How to Grow Vegetables in Galvanized Raised Garden Beds
Learn how these gardeners turned a corner of their yard into a beautiful vegetable garden on galvanized raised garden beds.
Benefits of Growing Vegetables in Galvanized Raised Garden Beds
Tanks, also known as troughs, are a great alternative to wooden raised beds. Benefits include:
They are easy to use (no construction required).
In terms of cost, they are a good investment because they will last for decades.
They'll also deter burrowing animals: If rabbits are a problem, be sure to look for rabbits that are at least 3 feet tall.
Used storage tanks can be found at farm sales or on craigslist.org. New storage tanks can be purchased at the farm store or some garden centers.
Slots come in a variety of sizes, shapes and heights. The higher ones provide a great option for those with limited mobility.
Raised beds heat up quickly in the spring, so you can plant them earlier than ground beds. But they also get hot in the summer: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants love the extra warmth of the soil, but sometimes the metal can feel hot to the touch.
How many tank beds do you need?
Polly invested in three 8-foot tanks (for vegetables) and a 4-foot tank (reserved for herbs and edible flowers). Polly did not install a drip irrigation system, preferring to water by hand. "I decided I would really like to stand there with a hose and check the state of the garden," she said. Every spring, she mixes a few inches of rotting compost in each slot.
How to Start a Galvanized Raised Garden Bed for Vegetables
Lay down a layer of landscape fabric.
Put a few inches of crushed limestone on top (a row of large stones along the side holds the gravel where it belongs).
Fill the bottom of the galvanized storage tank with about 6 inches of pea gravel (here there are four: three are 8 feet long and one is 4 feet long) and cover with landscape fabric (to keep the soil from washing away).
Finally, fill the tank with a mixture of compost and topsoil. Remove the stopper from the bottom of the tank and allow the water to drain normally.
How to Grow Vegetables in Containers
Polly also recruited smaller galvanized tubs and large grower pots as containers to make the most of every inch of sunny space. If you want simplicity, larger containers are better. Larger containers have more volume, so the plants don't need to be watered as often. Plastic pots dry more slowly than terracotta pots because water doesn't evaporate off their sides. Polly uses 18-inch black plastic grow pots for "SweetMillion" and "Sungold" tomatoes and compact "GreenTiger" zucchini. She rotates tomatoes between pots year after year to avoid disease.
Vertical Garden with Galvanized Bathtub
Polly used a 20-gallon galvanized tub as a vertical planter, attached to a black-and-green fence. Galvanized shelf strips attached to the fence hold the two-slot shelf brackets. Each tub has a pair of brackets that are held in place by additional brackets. Adjustable brackets allow the tub to hang at an angle to help maximize sun exposure. The tub is filled with vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cilantro and arugula.
There are enough herbs and vegetables to feed Polly and her husband. "I cook a lot," she said. "It's great to run out to the garden and buy a handful of herbs or edible flowers like nasturtium. Whatever the season determines our meals."
As she shows off green beans in her galvanized raised garden bed, Polly says, "the fun part is the harvest." Today, she harvests bushels of herbs and vegetables from this manageable 13-by-30-foot space. Her garden includes:
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