Incorporating duckweed into spring garden planning
Four days ago, I collected a sample of newly surfaced duckweed from an old farm pond and released it in three temporary containers;
1. A half barrel that houses dormant water lilies and a fresh batch of twenty small goldfish There is a couple of inches of muck at the bottom, so I know that the duckweed will have plenty of micronutrients to live on until temps rise. So far, the goldfish are more concerned about security in their new surroundings than they are eating the duckweed.
2. Water from the above barrel but no goldfish
3. Original pond water and accompanying debris as nutrient source
Four rather tumultuous days have passed, weather-wise. All three samples are still green and healthy while acclimatizing to their new homes. Frond size is a bit larger on average.
I’m designing a new front yard veggie and flower garden on paper and am considering how many in-ground duckweed ponds to incorporate and where. I’m better at growing plants than I am at design, so my front yard may end up vegetatively utilitarian. My neighbors might have something to say about it, but I am determined to raise 90% of my family’s vegetables this growing season and my front yard is the only place with full sun.
Raising duckweed crops will play an important role as an easy access mulch/fertilizer from several waste nutrient streams I have around my home. (compost barrel, vermiculture bin, manure leachates, etc…) and as feed for laying hens and possibly fish.
On a national scale, I’ve been in discussion with several duckweed researchers this week on a couple of early-stage commercial projects. This will be a busy week. Lots to do!