Hi all -
I'm new to the forum (see my introduction today in the intro thread), but a fairly experienced CP grower - mostly Sarracenia. I built a 12' x 4' x 2' deep outdoor bog this past spring just south of Pittsburgh PA, and it is currently experiencing its first PA winter under a layer of leaves, some pine branches, and a plastic tarp. From my experiences with this method at my current house with a whiskey barrel bog for 2 years, and at a previous house with a smaller in-ground bog for about 5 years before that, it works very well in this climate. But I have always thought that I could do better.
With the new bog as the centerpiece of the landscaping near my deck, and my collection growing in number and in emotional attachment, i though it was worthwhile to consider building something more elaborate, or at least more effective. Here is my current plan, and I would appreciate comments and constructive criticism - especially from CP growers with experience winterizing outdoor bogs in similar climates.
Rather than cutting the taller pitchers down to a few inches (to reduce potential for rotting/fungus, and to make it less likely to uproot plants during mulch removal in the spring) and adding a thick layer of leaves and a plastic tarp directly over the plants, i am envisioning a quonset hut style enclosure made of steel fencing (the standard wire fencing with a 2" by 4" rectangular pattern) arching over the entire bog, with a few supports in the center. This "frame" would be covered with a layer of bubble wrap and then topped with a plastic tarp or greenhouse sheeting (including the open ends). I would still mulch with oak leaves and/or pine needles to protect the rhizomes.
This design would:
1. Allow me to leave the pitchers standing in hopes that some of the hardier ones (flava, oreophila) might even keep their pitchers into the spring.
2. Potentially have some solar heat gain in the enclosure that might keep the plants at a higher temperature that the "blanket" method that I have been using. I would need to monitor to be sure that the temperature was not *too* high.
3. Allow the plants to get *some* sunlight - at least ore than they would completely covered by mulch and plastic. if this proves helpful, I could use clear plastic greenhouse sheeting - with the pitchers extending through the mulch layer, they would get indirect sunlight.
4. Keep the plastic tarp layer off of the mulch and plants and hopefully prevent any rotting/fungus.
Maybe I'm just thinking about this too much. Maybe it's just plain a bad idea for some reason that I haven't thought of. But despite my success over the past 10 or so years, I'm just never confident with the method I have been using.
What are your thoughts? Does anyone do something similar?
Thanks for reading - I promise that all of my posts will not be this long!
Dustin in Pittsburgh
(by the way, I'm identifying myself like this because I saw another Dustin on here - go figure!)