The DLWID Save or Shorelines Committee has been experimenting for the past year with a floating garden project in the Thompson Creek canal. Now deemed a resounding success Mariellen Rich has drafted a detailed description of the project as well as instructions for you to make your own floating garden. You can download these instructions here. Follows are some excepts from the document which explain the project.
The Devils Lake floating garden project was created as a way to promote lake re-vegetation in a way that doesn’t require full bank stabilization, concrete or dock removal, and/or the need for extensive permitting.
The project was inspired by the floating gardens of Amsterdam, Netherlands. In an effort to achieve DLWID’s goal of 20% lake vegetation, the floating garden offers an alternative to lakeshore restoration projects that require unimpaired shorelines, with ample planting media.
The floating garden is a suspended structure of PVC pipes, connectors, empty plastic water bottles, lattice, and planting baskets. It is anchored to a homeowner’s dock or concrete barrier. The wetland-like, aquaponic conditions allow for aquatic and nonaquatic species to grow in close contact with the lake, extracting nutrients from the nitrogen-rich bottom of the lake. In addition, the aquaponic plants clean the water, creating a healthy environment for fish to thrive. Small fish swim among the roots looking for shelter and food. The plants do not need to expend energy on an extensive root system to find the food they need, so all of their energy goes into upward leaf growth. The floating garden is virtually maintenance-free, requiring an optional light spring cleaning and weeding once a year. No watering or fertilizing is needed.
The DLWID demonstration floating garden on Devils Lake has been anchored by ropes from a fixed dock since August 2017. The floating garden was weeded in March and invasive “volunteer” plants were removed. Once the garden is constructed and populated
with plants it takes care of itself.
Floating gardens are a convenient solution to lake shore planting. The plants utilize the lake nutrients to produce foliage and an efficient root system. They are an easy to maintain and beautiful lakeside property addition.