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Built a proof-of-concept today. I don’t even know what this is–a mini-chinampas-inspired tub concept? Or is this something everybody already knows about and I just can’t get the right search terms to spit it out? Or has everybody tried this already and failed and now we all know better except me?

Well, I had pond liner and a whiskey barrel planter and Azolla caroliniana and I’ve been making grow bags, so let’s see what happens.

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I reckon it'll work just fine! The people I know using grow bags mostly call them root pouches, and it's quite common to sit several of them in a deep tray and fill the tray a few inches deep with water. It's really handy here (Australia) in our climate. We usually let the tray dry out in between waterings to kill off any mosquito larvae, but having fish to eat them instead works too. Maybe gravel instead of plastic bottles in the bottom to prevent waterlogging? That would give it some extra weight and heft to keep it in place too.

I've never heard of any of these ideas and think they are all grand. Trying to figure out how to add light to my home so that I can keep my few plans alive over the winter and put the boxes back outside in the spring.

We have had record high temperatures for the last two or three days ... and there's still (conservative estimate) two-three feet of snow. Thank you for the vicarious gardening fixes...

Oh... and curious whether your research has show up a version of something similar where the plastic bottles (or other floaty things) get used to keep the grow bag mostly out of the water? Essentially so that one could have floating gardens in a larger pond...

Looks good, if moisture is off, can try re-positioning, or changing the mix inside the column.

Enjoy the wine. My favorite's Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet. Let it breath an hour and mmmmyummy for a $7-9 bottle.

I eagerly await the results of your experiment! :D

If you are using mosquito-blocking plants of the "completely take up the surface" variety, please consider not adding fish. With no circulation and limited gas exchange at the surface, it's a question of if there will be enough dissolved oxygen in a stagnant, essentially covered, body of water to sustain healthy fish. Maybe? But is it worth possible fish torture to find out? I'm not sure. Only you can answer that! Some fish can take air from the surface, but only if there is an open surface. Even then, for most fish, this is a last resort. Obviously, some fish are better suited to stagnant, unchanging bodies of water than others, so research carefully. Mosquitofish are probably closest to what you want.

Goldfish are overall very poorly suited though. They simply get too big (like a foot long) and do best in oxygen rich environments and cool water. They can have long lives... 10-25 years with proper care. I think the record was in the 40s. They are carp, and as fish go, can actually be rather personable.

(I like fish)

fish choice

annual killifish might be a better bet (no problems with wintering them, they will be dead of old age before that), bonus if it's a indigenous variant. :)

I used to make self-watering pots by filling the bottom with clay pellets, stick a PVC tube into it(with a few holes near the bottom end) and fill up with dirt on top. (The clay pellets works as a reservoir. )
It seemed to work OK for me as long as I didn't overfill them with water.

Off topic, but finished reading Summer in Orcus yesterday, and I just wanted to leave a great big thank you! Wonderful tale :)

It should work. I dropped mint onto our above ground pond to keep the water irisflowerthingies happy, but the flowers don't have an actual pot. They are just planted into the holes in a sideways concrete block that is in the pond. I gave up on goldfish because they kept dying every winter. The frogs seem to eat the mosquitoes for us.

Once again such a beautiful journal entry!

Won't you please consider sharing your secret with me? What software are you using?


Well, the idea is new to me. I had to look up chinampas. It sounds like an above ground, version of a koi pond and/or water feature for container gardeners - of which there are more and more happening.

make us proud of your efforts... you are trying!

make us proud of your efforts... you are trying!

Pond snails to eat the algae may be needed too. Can you get dragonfly larvae? They are happy in still water and are voracious predators of mosquito larvae too.

Came here to say I love this concept, and had a few suggestions. I'm so excited to see almost all of those suggestions have already been brought up in other comments! What a fantastic group of people!

In any case: a couple people recommended using different media in the bottom as opposed to plastic bottles. I personally think you could go with all of them- adding various sizes of particles is great for encouraging gas exchange, which is necessary for root growth. I also really like the idea of adding fish as long as the species can gulp air from the surface, and adding snails (as long as they can't really escape) for algae control.

for the plant you might consider a dicot, because they tend to have a long tap root which would reach the bottom of the grow back. I'm not sure how big the whole situation is, but that's my reasoning.

I hope to see pictures! Good luck!

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