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.