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Thread: bog plans and questions

  1. #1
    Nevermore's Avatar
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    bog plans and questions

    Hello- I have been gathering all the info I can on building an in-ground bog garden in the spring and have a few questions.

    I have had my collection for 6 years in a half barrel plastic pond container. I have been dragging it into the garage in the winter and wrapping it in a carpet and keeping a few compact fluorescent lights on them. The plants have been spreading, so I plan on building a permanent outdoor bog in the spring. It would be about 8’ x 4’ in size and 18-24” deep.

    -Drainage- some sites state to add small drain slits to the bottom of the liner to provide very slow drainage. Other sites state to have small drain slits a few inches down from the top rim. I would think that the slits at the bottom would help mimic nature… in that the water is always slowly moving through the media, vs staying stagnant anywhere below drain slits near the top. I do know that when I have repotted my barrel with completely new media, the spag below the plants is fairly smelly/anaerobic. Any pros/cons to either? Would the bottom slit drains help this? Also note that if water becomes an issue, I have several rain barrels daisy chained together, so I always have ample water at hand through the growing season.

    -Worms in media- I have read a few places about how worms can go to town on the media and speed up the decomposition process. I don’t plan on making a moat or raising the sides in anyway to keep critters out. Has anyone in zone 6 had this same issue?

    -Winter- I am in zone 6, and therefore plan to cover it all up in the winter with burlap and 1 foot of straw.. And then more burlap to secure it all down. Any further ideas? I still plan on overwintering my schnells ghost in the garage the first winter at least... I can’t loose that one!

    I will probably have more questions once I get started in march.

    Thanks

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    eou812's Avatar
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    same here i REALLY WANT TO BUILD ONE IN MARCH OR APRIL!

  3. #3
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    To me,
    out-doors is outdoors, and worms and such "wildlife" are going to be part of the equation,
    sometimes even if you try to prevent them.
    As far as cutting slits at the bottom of the liner or higher up, that is a situation that may bring about a problem one way or another. If you cut slits near the bottom you will have the benefit of "wash thru" even if worms make their home, but then if you get a real dry spell in the weather, you may use up your extra water and not have enough to keep the bog wet thru the drought.

    But then if you keep the cuts higher, indeed it will likely develop an "Anaerobic Nasty" smell and some stagnant properties.
    I use a more complex system which offers me more control. I try to rig up a system using tubes and hoses... where I can drain when I want, but also hold water when I need to. For me that works out best, but it takes some work to set-up (and occasionally clean up). On one "bog garden" I did something similar to my indoor system, but created the look of a natural "planted bog".
    From my experience, there is nothing quite like having a "real" bog, but short of living in one, any "artificial" system will take some work and have a few drawbacks, like renewing the media after it gets bad!

    I know this doesn't help, but do try to consider a system that can afford you some control if you can (Like a "drainage" system you can regulate). I don't know how it is by you, but here the weather and rainfall can vary quite a bit. There are times I have enough extra rainwater that I never use, and other times the barrels run dry and we experience another month of hardly any rain. (I use collected rainwater, but having a decent sized R.O. system could make outdoor drought conditions no problem at all.)

    As far as wintering over, it will be risky at first no matter what. But I can tell you that many CP's are a lot more hardy than we assume. But indeed it will depend on how severe a winter you get from year to year, so no matter what you do, I would recommend you have a flexible plan as well as a possible back-up plan! Winter protection is one case where overkill is better than not enough. (Just remember freezing isn't the only issue in the winter... cold, wet, stagnant and ultimately rotting your plants is just as lethal!)

    In the past I have had good luck with a "cold frame" type set-up over my bog area, but this too takes a lot of handiwork and thinking things thru. But hauling plants into our greenhouse to winter over is growing thin, and I am getting tired of it!

    I also plan to start doing more "permanent" outdoor growing again, if time and funds allow. It can be done, but each environment is unique in my opinion, and each grower needs to learn what they can and can't do. And even then, one bad year of temps can destroy many years of collecting and growing.

    The best advice I feel comfortable giving is to start small and reasonable, with plants you can risk and ones you know that can handle the winter. Then slowly expand it each year, not just with plants, but with methods of wintering over. It is unlikely that your first shot will cover all the bases and work perfectly, so don't get discouraged. That is the best way to figure out what to do for your area, your yard, your bog.
    What works best for me likely won't work best for you. But then, that's generally the case.

    Good luck with whatever you finally set up!
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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    Nevermore's Avatar
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    Thanks for the all the great info.

    I won't be too concerned of the worm issue, i would plant to change out the media after several years anyway.

    From a side conversation bog construction, that same idea of adding in a controlled drain system came up. So for that type of plan, i would run perforated PVC line across the bottom (covered in a screening material to keep the solids out). Then i could run the line through the side of the liner, seal it up tight, and then run it to a covered small dry well of sorts. A valve on the line could then be used to drain it during heavy rains.

    For the winter protection, if i would to make a frame of sorts that will hold the 12+ inches of straw off of the bog by a little bit, would this reduce it's insulation value?

    This all seems more complex then most sites show... but i am handy enough on plumbing and carpentry... and i like to have projects... and it keeps my off the streets!


    Photobucket

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    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Nice diagram!

    Yea, similar ideas and for me it gives me the ability to change conditions when I think is best.
    You can get "bulkheads" that will allow a tube to run thru the liner without leaking.
    There are some specifically sold for pond drains, however there are cheaper ones available thru some hydroponics shops. (Not sure if they are appropriate for your situation, you be the judge, but their price is a lot cheaper.)

    As far as the insulation is concerned, an air space has terrific insulating qualities, so long as it isn't open to the cold outdoors... but it will afford air circulation to a degree.

    For GrowinOld's "Solar heated bog"... start by looking up "cold frames", which if placed at one end of the "air space" could effectively heat the area a bit too! It is very simple, so long as one is slightly handy.
    [Sun comes in to the cold frame window, heats the area ...which if built with a little common sense, is modified to allow warmer air into the "air space" you spoke of, and also creating a slight convection current and natural air circulation throughout the bog. So long as you keep the snow off the cold frame window occasionally, and the sun hits it, you have a solar heated bog!]

    I did this years ago using an old (huge) double paned window someone was throwing away, but eventually tore it out years later when the trees over-shaded the yard. I really should put it in again (a better designed one), as we finally cut back (and down) a lot of trees this past fall, again creating new areas of full sun to grow in.

    Again, good luck!
    (And maybe take pictures for future reference! I had a few of mine from days back with "film" cameras, but can't ever find the pictures now!)

    Nice Orchid and Lotus! Reg. or dwarf lotus? Any seed avail?
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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    Nevermore's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.

    Doing the search on cold frames brought up a ton of back info. Gotta get reading!

    did know you can see the other Photobucket images ...

    no lotus see available... i usually just cut the flower heads once they are done.

  7. #7
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Looks like you've got the general concepts down. One thing you might want to account for is crud (media, roots) getting stuck in your outlet pipe. Even with a screen, particulate will make its way down to the bottom of the media; it's only a matter of how long it takes. Once some root fibers get in there as well you can start to lose flow pretty fast. You could provide an access so you can clear it out with a pipe brush, make it removable, or fit it to be flushed with running water from one end to the other. Screening it will work for a while but any plants with deep roots will take a keen interest in the water-filled passage at the bottom of their enclosure; also a particularly fine screen will just clog on the outside, where you can't get at it. Of course, it doesn't hurt to replace the media after a few years, so it may turn out to be a non-issue.
    The solution I've seen employed in biological water filters is to use a perforated outlet pipe at the bottom of a tank, covered in a layer of coarse, porous, unevenly cut material like scoria, and then place a screen over that, sometimes with a load-bearing structure between the screen and the drainage layer. The particulate that settles into the drainage layer is flushed out periodically with high-flow inlets on the sides of the tank, and biological processes end up eating up a lot of the organic sediment.
    I'm jealous! I wanted to do this at my old house but it was a rental and I knew I'd be moving - instead I'm building a mock greywater loop on my apartment balcony. XD
    ~Joe

    PS - I can never find it, but somewhere in the discussions about building bog gardens back around 2005-2007, someone struck on the idea of using plastic storage bins (like Rubbermaid boxes) as space-fillers at the bottom of bog gardens. The idea is to put a few small holes in the box, and optionally cut a hole to insert a long "snorkel" sort of pipe up to the surface of the media, then bury the empty box near the bottom of the bog. The box acts like a little underground aquifer and helps reduce the need for watering. If you search around for "storage tote" or "reservoir" or something you can find it... but I can never bring it up when I want to show it to somebody. :/
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Nevermore's Avatar
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    I haven't uprooted my mini bog plants in a few years... how deep can the roots get on a good clump?

    A screen material or landscape fabric will been a very slow drain i would think. So to increase the area of screen.. here is an updated illustration based on your input.

    Photobucket

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