Using galvanized buckets or old washtubs in the garden is a great way to add a bit of character and farmhouse charm to the vegetable, herb or flower garden. It’s easy to turn anything into a planter with just a few tips.
Galvanized Tubs and Buckets as Garden Container Planters
I have long had a love for old galvanized buckets, washtubs, enamel buckets and a wide variety of what others might consider junk. Where some see pieces that need to be discarded, I see pieces that can be reused or up-cycled into something else.
Where to Find Buckets for Container Gardening
You can find containers for planting in a lot of places. Most hardware stores or feed stores will sell them brand new but I personally love to search through flea markets, vintage shops and garage sales. The majority of my buckets, I purchased for just a few dollars. If the buckets already have holes, go ahead and purchase them because they are just what you need for using in the flower garden.
How to Plant in Galvanized Metal Containers
You can literally turn just about anything into a planter. The above image is an old metal milk crate that belonged to my grandparents. I loved the character of the piece and the uniqueness that it added to the grouping on my stairs.
To turn it into a planter, I simply used garden landscape fabric to create a barrier to keep the soil inside the milk crate. Once the landscape fabric was in place, I added the dirt and then the plants. The landscape fabric provided drainage for water so that the roots of the plants were never sitting in water. Adequate drainage is always the first essential step when planting in containers.
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Using Vintage Pieces in the Garden
The above image is an old oil pan that I found at a junk yard. I was on my way in to drop off some scrap metal when I spotted the discarded oil pan in a pile. I asked if I could purchase the pan from them, and they let me. I brought it home, screwed it to the door and added a plant.
Galvanized Garden Decor
There are so many pieces that you can combine to create a visual height in the garden. When I plant in the flower garden, I try to add a variety of elements at different heights. This helps to create a visual interest and keeps the eyes moving.
The above pieces were two separate things that I brought together by simply placing one on top of the other. I used landscape fabric on the inside of the top piece to hold dirt and yet still provide water drainage. I then added the dirt and plants.
Steps to Planting in Galvanized Tubs | Buckets | Pails
Drill drainage holes. This is the most important step when planting in any type of container. There has to be adequate drainage for the water to escape. I have used a drill to drill holes in the bottom of the buckets, tubs or pails, and I have also used a large nail that I hammered into the bottom of my container to make a hole. After I hammered the nail into the bottom of the bucket, I just pulled the nail back out and then continued to add more holes around the bottom.
Place the container and fill with dirt. Decide where you want the container to be and then fill with good quality dirt, and some compost.
Start planting. This is always my favorite part and last year I planted with all white and green flowers. I love the beauty of the white flowers against the galvanized containers and the texture of the various green leaves.
Planting Hostas | Perennials in Buckets | Washtubs | Pails | Metal Tubs
I have had great success with planting Hostas in containers. We are located in Missouri and each year they return after the winter season. There is such a wide assortment of Hostas and each one is different which means that they add a great visual interest to the flower garden.
So, don’t be afraid to try growing some perennials in containers. If you live in an area with bitterly cold temperatures, try adding a layer of mulch to the top of the bucket and placing it under a porch or in a building. Generally, the plant will return when the weather warms up.
Washtub Herb Gardens | Flower Gardens
Washtubs are a great place to plant herbs or flowers. They have a lot of depth and can support taller flowers or herbs. If you are limited on space they are the perfect option for using on a porch or patio. Just be sure to provide a lot of sunshine and again have adequate water drainage.
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Do you use galvanized buckets, pails, washtubs or other vintage pieces in your garden? I would love to know if you do and if you have any tips to share. What are some of your favorite flowers to grown in containers?