Cheer to Friday, friends!

I’ve been wanting to write a post for some time about how we use galvanized stock tanks/troughs for gardening.  We just added two more 6 x 2 x 2 troughs to the greenhouse, so here we go…

About 15 years ago I noticed that troughs being used for gardens were starting to appear in magazines and at plant nurseries in Arizona…and boy, were they cute with plants in them!

So easy to just bring home, add soil and voila…instant garden!

garden trough

So we bought a few for our Arizona place, and it was fun!

garden trough

Fast forward to Idaho.

While we’ve mainly made wood raised beds for the outside garden, I like troughs for the greenhouse. They don’t rot like wood or break like plastic.

These tanks are my favorites and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I’ve even seen triangle troughs! We get them at a local hardware store, but I see that you can even order them now on Amazon. 

Here’s what we do:

We first drill holes in the bottom with a 3/4″ drill bit. Easiest to do if the trough is upside down.

trough holes

Since the troughs are in the greenhouse, we put three 1 x 4 cedar boards under the tank to allow for better drainage. Outside you could use gravel underneath. 

For most veggies and flowers you’ll only need about 18″ of soil depth, so we fill the bottom 6″ with a layer of old firewood. Garden soil is expensive!

And we like the technique of Hugelkultur…which basically mounds soil over logs to improve soil fertility and water retention for plants.

We add about 3-4 bags of garden soil and one bag of compost mix to each trough. It costs about $30 to fill a trough.

And as a last mention, let me address any concerns some people might have about chemical contamination with galvanized steel containers. Some worry that the zinc used for coating will leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plants. Here is an excellent article written by a UC Master Gardener…bottom line, don’t worry about it.

garden trough

Have a super weekend…and maybe get yourself a trough and enjoy an instant garden!


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