Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rain Gutter Garden (Sort of)

My floating garden with raised beds.
I've been following a Facebook group called the Rain Gutter Grow System Group.

I've been intrigued by their use of grow bags and self watering techniques.

After I cleaned out moss growing around the edge of my floating garden I got an idea, why not use the space for plants of my own.

It would be a perfect spot to grow strawberries. They took up so much room in my raised beds I gave up on them a few seasons ago.

I didn't want to use a rain gutter, but thought I could make a trough out of Vigoro weed block cloth.

I cut a length of weed cloth long enough to fit the space between the brow log of my float and the side of my raised bed.

I folded the cloth to make a gutter-like shape and sewed the ends together to hold in the soil.

I made small square "washers" cut from a plastic container and nailed the cloth gutter in place.

I used the plastic to help keep the nail heads from working their way through the cloth over time.

To make the bed self watering, I used two cotton bath towels cut into strips.

Each towel gave me three strips long enough to extend down into the lake below the garden float and to line the bottom of the cloth trough.

I cut three slits through the bottom of the cloth trough.

I used a stick to poke each piece of towel halfway down into the lake water below. There was just enough space between the float logs to get them into the water.

I put a layer of sand in the bottom of the trough to help with drainage (we get lots of rain) and them laid the upper half of each towel over the top.

To help with initial moisture, I gave the towels and sand a good watering.

Next came a layer of rich soil from our local forest. We are lucky to have a beach with sand and forest compost nearby.

I added granular plant fertilizer and mixed it in before another good watering.

Finally it was time to plant my strawberries in their new dedicated bed. Because the soil I brought over had some ants, I decided to use traps just in case.

The final touches for the bed were to add some sand and crushed egg shells to deter slugs.

I don't know if the self watering feature will work or be enough, but I can always give the strawberries a squirt of water from my hose when I'm watering the nearby raised beds. I'll keep you posted.

Do you use any self watering techniques? What do you use? How well does it work? -- Margy


  1. What a neat idea. I must look at that site and see if I can get into self watering.

    1. If it hadn't been for all that moss growing in the crack between the logs I wouldn't have thought of it. - Margy

  2. Great idea Margy. You are so energetic and creative.

    1. Strawberries took up so much room in my floating garden I dug them up a few years back. This way I can still have my garden space, and strawberries too (if it all works out okay). - Margy

  3. Very clever and your strawberries will flourish there.

    1. I sure hope so. I'll do an update at the end of the season. - Margy

  4. Very neat idea! Love the self-watering idea.

    1. Sometimes an ah-ha moment works out. - Margy

  5. Good luck with all of this! Well done! We harvested snow peas today!

  6. I would love to have a self water setup. I just use an old watering can for now. Although, my setup is fairly small for now, so it is not a big deal. I hope that when we are in our forever homestead we will be able to have a self watering garden! This idea is really awesome, thank you for sharing!

    1. The self watering trough didn't work well for the strawberries. Two plantings died. I sprinkled marigold flower seeds on the soil and got beautiful plants. I may try strawberries one more time come spring. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy