raised bed

mmelt76March 19, 2011

I recently bought a rigid pond liner at a yard sale, it's as big as my truck bed and it cost only $5 (yay!). I really have no interest in having a pond, but was thinking of making the pond into a semi-raised cactus/succulent garden. The pond has 2 levels, and I was planning on buying it up to the deepest part, keeping the shallower part of the pond above ground (about 12 inches i guess). I'm going to drill holes in the bottom for drainage and have lots rock in and around the "pond", especially around the raised sides of the pond. I was just wondering if anyone here has any suggestions for helping me make it so that my cactus bed is a success and the plants happy and healthy. Any suggestions from construction to types of plants That would grow well in my dry pond are very welcome! Also any suggestions for supplies, like rocks and soil, where to buy, etc. Thanks.

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norma_2006

If you can obtain large old Coral hunks, put that in the planter filing it up,next water it in well, then toss on the cactus mix, plant the succulents into the pockets of soil it makes, or you can use rocks and do the same thing. Some succulents are found in Africa in ancient Coral beds, I know of one Sansevieria that are found in the old coral beds, it would take some research to find other species that live there as well. Please give us the low tempertures where you live so the group can suggest plants that would live outside. Tell us if it will be in shade or sun. Then this group will jump in and be of valuable assistance. You can add as much soil mix and make a large mound to plant, what a terrific creative idea. Make sure you plant succulents that just love your climate. Be very choosy, nothing that spreads rapidly, or are messy growers. Norma

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:57AM
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land3499

mmelt,
My concern is about burying the bottom "layer" in the dirt. Since the dirt underneath the pond liner and on the sides of its bottom layer will be denser than the soil inside the liner, that means that when it rains, water will build up in the bottom of the liner. That's probably not a good thing, although it depends partially on your soil mix.

If you want to bury the bottom part of the pond liner, I would suggest that you dig out about 6" of soil (depending where you are in FLA) beneath the bottom part of the liner, then fill that with large gravel or rocks. That way, when it rains, the water can drain away from the roots of the plants.

Just my 2 cents :)

-R

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 3:10AM
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emerald1951

hi,
I agree with R....you want fast drainage...lots of holes bottom and sides and a good thick layer of rocks bottom and sides....remember fast drainage...cactus hate to sit in any water for any length of time....
update us with pictures later, have fun sounds like a fun and nice looking planting....linda

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:30AM
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lzrddr(91360)

I have used empty ponds for cacti and they work great, but you do have to have excellent drainage for when in rains or it all could rot on you. I personally would do just as your doing, but with a scissors or something like that, remove the entire bottom (but not sides) of the structure you are burying in the soil. You just need to pokes lots of holes in the upper one. If these ponds are pretty deep (over 2') then line the lowest 6" with crushed rock for even better drainage and you will be in good shape.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:57PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

If you're going to pile rocks around it anyways, I'd skip the liner and just fill with soil as you stack the rocks. The liner doesn't offer any advantage in this case.

Also, I would not add a layer of rocks underneath any liner. First of all, the drainage space created by the rocks would probably fill with soil after a while, defeating the purpose of the rocks. Secondly, soil acts like a sponge, pulling water towards it and holding it. The reason the ground drains sufficiently, is because it has an effectively infinite supply of surrounding soil to pull moisture away from the upper layer. If you remove that soil to soil connection by adding a layer of rocks, the liner will act as a pot rather than a raised bed. And a pot filled with topsoil will support a significant perched water table.

The bathtub effect that R was alluding to can be a problem, though. That's why I would focus on building up with rocks, rather than burying a large portion of a liner.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 3:28PM
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