Future Farm has a large fish pond. Our fish pond has zero plants growing in it, though there are plenty growing around it, but nothing that is really helping to improve the water quality. So I have been searching for some aquatic plants to introduce. There is an aquatic plant sale at the local arboretum in July, but until then I thought I would try sprouting some lotus seeds.
Lotus are not only edible, one of my main requirements for plants on Future Farm, but grow beautiful flowers, provide shade for the fish, and will gobble up some of the nutrients (fish poo) in the pond.
Where to Purchase
Lotus seeds can sort of expensive online, so I purchased some dried lotus seed pod heads from the nearest craft store. I tried to pick some that had large, heavy looking seeds. Only paid about $6 for 3 seeds pods and I ended up with around 15-20 seeds. The seed pods were fairly brittle, so I could easily break the seed pods apart to get the seeds out.
Prepare and Sprout the Seeds
I followed a youtube video on how to grind the seeds using a bench grinder. You grind the round end, not the pointy end. It was very easy, but if you don’t have a bench grinder, you could use a file or “score” the seeds with a knife. I then put all the seeds in a plastic container and added water. I assumed those that were floating were no good, and threw them in the small pond we have out back, just in case they were viable.
Each day I changed out the water. It only took 1-2 days for my seeds to start sprouting. All the remaining seeds sprouted but two, which I also threw into the small pond. I transferred my seeds to a bucket to continue to grow. They grew very long shoots very fast. In about a week they had the beginnings of leaves on them. At the end of two weeks each seed had one small leaf and a second leaf starting it’s way up, by the third week a third leaf and some roots. We decided it was time for them to go live in the pond.
Planting the Lotus Seeds
I pushed the hard seeds down into the sandy bottom of the pond near our dock, letting the leaves float and the roots spread out in the detritus on the bottom of the pond. Lotus like to grow in relatively shallow water, less than 7′ deep. I planted mine in depths around 2-3 feet deep. Lotus can spread easily, but our pond is deep in the middle, so hopefully they will remain just around the edges.
As an indication of how badly we need some plants to clean up the water, there was a nice film on the surface of the pond which looks much like an oil slick. It is a slimy brown algae which got all over my arms as I planted my new Lotus sprouts. I certainly hope the plants can help improve the water quality.
I think next time I will grind the seeds and plant them directly in the pond. Since we live down south, it is warm and sunny enough for them to easily sprout outdoors. I bet they will grow even faster in the warm nutrient filled water!