Chimaera

advice on making a sink minibog

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I have an old Belfast sink that I want to make into a minibog. It previously had herbs in it and never did well because I could not get the drainage good enough so those have gone. A couple of questions though:

Siting. It is super heavy and has to go on a paved surface and the only places available have different shade issues. One has only got full sun from 11.30 till dusk at any time of year, the other (which I prefer) has sun for much of the day in Summer, but from Nov-Feb when the sun is low has no sun due to shadow of a fence. Are either of these OK? I assume the latter is better because the shade period is during dormancy.

Drainage. I am not able to attach drainage to the drain outlet as I cannot raise it up; there is an overflow but that is high ups one side. Can I avoid bottom water getting stagnant by watering (in Summer at least) through a pipe that leads down into a sand layer at the base of the compost, so putting oxygenated water into the bottom and hopefully pushing stagnant water up and out.

Species. I am planning on S. flava, purpurea, and their hybrids at the back and a range of small some cool climate Drosera, P. grandiflora and maybe a wild-type VFT or 2 at the front. I would like to put in a Darlingtonia (that sytuggled in the heat off the greenhouse) but could that get too invasive. 

Thanks

Charlie

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Hi Charlie

I'd definitely go for the second location you will get better results.

Drainage - can you affix a 4" length of plastic pipe to the plug hole with silicone seal or similar to crate a bit of a reservoir in the base?

Darlingtonia can get invasive but you can always cut it back, all the other plants will also bulk up.

 

Cheers

Steve

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I think your on the ball mate regarding light in summer and the plants your planning to put in it. I've planted up a Belfast sink myself with CP over the past 4-5 years and is well worth it. It does come with its own challenges and can be trial and error at first. I agree with Blocky71 saying to have the sink lifted off the floor as I've got mine on concrete block that are on their sides and two 4x4" of wood on top of the blocks and each cut the length of the sink. I'm sure there's better materials that can be used to make it look tidy, but it was what I had at hand and it works.

For drainage putting a crap catcher over the plug hole, the same that you would use to catch rubbish in a kitchen sink or a shower (finer the holes the better) and then put very fibrous moss over the catcher. My theory behind this is that it will let the water to drain out slowly and stop the soil from being washed out. Don't worry about the overflow pipe as some drainage will allow water to drain out and the water level may not get to the overflow. I'm not really sure that stagnant water in the bottom will effect the plants much as water in natural bogs and wetlands tends to not move much. I've had to empty mine out the other week as I thought it was time to change over the old soil and blitz the liverwort that had taken over. Which would of been problematic for the pings and Drosera. After emptying it I then lined the bottom of the sink with a well washed empty compost bag (1-2" up the sides) and pierced it 3-4 times with the snips over the plug hole and other side of the sink. This is to slow the drainage further and hold some water in case it gets dry in the summer and water supply becomes a bit low. Then line the top of the bag with moss and then filled the rest in with your chosen soil mix.

I'm not so sure how fresh winters can get down your end in London, but I find covering everything up with larch needles, broad leaves and fronds of shuttlecock ferns this time of the year does the trick and is more aesthetically pleasing than a bubble wrap tent. I'm going to put up a post to show what I had used and how I covered my sink planter. It is pretty much like putting the planter to bed for the winter. When it comes around late Feb, take off the fronds and some of the leaf cover when the weather is more mild to let some light get to the plants underneath. But have the covering to hand for when it freezes again and keep it on if its a prolonged frost or have an insulating cloche to let light get to the Saracenia. I've made a cloche from bubble wrap, canes and wire that covered the whole sink.

As it gets milder when spring comes around the covering can come off, but still keep at hand for late cold snaps and is an idea to have beer traps set. Slugs really like fresh new leaves on Sarracenia and is really frustrating to see them struggle getting growth out to have it munched.

I hope this has been of much use.

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