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Are there common (normally garden) plants that like wet feet well enough to grow in submerged pots?  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Hey, I need help with my frivolous wintertime experiments.  Basically I am looking for common garden plants (the sort of thing I'm likely to already have seeds for in a normal huge collection of garden seeds) that tolerate wet feet unusually well.  They don't necessarily need to be willing to germinate in saturated soil or produce a crop there, but I want help identifying things that will survive and make greenery under those conditions -- that are willing to at least pretend to be aquatic plants. 

Here's why I am not running out to source some aquatic plants commercially: I'm playing.  So, no budget.  And it's the wrong time of year here to just go dig some wild stuff up. 

Backstory: To help get my dry roasting hot container garden and everything in it through the summer, I maintain a sort of ghetto water feature in it full of snails, frogs, reeds, water chestnuts, dragonfly nymphs, and so forth. (No extra charge for water moccasins... uh, this is a joke until the day it stops being one.)  This year, I got some bigger water containers and added a few twelve-cent feeder goldfish.  I use this whole setup to rehydrate parched pots and to keep potting soil moist enough so that things will germinate in the heat, so it's pretty handy.  Too, the sludge that accumulates in the bottom makes a pretty decent fertilizer.


But, dead of winter (January) here is potentially too freezy outside for goldfish, at least in the size containers I currently have.  So I also started buying up old fish tank gear at garage sales.  I'm just now getting to the point of having a nicely-bubbled tank set up for the goldfish (and some of their snail friends) inside, and they are swimming around in a sterile tank full of boring suburban fish-tank decorations and giving me the fish-eye.  If fish could talk, these are saying "Hey, asshole, what is this dead-plastic-pirate shit? We liked the plants we had outside; even after they froze and died, they were at least interesting and somewhat tasty!"

Eventually I'm going to rejigger some of the extra fishtank gear into a genuine indoor aquaponics setup, but that's far in the future; right now, I'm learning and playing.  Right now, I just want to be able to set a small pot in a fish tank with something growing in it and have that something not die, and I'm looking for inspiration about plants likely-to-be on hand that I could play with.

Any ideas?
 
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I would suggest some watercress, My garden is a swamp and some areas are flooded shallowly for 8-9 months of the year, many things grow there but none of the garden plants that were here (around 6 years ago it was a well manicured drained garden) have survived the swamp coming back. Things that grow down in the swamp include grass, sedge, watercress, cattails, flag iris, water avons, meadowsweet. And a few maybe you could use Water mint, Pennyroyal (a small mint), marsh marigold and marsh mallow. Only problem is that with the exception of the pennyroyal they all get pretty big.
 
Dan Boone
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Sweet!  That is exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for.  I would never have thought of watercress as it is an unfamiliar veg to me but I’ll bet I have some seed or can lay hands on quite easily.  And you have reminded me that cut mint takes root and lives happily forever in a glass of water, which means it can probably be coaxed into aquatic living too.  Thanks!
 
pollinator
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You can grow lettuce directly floating in water, no pot needed.  Just take a piece of styrofoam and put a hole through it.  Probably easiest to start the lettuce in a small pot or peat pod, until it's large enough so that it doesn't fall through the hole.

In fact, from what I've read almost all your standard garden vegetables can be grown on 'floats', although some (like leafy greens) tend to do better than others.
 
pollinator
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First of all I thought willow as it's impossible to drown but it gets a bit big :-) iris family are pretty good , duck weed might count as fish food :-)

David
 
Dan Boone
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:from what I've read almost all your standard garden vegetables can be grown on 'floats'



I have read similar, and want to try that when I get a bigger setup. But at the very small scale I’m dealing with I don’t think floats are practical yet.
 
Dan Boone
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David Livingston wrote:First of all I thought willow as it's impossible to drown but it gets a bit big



The willow that’s trying to eat my porch has gone dormant for the year and dropped its leaves.  Do you suppose if I took a cutting it would wake up, root out, and leaf up?  Costs nothing to try anyway, not even a dozen steps worth of effort, I don’t even need to put on shoes!
 
