Farm Life: What to do with an Old, Rusted Water Trough?

As you know, we re-purpose anything we can.  A dozen years ago, we purchased a number of galvanized, 100 gallon water troughs to use a rain barrels under the down-spouts from our roof.  Metal rusts over time.  Then rust forms holes.  Even if these are just pin-holes, they leak, reducing the usefulness of the container for holding water.  Time to replace some of those worn water troughs and figure out what to do with the retired ones.  Raised-bed gardens.

The first consideration is where to place the raised-beds, as once we fill them with rocks and soil, they will weigh hundreds of pounds.  Then the process is layering large rocks, gravel, landscape fabric over the rocks to keep the dirt from filling the spaces between the rocks, then dirt and compost.

The purpose of the rocks is to allow water to drain down so that the plant’s roots do not get water-logged after rain.  Each water trough has a drain hole, so we leave that open and pointed down hill to allow excess water to drain out during the wet season.

As the soil is only going in, unless we get ambitious enough to dig it back out, we also put a layer of old hay on top of the landscape fabric before putting dirt in.  This will decay over time adding to the nutrient level of the dirt.  We also add hay on top after planting to reduce the exposed soil from drying out.

This was our second year in this experiment.  We planted egg-plants which are easy to harvest without needing to bend over.  Around them, we planted marigolds, zinnias, and nasturtiums to attracted beneficial insects, and to add color to the garden.

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About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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13 Responses to Farm Life: What to do with an Old, Rusted Water Trough?

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Looks very au courant and arty. Stores sell knock-offs of your idea for ridiculous sums….

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I did see an article in American Horticulture about making a water garden in a rain barrel. Looked like a lot more trouble that what we did… and nothing to eat from it.

  2. KerryCan says:

    This is a perfect way to keep using the old troughs–functional, sensible, and still pretty with the combination you planted in them!

    • hermitsdoor says:

      We combine a lot of flowers and vegetables to attract polinators and keeps weeds minimal. This autumn season has been very colorful with the warm weather. Frost is threatened Monday night.

  3. What an excellent idea, Oscar. And looks lovely too!

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    Brilliant and very attractive. Plus, you are recycling. What a combination!

  5. Hey Cousin – love the photos, especially that first one – was it an evening shot? 🙂 Susan

  6. Lavinia Ross says:

    I like the idea of the recycled watering troughs. I have been using old bee boxes here as stackable planters.

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