2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Floating Garden" Never Needs Watering
The "floating garden" is an 8 by 20-ft. platform with a bed made out of 6-in. dia. plastic pipes. An 8-in. deep layer of composted leaves covers the bed. Plant roots reach down between the pipes and into the water, giving them a constant supply of moisture. Since there are no weed seeds in the compost there's no need for weeding or herbicides.
Arldt grows cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, and beans along with vine crops like squash, watermelon and cantaloupes.
"I use it all year long. It lets me grow a lot of food in a small area, and it tastes really good," says Arldt, who built his first floating garden six years ago.
The frame around the garden has sloping sides covered with 1/4-in. galvanized hardware cloth so vines have somewhere to go.
The big plastic pipes that support the garden bed are sealed at either end to hold air and float the garden. They're held in place by 2 by 4 rails.
A 16-ft. long metal walkway runs from the shore out to garden. The walkway also acts as an anchor to hold it in place.
"It's the slickest garden system I've ever seen," says Arldt. "A garden this size will produce all the vegetables and fruit that even a big family could use. Last year we gave away a lot of vegetables and fruits to neighbors. People tell me the watermelons and cantaloupes are the best they've ever tasted.
"I came up with the idea after we had an extremely dry summer. I tried using city water but the plants didn't grow well on it, and hauling water from the pond was too much work. I built it in my back yard and then took it to the pond. The composted leaves are very rich which allows me to plant everything real thick. One year we had 57 cantaloupes from just two stalks. I don't plant in rows but simply broadcast the seed by hand onto the leaves. There are walkways above the garden bed so I don't step on the thickly seeded plants."
The crop takes up a lot of nutrients, so every year Arldt removes all the old leaves and replaces it with new material.
His area gets occasional freezes during the winter, but he says that steam coming off the pond during cold weather provides so much frost protection that he can grow crops all year long. "The plants won't freeze until the temperature reaches about 20 degrees above zero. Last year we had fresh strawberries for six months in a row, and I was able to grow potatoes - a very frost sensitive crop - all year long."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, E.A. Arldt, FM 2104 120 Cooke St., Paige, Texas 78659 (ph 512 253-6518).
"Floating garden" is an 8 by 20-ft. platform with a bed made out of 6-in. dia. plastic pipes. An 8-in. deep layer of composted leaves covers the bed.
Plant roots reach down between pipes and into the water. Frame around garden has sloping sides covered with galvanized hardware cloth so vines have somewhere to go.
Click here to download page story appeared in.
Click here to read entire issue
To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.