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Bog Garden Ideas  RSS feed

 
Lisa Stauber
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I live in zone 9, in an area that has sheeting rains (occasionally), 100+ degree heat (4 months out of the year) and fairly high humidity.

I have an area right next to my house, on the west side (full sun), that is very boggy. The issue is, my air conditioner dehumidifier drips from the roof (!) onto this ground, creating a 2x4' approximately area of very soggy soil. I put a Rubbermaid bin under to catch the drip, and use that to water my garden. It collects 5+ gallon a DAY just from dripping. I can't install anything to redirect this water (i.e., gutter to a rain barrel, etc.)

I ran across some ideas for bog gardens on some gardening forums, and that looks very interesting and something I would like to try. I am a tenant/renter in this house for a few more months, so I cannot install a costly or large scale project, but I was thinking I could perhaps use containers or frame out an inexpensive raised bed in this area (grass doesn't grow here, too wet, it's just a mud hole under my back windows!)

So, I thought I'd ask you guys about good plants to grow in boggy, subtropical conditions! The bog gardens I am coming across in my searches are mostly ornamental or used as biofilters for koi or natural swimming pools.

I really like the idea of putting in some "fun" plants like venus fly traps, but that requires quite acidic soil which I think will make it hard to make a "bog guild"- though goodness knows we can use all the help we can get with bugs around here.

I want something USEFUL. Edible, medicinal, etc. I am really, really allergic to cattails.

What can I eat, that will grow with a constant influx of water and tolerate the heat and full sun? Need some ideas- especially if you've actually grown them/done this instead of "theoreticals"!
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
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well all you need to do is get a large container....fill it with 1 part peat moss and 1 part sand and then add your plants....then place it under your air conditioner....now this will create an acidic bog so plants would include venus fly traps, sundews, or pitcher plants. These are not very useful plants however but they are a good biological control for insects.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6781
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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The world's most productive plant, on a pounds per acre basis, is the water chestnut. Check it out and see if you can meet it's needs. You've got the heat and the water, so all that is needed is soil and sunlight. It has been grown in containers before.

If you ever move, most water can be drained off for the trip, without hurting the plants. Their natural environment has fluctuating water levels. Duck potato is more cold tolerant and is used in the same way as water chestnut. Lotus is the most fragrant edible plant I know of. It thrives in similar conditions to the others.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
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Taro, also known as elephant ear, is an eminently edible plant well suited to your conditions and climate. There are many varieties, some primarily for the tubers, others for the greens and runners. Just about any kind, even the ornamental varieties, produce good cooking greens, though you may have to change the water once.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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You should be warm enough for kang kong
Often called 'water spinach', it's a delicious South Asian green.
Just found more talk about it
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
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I agree that kangkong is an excellent plant for the situation and climate described. She might have to bring some cuttings in to keep it over the short winter but the productivity of edible greens ( and they are also edible raw, as salad) through the long hot season would be well worth it. Unfortunately, kangkong is considered an invasive in some places, including the US state of Florida. I'm not sure where Lisa is located but if she is in FL, she may have to source the plant "informally" (Communities of Southeast Asian immigrants, and the wild areas near them, are the best chance). Elsewhere in the US, some seed companies specializing in Oriental vegetables carry this plant. Some varieties really prefer to grow in water and others are more adapted to drier conditions but still quite wet.
 
Mickey Kleinhenz
Posts: 30
Location: Houston, TX
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I also live in zone 9 and the A/C drip has been a vital part of keeping my worms alive through the summer. I know you are unable to make physical changes, but if visual aesthetic is not a huge issue you could put you worm bin at chest height above your plantings(and redirect the water from there as you choose) thereby creating a more integrated system.

my current A/C drip system is a 3/4 inch piece of poly pipe(not permanently connected) which takes the condensate from the outlet under the roof into a 35 gallon Tupperware full of BSF larve which is full of holes in the bottom and sits on a couple of 2x4's above a 275 gal IBC(with the worms) with the top cut off. The bottom of the IBC stays open so the water is constantly moving through the system. During the summer the worms concentrate in the water(I think to stay cool). They also process a little less in the high heat, but it has been so cool for me to see how nature works, because during the summer is when the BSF come in strong(at least here in Houston) so I just shift where I put the scraps.

Anyway, I just stumbled onto this because I needed a way to keep the bedding wet. I'm super excited with the results though and I'm gonna try and improve on it for next year. Here's a video if I peaked any interest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=escAtClgvMI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjiwKPkyXuw

I'm having fun getting into all these cool permaculture projects and I'm gonna finish my PDC this fall.

Also I don't think I showed the outlet in the video, but at the bottom of the IBC(right now) there is about a 4 square foot boggy area. Some of the worms leave(hang out in the wet soil), but no mass exodus or anything. The A/C drip goes dry once it cools off in November/December and nature will take its course with those outside. I will water the rest to keep the bedding moist.
 
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