Carnivorous Garden Part 3 – Building your carnivorous garden

Now that you know what a carnivorous garden is, and how to design a carnivorous bog garden, you are hopefully considering building one yourself.  Lucky for you, the process of building your bog garden is easier than you might think once you know the steps.  You can even have some fun doing it too!  By the end of this article, you will know everything you need to know about how to build a garden for carnivorous plants.

The first thing to know is what tools and supplies you will need for this project, and thankfully you likely already own all the equipment necessary.  To build a nice carnivorous garden, you will require a good shovel, a wheelbarrow, and somewhere to put the excavated soil.  Since I don’t like to waste anything, I recommend using the soil to create a regular garden elsewhere on your property.  The supplies you will need include 4 or 6 mil plastic dropcloth, some chicken mesh to line the bog, lots of sand and sphagnum moss. That’s basically everything you will need!

Once you have bought your supplies and marked out the shape of your carnivorous garden, you can start digging.  The bog should be approximately 15″ deep, have vertical edges, and a nice flat bottom.  If you have many rodents in your area that will potentially try to dig into your garden from below, I recommend using the chicken mesh or similar metal mesh to line the bottom and sides of the bog.  This should act as a great physical barrier and prevent any major damage to the plastic liner.  Pack a nice thin layer of wet sand around the mesh to hide any sharp parts on the metal screen.  Next, place line the bog with the plastic dropcloth.  The liner should also cover the sides of the garden and a few inches along the perimeter of the surface too.

Once the liner is in place you should make some 6 to 10″ long slits in it ever few feet to allow minimal drainage, then fill the bottom with three inches of wet sand on top of the liner.  You’re almost done now!  Your wheelbarrow will come in handy again as you need to mix large amounts of damp sand and sphagnum moss in a 1:1 ratio.  As you prepare this mixture, use it to fill the carnivorous garden to just below the height of the surrounding ground.  Lightly tamp the moss/sand mixture to help it settle.

You can wait a few days to let the bog settle out, and when you are satisfied that no more settling will occur, trim off the excess plastic liner around the perimeter of your carnivorous garden.  If you do not want to worry about manually watering your bog, you have the option of installing a below-surface watering system to keep the soil nice and damp.  The technique used will depend on the systems available at your local stores, so I will not go into that detail here but it should not be difficult.

Your carnivorous plant garden is now complete!  Feel free to plant any mixture of carnivorous plants that are able to thrive in your region.  In no time you will be successfully growing carnivorous plants outdoors!

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