Since carnivorous availability changes with the seasons here, I figured I'd run into Lowe's to see if they'd started getting some things in since it's warming up a bit now. Lo and behold, they had a relatively fresh shipment of plants in. VFTs, VFTs... tons of VFTs. Until I spotted two cubes with Darlingtonia californica in them. First time I'd seen them available. I wasn't sure I should grab one, worried I'd kill it, but my wife convinced me to bring it home, along with 2 other rescues I spotted on the clearance cart: an obviously mislabeled Sarracenia (labeled as S. purpurea, but it most definitely is not; I'll need you Sarracenia experts to ID it for me in another thread), and an unnamed, pitcherless Nepenthes.
Anywho, I got it home and the gears started turning: "How am I going to keep this thing's roots cool...? Hmmm..." I'm sure you all know the feeling. Well, I came up with what I suspect will be a pretty successful contraption. Borrowing the concept of a recirculating, self-watering setup from my mini bog, I took an extra ice chest we had laying around and set to work. I cut a hole in the lid of the chest and put a Sterilite bin in the hole. The bin has holes drilled in the bottom so it ends up not sitting in water, which I assumed would be best given its (planned-to-be) frequent and reliable watering schedule. A pump sits in the ice chest, the chest full of water, and pumps that water up into the Sterilite bin. The water drains out through the holes, back into the reservoir ready to go for another round. I'm guessing the insulating properties of the ice chest will keep the water in the reservoir cool, but also keep the media equally cool. On days that the temperature gets pretty high, I can easily put a frozen water bottle (even a 2-liter bottle for prolonged cooling) in the reservoir. It's currently sitting under a 65w CFL fixture in my plant room, but as soon as the weather warms up, I'm sticking it outside to see how it does.
But enough with the alphabet, time for some pictures.
Full contraption, pre-plants.
Inside the ice chest.
Enough of the "cheap" LFS to cover up the holes.
Planted up in the "good stuff" (Chilean LFS): 2 parts LFS : 1 part Perlite
One of the divisions.
And the other.
The plant was fairly sorry looking, but I'm optimistic. I'm planning on putting the pump on a timer for 2 or three 30-minute waterings a day. Oughta keep the media both moist and very cool, something I suspect should mimic their natural environment well. The ice chest holds a reservoir of about 4 gallons of water, too, so less refilling makes me happy. The 2/1 LFS/perlite mix is pretty airy and well-draining, so I don't think it's going to get soggy in there, just very moist and highly oxygenated.
EDIT: Also, since it was built with stuff I had laying around, the couple of pieces of PVC and the Sterilite bin being the exceptions, it cost me a whopping ~$3 to put together. ^.^