David Livingston
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I suspect yes as they are little B@@@@@s like that :-) don't think it's a day length thing although it could be :-)
David
 
pollinator
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Just throwing it out there,but this sounds like a perfect enviroment for rice.
 
pollinator
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You can strike watercress from bundles bought at the greengrocer. HOw about clamus? YOu can dig out a piece of root it is a wild plant. Marsh mallow? gotu kola? If you are aboe to buy some plants there are very useful aquatics.
 
Dan Boone
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William Bronson wrote: Just throwing it out there,but this sounds like a perfect enviroment for rice.



Doh!  (Smacks forehead) You are not wrong, and that wasn’t even on my radar!  This is why I needed this thread!
 
Dan Boone
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Angelika Maier wrote:You can strike watercress from bundles bought at the greengrocer.



I was thinking that too.  Sadly, where I am it’s a rarity/luxury vegetable; I can find it at the rich-people-grocers in the big city that’s a two hour drive away, but not closer. It’s on my list for the next excursion!
 
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I've noticed a lot of things will grow equally well in either plain water, or well-drained dirt; what they don't like is soggy dirt. I expect it's a matter of both oxygen content and bacterial activity (both going to err on the wrong side in soggy dirt, while water both absorbs and circulates oxygen, and fails to nourish bacteria).
 
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If you have a filter pump in your collection of aquarium stuff set it up to pump into a tray 1 or 2 inches deep to bottom water your pots and then siphon back int the tank. That should be good for anything that likes to grow in wicking soil.
 
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You'll have to check if it's permitted in your area, but kang kong (aka water spinach) would seem like an appropriate choice.I ordered some seeds through ebay to grow in a rain barrel w/ some fish & other critters this summer. I would check an asian market see if you could just buy some and root it( thought about that after spending $ on seeds & shipping). It would only be an option in the warmer months, being a tropical plant.
 
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Hello Dan

Skandi Rogers mentioned most things that i would have mentioned of hand.

I'm having trouble visualizing what your setup actually looks like. Pictures available ?

I've been experimenting with pots full of water in which i grow al kinds of stuff. I've noticed that if you start with putting water and soil or gardensoil in a pot, it becomes a stinky mess - many plants grow well enough though. No fisch, no snails, etc.... though. Dragonflies sometimes hover nearby but that's it.

I usually start of with a container (f.e. a transparant, plastic drawer from an old freezer or a bigh, glass cover of an industrial lighting fixture) mostly filled with water and shoots of plants (not always swamp plants). I then wash in small amounts of saindy soil and small gravel into the container. I build up the level of soil up to 60-80% of soil (by volume). From time to time, i drain it tot mimic a natural drought cycle.

In general things go well with these pots. Little or no great loss of plants but the water cress does only do really well in pots where you 'refresh' the water regularly to mimic softly streaming water.

A bonus of using transparant containers is that you see the develloping roots easily.
A second bonus is that you can use these pots quite easily to lett cuttings take root. Goes well with different kinds of Ribes.
A third bonus is that you can use the washed out soil when you clean used containers. You let the washed in soil form sediment layers. The remaining clear water is drained off or used by the resident plants.


 
gardener
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Hi, Dan
I am wondering how your experiments went ... what did you find that worked and what didn't?
 
pollinator
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Ive been reading up on kratky method for hydroponics and found it interesting. Hydroponics take energy to constantly aerate the water so the roots dont drown. The kratky method uses a fixed top rather than a floating raft.

As the roots go down, the water level drops. This exposes the top roots to air and they do well. The roots are constantly growing down while the water level decreases.

It can be as simple as cutting a hole in a mason jar and dropping a hydroponic cup into the hole. Fill the jar with a fertilized solution and forget about it. Dont aerate, dont add more solution.  In a month, harvest your lettuce.

Im trying this within a week. Gonna try it with a homebrew solution that will either work or not. Im not keen on buying a premade nutrient unless i did it for side by side comparison(which i might do). It seems that a worm casting tea made from pond water might work. Possibly a little seawater for the minerals.

Here's a link for a better understanding
https://www.greenandvibrant.com/the-kratky-method

Wish me luck.
 
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So I plan to have my swim pond up and running for next spring and I want to plant food in it.

Will cranberry do well planted on the side??
Elderberry?
Watermelons?
 
pollinator
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Edible pond plants I'm growing:

Cattail
Duck Potato
Pickerel Rush
Watercress
Chinese Water Chestnut
Mint
Lotus

 
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