Assembling the Tub Garden

The bees are settling down but are still far more agitated than I would prefer to work around, so the shed foundation will have to wait a bit. With the delay I decided to just work on the tub bog garden.

On Saturday I did the rust treatment on the inside of the holes, then spray painted them with rust blocking paint.

Tub holes spray painted

I put tape over the back of the holes so it wouldn't look weird on the outside.

Then it was a matter of minute for me to install the faucet and drain.

Tub faucet and drain installed

I ended up having some issues with the drain installation, but basically with this design anything that happens before the tub is planted is easily modified.

Gravel base layer

Above the drain I put in a layer of cleaned, inert gravel. You can test the qualities of your gravel by soaking a representative sample of it in peat water for a few days, then testing the water for TDS and pH. Most structural gravels will be fine because they are specifically chosen to not be made of stones that dissolve easily in water, but a lot depends on the specific rocks and your water, and of course bog water is made acidic by the peat. We are really fortunate in the Bay Area to have tap water that is safe for carnivorous plants; in other parts of the country people have to use reverse osmosis water to water a bog garden like this.

I included the gravel layer to make draining the tub easier, both for potentially moving it in the future and also for refreshing the media in the future. With a layer of landscape fabric keeping it separate from the peat, the gravel can freely drain water as needed.

Filling with peat

Over the gravel I put that layer of landscape fabric, and onto that I put my peat/sand mix. I used the purple tape to hold the fabric in place when I shoveled the peat in, but it was very windy and the fabric did not stick well to the tape (to be fair, that's literally the point of purple painter's tape).

I was short of peat so had to pause for a while to get more yesterday.

Soaking more peat

It's interesting: the first time I ever bought a bale of peat it was bone dry and took weeks to rehydrate. But both of these bales have been moist and have readily accepted water. The first one was a bale I bought last summer when I started working on this garden, so it's not even a storage thing. A pleasant surprise, to be sure.

As I filled up the tub, there have been some adjustments to make to the various pieces of plumbing, mostly having Noel come and tighten them up for me, and tomorrow I'll be able to mix the new peat with more sand and finish filling the tub. The first plants for this project will arrive this week, so I'll be able to start planting this up soon.

And we aren't total slackers: tonight we had dinner with a friend to celebrate her birthday (now that we're all vaccinated and the state is opening up again, social commitments are starting up again, too), and afterwards we started getting ready to make the formwork, stopped only by the fact that it was a little too late to use a power saw outside. The bees were already less aggressive than they have been on previous evenings: yesterday evening I went out to pick up eggs around the same time and was harassed just walking through this area; tonight we were out messing around with the boards for quite a while and there were no bees there at all.

Form boards

We have a heat system coming through for the next few days but I have high hopes that we can get this rolling, even if we can't work all day tomorrow. We are both looking forward to having this shed available. And I'm sure the bees are looking forward to us no longer disrupting their work.

posted by ayse on 06/15/21