Lifestyle : koi keeping and gardening

The pond builder and I are coming up to 10 years in Little Siberia. He’s been learning along the way and has created multiple outdoor ponds, multiple indoor wintering ponds and planted a lot of trees and shrubs. The work never really ends and we love watching our little half acre grow and change. Our koi seem very content in their ponds. The upper pond koi are eating a great deal and the warmer weather will allow me to switch to JPD Shori (high growth) soon. Right now I have them on a mix of JPD Fujizakura (general health) and JPD Yamato (color enhancer). These koi are very friendly and always looking for a handout. The latest koi, Tequila, a two step kohaku, has finally started asserting herself and diving into the food. She had been pushed around by some of the bigger girls when she first arrived, but that’s not happening any more.  I usually have one or two koi that hang out by themselves most of the time. I watch them carefully since sick koi will often self-isolate. It’s surprising to see which ones self-isolate in the winter pond and in the outdoor ponds – it’s never the same koi. I am always relieved when they spend some more time swimming and eating with the rest of the koi.
Upper pond koi will follow people around the pond hoping for a snack.
The lower pond clarity has been a challenge this year. Between heavy pollen, pine/maple/oak pollen structures dropping and a late start with the UV light – our lower pond has been on the green side. So we’re playing catch up to clearer water and it’s gradually looking better. This year the pond builder has remounted the side boards and redone some of the wood decking around this pond. We still need to clean and repaint the surfaces. I had an auto-feeder balanced on one of the corners and it was above a water drip into the pond. The splashing water bounced up into the edge of the feeder and made a mush that did not allow food to be dispensed. We were gone for a few days and came home to a basically full feeder. Thankfully, my visiting daughter had been throwing food in by hand. Once we finish cleaning up the edges, we’ll be remounting the feeder in a better spot.
Lower pond koi
Our three little tosai are in the green pond and it’s been difficult to see them. I am assuming they haven’t had much to eat but there’s plenty of algae. The larger koi gobble up all the JPD Fuyufuji so I have been breaking up some of the pellets by hand. The ground up pellets tend to sink faster and the large koi will go for larger pieces first. I’m thinking the little tosai might be getting some food. They appear to be growing and in the last few days, I have seen them pushing their way around, closer to the surface during feeding time. I have some Kenzen 4mm Breeder’s Choice coming my way this week. I have always liked using Kenzen koi food with tosai. It seems to be the right food to put on growth without creating fat koi. It is a color food which is good for my tosai but not so good for the shiro utsuris. I’m hoping they will ignore the 4mm pellets and just go for the 7mm pellets of Fuyufuji. The shiro utsuri that swam into the skimmer and ended up losing 20+ scales is healing nicely.
The three tosai are just in front of the budo goromo and shiro utsuri.
I haven’t been spending as much time this year filming the koi underwater but I wanted to see how the tosai were doing in the murky green water. The upper pond koi are easily observed but it’s fun to get a closer look at them as well. 2:47 Video – pond check with the GoPro
Springtime and summer in Minnesota is beautiful. The days are getting longer and the green feels very intense after the long winter. The flowers seem to bloom overnight and every week there are new plants in bloom around the yard.
Spring time in Little Siberia
I was hoping the crabapple tree would get a cherry blossom tree effect but its flowers bloom after the first leaves . The tree in bloom keeps its looks for only a few days and if you have a thunderstorm go through, the blooming period is that much shorter. This year my crabapple tree looked interesting for about two weeks 😂.
Louisa May crabapple tree in bloom
We’ve had a lot of large trees removed from our yard, one because they were in the way of the pond, or we did not like them or they were unhealthy and on the downhill slide. Two months ago we had a large birch taken down in the front yard. We had a large open space in the front of our house that demanded a new tree. We were thinking about another Norway Pine or a White Pine. Wandering around the nursery yesterday, the pond builder saw a 6′ Austrian Pine. It’s not too fussy about conditions and should do well in the full sun. The pond builder thought it may have been planted a little too close to the house but it will not be a problem for two or three decades…
Austrian Pine planted 6.6.2020 – currently 6’ high, will grow to 50-60’
We have some big changes down the road. The pond builder and I will be closing on 41 acres in North Carolina this summer. Endless projects ahead including a new koi pond and plenty of gardening. The pond builder told me that he can see the squirrels in my head running faster thinking about fruit trees, vegetable gardens and a larger scale Japanese garden. For our current garden, I tend to select dwarf versions and it will be nice to see full size plants. I’m sure the deer will be eating half of the projects… Then there’s the logistical problems of transporting koi and/or keeping koi in two homes 1100 miles apart. We’re not really sure how the commute between homes will be but we are confident that our North Carolina pond will be another improvement in pond design. I’m just very excited to be gardening in hardiness zone 7B.
New koi pond in 2021?
What will this area look like in a few years?
More fun ahead!

Koi  keeping friends – do you want to buy hand sanitizer in bulk? The pond builder’s company makes vehicle wash chemicals, but we also happen to make hand sanitizer. We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, EPA registered facility and FDA approved facility. Our hand sanitizer is water thin and smells kind of like tequila (it’s produced with highly filtered ethanol).  Hand sanitizer is sprayed on, dries quickly and does not feel sticky. Our friend who owns a hair salon has been adding essential oils to make it smell more citrusy or lavender-ish. We sell our hand sanitizer by the case =  4 x one gallon jugs. You will need to provide your own type of dispenser (spray bottle). The case costs $160.00 and includes free shipping within the contiguous United States. Here’s a special deal – if you put in the coupon code PANDAID , the price for the case will drop to $130.00, still includes free shipping within the contiguous United States. The link for the product is here: