Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Water Garden Tubs, 2010

I got the new water garden tubs started on June 14th, using a combo of wintered over and seed-started plants. I call them "new" because I've retired last year's tubs to be veggie planters and cleaned my plastic pot jungle from these two so they can be pressed into duty. In the right tub here we have (clockwise from left) ornamental black rice 'Black Madras' (from seed), varigated rush, a "wild" water lily with a marimo ball in the pot. The little decorative "cage" around the rice is the frame of a bird feeder I got for free from the dump (score! :)
In the left tub, there's "wild" cattail, cardinal flower and fiber optic grass potted together (from seed), and a store-bought water lily.

I had some extra plants from seed, as well as this small bit of "wild" cattail. So this insert from a buffet table makes a nice little "marginal plant nursery".I use this to keep the water clear, and stocked each tub with three "Rosy Reds" (minnows, basically.) The water lily in the left tub is this cute red that I found on clearance. I only bought it because I saw growth...made the mistake of hoping for growth last year with the very same one and got nothing but compost.

This year I want to see color!


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Lisa, I love your tub ponds. What do you set the plant pots on to keep them at water level? I can't quite see.

troutbirder said...

Interesting. I gave up on the wintering over strategy due to complaints about bugs hatching in the basement! :)

lisa said...

Monica-I used cracked terra cotta pots turned upside down, some stacked. They provide underwater "caves" for the fish to hide in, too.

Troutbirder-LOL! I don't have a basement, so the cattails were left outside in pots and covered with leaves. The varig. rush and wild lily were kept in an aquarium indoors with the fish. The lily seems to have needed a winter "rest" though, it's staying very puny so far.

Anonymous said...

I just love this idea! I'd love to do something like this on my front porch. I love the galvanized tubs, of course. :)
Do you ever have any coon problems?
Coons wreak havick here, digging into pots, knocking stuff over, etc, etc.
Do you have a pump hooked up to these or is it just still water?
Do you use rain water? How often do you top it off, and do you ever have to do a water change?
Do you supplement with fish food or do the fish just eat mosquito larvae?
Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions, but I'm serious about wanting one of these! Oh, one more question - I wonder what the healthy (high) temp is for the minnows? My porch is shaded, btw.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Fishies? You have fish in there? Where? Show me! I can't see 'em! :)

lisa said...

V-So far no raccoon problems, I use these tubs that are on legs for that reason. The water is just still, though I worried that switching to different fish would create a need. (So far they seem perfectly happy, when I can spot them.) When I filled the tubs I just used the hose, and I add water about once a week (unless it rains). I've never changed out the water during the whole season, I just drain them at the end of the summer. (My "tub season" has gone from April to October some years.) The fish get fed just a tiny bit of food once a week, which seems to keep them hungry for mosquito larvae. As for temps-the shade would help a lot but your summers are so hot that I'm not sure. You could certainly try though, these fish are considered "feeders" and only 30 cents each. You'd want to research water plants for shade as well, I found some info here. BTW, never too many questions! I'm happy to share whatever I know from my experiences :)

Monica-See the next post... :)