newbie bogger

OKC1(OK)May 10, 2005


I'm a land lubber, so you experienced boggers will probably laugh yourselves sick or shake your heads and make the dreaded tch tch sound. But although I've been an above ground gardener for many years, I'm new to bogging. So please cut me some slack and give me some help.

It came to my attention recently, after I volunteered to help my son and his lovely wife landscape their back yard to prepare for putting their house on the market, that my son had been chucking all his grass clippings in a cement pond only 2 feet deep and about 8 feet long, leaving them there, and thinking they would decompose. Like an inverse inorganically decomposing compost pile.

He did this for several reasons:

First, because that's what his rancher dad used to do with truckloads of yard trash--dumped it into a remote draw to decay. (Didn't occur to him that a cement pond is not a clay draw!)

Second, because the pond is in half day sun, and way too shallow to keep fish alive in zone 7 summer although they have tried.


third, because he was thinking that, eventually, like this spring, he would like to stack soil up and make it into an herb garden. I thought that was a great plan myself.

One slight problem.

I thought the pond had a leak and therefore had some drainage. It doesn't. The fish were boiling, not drying out.

So, the grass and leaves he chucked down in there have been joined by rain water.

I cannot tell you how very nasty the yuchy mess smelled when he started hauling out a few branches he'd also tossed on top of his "compost" pile.

So I suggested he stop stirring the muck while I called a master gardener friend. She suggested that, instead of an herb garden, we just go for a bog garden and avoid trying to drain the pond.

On her recommendation, and that of other gardening friends, we added top soil (sand and peat), a broken up bale of peat, and a little compost. Then we "planted" five pots of iris, some canna, horsetails, corkscrew spurge and will also plant a bog liluy and some tara being sent by a friend.

I'm really hoping this will work, otherwise this gardening mum looks like a total fool and we have wasted money and plants.

I'm thinking it might also be good for him to flood this pond to overflowing a couple of times during the summer, just to keep it from becoming stagnant.

I don't know if we should try to mulch the mess or leave it be. If we mulch, can we use cedar like we use on the rest of the yard?

So, y'all, when you are finished laughing please tell me what you think. Any advise or tips?

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That's a bizzare situation! Personally I don't like using grass clippings in any growing medium since it invites all sorts of strange rot problems. I'd say at this point, just back off and see what happens this year. With everything that you got swimming in your concoction, I'd say you could mulch with just about anything and it shouldn't effect the end results much! Good luck, and let us know what happens. PF

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 6:53PM
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Hey, guys. I just got my wash tub bog garden started. Just dug a hole and sunk it, filling in around the sides and filling up the tub itself with a mix of garden soil (prepackaged), peat moss, composted leaves, etc. In this I planted a Rodgersia and Astilboides. I want to see which one does the best. So far, it's the Rodgersia. The Astilboides is hanging in there, but is experiencing more transplant shock than the Rodgersia.

The rain this week and helped a lot of things along, and the garden looks much revived for it. Good luck, OKC1. Keep me posted on how your son's garden is doing.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 9:21PM
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toss in some cattails, and irises, watercress, asparagus (turns into a beautiful fern). There are lots of mud loving plants including willows. Just don't mulch it. fill it with plants and run water on it to keep it soggy.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 3:03AM
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