With no land to grow vegetables on, Margy Lutz got creative at her lakeside cabin in Powell River, BC and made a one of a kind floating garden.
Now she can enjoy the benefits of fresh local homegrown produce all summer long.
Margy Lutz lives much of the year in a floating cabin on Powell Lake in British Columbia.
She says “Living on the lake has been the most exciting experience of my life. I love to garden, but my lake surroundings make it a little difficult.”
Her good friend John, who also built Margy’s cabin, came to the rescue. He created a special float to give her the “land” she needed to create a garden.
He lashed together a dozen cedar logs (they float the best) and installed four one by two metre raised beds on top.
To get enough soil, he had to tow the garden float to the south end of the lake to fill the boxes with topsoil from his brother’s yard as cabin is surrounded by mostly exposed granite cliffs.
Then the completed garden was towed for two hours back up the lake and installed on Margy’s breakwater. Now her dream of gardening for harvests of lettuce, spinach, carrots, onions, potatoes, radishes, strawberries and asparagus is a reality.
She keeps the garden tied to the breakwater most of the time. That keeps her maturing plants away from the shore and hungry critters like squirrels and wood rats.
Margy uses a simple pulley and rope to bring the garden next to the cabin’s deck when she wants to plant, weed, water or pick something for supper. A kick and pull sends it back out to it’s protected spot.
A solar panel runs a water pump so that she doesn’t have to bend and dip water out of the lake. Porous heavy-duty mesh cloth covers the bottoms of the garden beds, which stay just above the lake surface to allow for drainage.
Margy plants her kitchen garden in the beds just like you would if they were on land. She just has to be careful that she does not put anything in the soil that would be harmful to the water, which she drinks after boiling.
The first harvests for lettuce, spinach, chard, and green onions begin in June and last throughout the summer. Carrots, beets and early strawberries come in July. As she harvests, Margy replants for fall crops.
Last year she expanded her garden space by using pots on the cabin decks. Here she grows potatoes, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, peas, beans, and rhubarb.
“We eat most of our produce fresh, but I have started drying herbs and canning some of our extra goodies for winter meals.”
Margy’s floating garden is quite unique, and it shows that you can garden just about anywhere as long as you have some good soil, water, sunshine and loving hands. In fact, a picture of her garden just won a contest at Sunset Magazine and a picture is included in their June 2011 issue.
If you would like to read more about Margy’s floating garden, visit her blog at http://PowellRiverBooks.blogspot.com and select the “Gardening” category.
Truly unique and resourceful! Thanks Margy for sharing your great story and inspiring others to be more food sustainable with local gardens of their own!
It’s Always a Good Day on the Sunshine Coast! Duane Burnett