PM, taking place of CEC's general meeting that night (carpool will be provided, if needed).

There will also be a partner pumpkin carving contest beginning at 5:30 PM. Sign up here if you are interested!

We hope that you can bring a festive dish to share with everyone and spread the Halloween spirit. Please let us know what you are planning to bring by filling out this form.

At 6:00 PM we will be showing George A. Romero's 1968 classic zombie thriller Night of the Living Dead and playing more fun games for those who are interested!

We hope you can join us in our fun celebration!! 
Costumes are highly recommended. :)

E-mail us at or check out events on our Facebook page for more information.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hey everyone!

Because it's been getting dark so early these past few weeks, we are going to move Thursday workdays up a bit to 5-7 PM. This way we can get some more daylight to work at the garden!

Sunday's work times will still be from 10 AM-12 PM.

If you can't make the entire time, just come to what you can!

When daylight savings ends, these hours might change again, so keep checking Facebook or the blog for updates.

Also, for all plot owners:

To make sure you are getting your 2 hours of volunteering in each month, scroll down to and click on the link that says Plot Owners' Service requirement Timesheet

Thanks for all the hard work. :)