Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pond in a Sugar Kettle

Here in Louisiana we grow sugar cane. In long ago days, the sugar was extracted by hand and the resulting liquid was put into kettles, sometimes as large as 8 feet across. Horses or people then walked round and round the kettle pulling or pulling a large mixer to turn the sugar into syrup. Since this method is no longer used, we have many huge cast iron kettles around. Some people have turned them into ponds. Gotta be one of the great recycling ideas. It is so popular that you can now buy fiberglass 'sugar kettles' and have a pond that you can move and care for easily.


Jamespl said...

Interesting idea... Sugar Kettle for a fishpond.

QUESTION: Any idea how many gallons a 7ft kettle holds ? How would you incorporate a pump and filter ?


Jan Goldfield said...

To find how many gallons, you need to make an education guess. Get the radius of the circle 3.5, square that number and multiply it times pi. That will give you the area of the top of the kettle. Measure how deep the kettle is, halve that number and multiply it times your area. That will be approximate, but close enough.
You can put a pump in the bottom with filter attached. Some people put a sort of shelf in the bottom so there is a flat space. Also, if the kettle is case iron, watch for rust. If you can see rust, go over the entire kettle with a wire brush and repaint with rustoleum. You will have to repeat this painting at least yearly.

Rick said...

Sugar Kettle are a fantasic landscape idea for use as a planter, water garder or firepot. Check out for more information on how to use them and where to get them.

Jan Goldfield said...

Thanks, Rick. I get many inquiries for sugar kettles. I shall give folks your info.

Rick said...

Thank you, Jan. Some great information on your site. I may set up a pond in one of my cast iron sugar kettles.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jan,

Well, how about that... I googled on "sugar kettle liner" and the first hit was your website!

I have a small-ish sugar kettle (about 24" diameter). It is badly cracked, but I don't want to get rid of it - it adds a certain "rustic-ness" to the garden. I would like to use it as a pond.

Can anyone tell me where (if) I can buy a pre-formed liner for it? I didn't find anything online, but I think I remember hearing/reading that they do make such liners.

Thanks !
An old neighbor,
Augusta Elmwood

Jan Goldfield said...

Hi Augusta, and happy birthday to Bob a day early.
If there is a liner, I don't know about it. I do know that there are fiberglass sugar kettles, complete with legs and shelves. You can find them at American Aquatic Gardens, I think.
Good luck.