Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Float Garden Construction

Over the years, I've had lots of interest in my float garden. It's a simple, effective design my good friend John came up with. He started by lashing together large cedar logs with 3/4 inch steel cable to make the foundation. On top he built four 4X10 foot raised beds lined with a porous, industrial strength cloth called mill felt. To get enough soil, he towed the float down to the marina and loaded dirt from his brother's yard into the beds.

Cedar logs are buoyant, but soil is very heavy, especially when it gets wet. It's important to keep the beds above the waterline so they don't become saturated. For that reason, 55-gallon blue barrels are placed under the logs. The barrels are filled with water, pushed under the float, then filled with air from a compressor. Once filled with air, they snug up between the logs and stay put without attachment.

Because we get small critters that love fresh salad, John developed a pulley system to keep our garden out in the lake away from their hungry eyes. The pulley is attached to our log boom.

A rope ties to the back of the float, runs through a pulley, and passes through large metal staples on the back and front of the float. It then runs through a chain on our transition float and ties to the front of the float.

Standing on our transition float, Wayne pulls the rope to bring the garden in for me to step aboard. Then, when I'm done working, a kick and a pull sends it back out to its protected location. I can do it too, thanks to the mechanical advantage of the pulley.

Another invention John came up with is a solar powered garden hose. A small solar panel charges a 12-volt battery. When I flip the switch, a boat bilge pump kicks into action and I have instant water through a hose. Much easier than dipping a water can, and much easier on my tender sprouts.

To top it all off, Mr. Owl guards his domain to keep out critters of the flying sort. He makes an attractive addition, but his evil eye isn't quite strong enough for determined Juncos. -- Margy


  1. What a fantastic idea, with wonderful captures to go with.

  2. oh wow.... beautiful!

  3. Your float garden was what led me to your blog a few years ago. I'm glad to see it is still going.

  4. I think these are remarkable and clever on your friend, John to come up with a way to have a floating garden. Looking forward to see it in full growing stages.

  5. Wow, that's something I've never seen before. So clever! xx

  6. Thanks everyone for stopping by to comment on My World post.

    Crafty, glad my garden caught your eye and has kept you coming back.


  7. Wow, this is so cool! I've never seen a float garden before. So beautiful! Greetings from NY :)


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy