Cattle Water Trough Planter for Bees

Confession: I have been recommending these cattle water trough planters to my clients like crazy, but only after I tried one out in my own garden. I took an odd unused space in my alley and added a fun little color spot dedicated to bees.

This water trough in the picture is galvanized and won’t rust any time soon. This one is about five feet long, two feet wide, and two feet tall. I picked it up for $150 from McLendon Hardware.

First step: (after putting on gloves and safety glasses) is to turn over the trough and drill plenty of holes for drainage. It’s not the easiest task, since the galvanized metal is slippery and tough to drill through. I used a ½-inch bit. Be cautious of the sharp metal shavings caused from the drilling. They could cut up bare feet on you, the kiddos, or the pets. I drilled in the driveway where I could easily sweep-up the sharp metal bits. I drilled a total of 24 holes and removed the water drain plug that comes with the trough.

Next: Place your trough in the garden and level it out. I placed a few bricks under, being careful not to block any of the drainage holes.

Soil: Fill with good quality potting soil. My trough took 1-yard to fill and I love the North Country Potting Soil from Carpinito Brothers in Kent. It’s cheaper than by-the-bag and it’s excellent quality. Fill all the way with soil. Don’t even @me about styrofoam peanuts or empty water bottles, those take away valuable root space and cause water to drain too quickly away from your good soil. So, don’t do it!

Plant away: I jam packed my planter with easy to find easy care perennials that bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love.

6 1-gallon Salvia Sylvestris

6 1-gallon Daylily ‘Stella de Oro’

5 4-inch Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’

5 1-gallon Black-Eyed-Susan (blooms later than pictured giving us blooms into fall)

6 1-gallon Agapanthus ‘Midnight Blue’ (my one splurge and they’re just about to open)

4 1-gallon Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ (probably too much sun, but they were left-overs from a project and I wanted something leafy)

Easy plants to take care of and drought tolerant thanks to plenty of potting soil. I water 2-3 times a week during the hot summer days. I’ve noticed several varieties of bumble bees, honey bees, leaf-cutter bees, wasps, hornets, hoverflies, butterflies, and hummingbirds visiting this little garden.

Have you been growing flowers and/or vegetables in cattle troughs? Comment below.

Tacoma March Photo Challenge

March Tacoma Photos

Tacoma Photo Challenge

Happy almost spring Tacoma friends. Why not take the opportunity to get outside and explore your city? Shake off that winter gloom and be a tourist in your own town.

Make this photo challenge count. We’re raising funds for one of favorite Tacoma gems: Hilltop Urban Gardens. Have you heard of them? Hilltop Urban Gardens is a community garden and they make food available to those who need it. They are a wonderful local organization.

So, for every new Instagram account (we’ll include Facebook and Twitter if we can find your posts) that posts Tacoma local photos to the #Tacomaphotochallenge hashtag, we will donate one dollar to Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG for short) and for every account that completes the 31 day photo challenge using our #Tacomaphotochallenge (31 days of photos, you must include some Tacoma shots, and you must stick to the daily challenge theme) The Urban Gardener will donate twenty dollars to HUG. Together, we could raise up to five hundred dollars (we have to cap it, we’re only a teeny micro business). Photo challenge ends on March 31st.

You can still donate on your own to this link: Hilltop Urban Gardens

Help us celebrate Urban Gardens in Tacoma.

New Favorite Little Free Library

We’re so lucky to be in an area that embraces the Little Free Libraries. This sweet example comes from Dan and Trina Wiswell in Tacoma, Washington. Dan is crafty and creative with his building skills and he built this Library to reflect Trina’s love for Micky Mouse. Check out some of these details:

Little Free Library, Tacoma, WA

The fairy door on the planter inspired the shape of the library door.

Can you find Micky?

This Little Free Library is so sweet. The colors are inspired by the owner’s love for Micky Mouse.

Tacoma, Free Library Visitors

Tacoma, Free Library. Visitors from around the world.

Books for all ages.

Packed with books for all ages. This Little Free Library is located in Tacoma. #43296

Fairy Door

The hidden Fairy door that inspired the design.

Thanks again to my friends Dan and Trina. They crafted this Free Library and placed it in-front of their house after a neighbor kid was hit by a car accessing the Free Library just down the block. These are great folks and I hope you get a chance to check out their beautiful creation. The Library’s number is #43296.