How to Turn a Galvanized Tub Into a Raised Garden Bed
Turn a simple galvanized metal trough into a beautiful raised planter in just 12 easy steps.
Literally, anything (almost) can be a container garden. A bucket, a barrel, an abandoned car — as long as it's big enough, looks cool and has good drainage. If you’re planning on growing plants you want to eat, we recommend using something that’s made of food-safe materials. Don’t bother with anything less than 12 inches across. Larger containers are easier to maintain because they can hold more soil, and the more soil a container can hold, the more moisture it will retain. We’re using a giant galvanized tub normally used for livestock feeding.
- galvanized tubs
- drill with 1/4”-1/2" drill bit
- recyclable paper goods
- pine Needles/Leaves
- worm castings/compost
Drill Drainage Holes
Use a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch drill bit to drill holes in the bottom of your galvanized tub. These holes will help your container garden drain properly. There’s no real science here: have fun, make a pattern, drill your stress away, whatever makes you happy. Aim for four to six holes per square foot of your container.
Elevate Your Tub
Set and level two pavers. This keeps the tub elevated and allows the drainage holes to do their job.
Grab your level and set it across the tub. Is it level? Great! If not, adjust accordingly until it is.
Layer 1: Pebbles
We’re calling it the seven-layer dip of gardening. Layer 1 is all about drainage — add a layer of pebbles to the tub. This layer will help keep the excess water flowing through the drainage holes.
Layer 2: Mulch
Science says: Mulch holds onto moisture. It’s true. To make sure roots grow deep and have all the water they need, layer on the mulch.
Layer 3: Trash
Organic matter anyone? Newspaper, cardboard, egg cartons — you name it; use recyclable paper products to add a layer of organic matter that will break down and give the soil an extra punch of nutrition.
Layer 4: Pine
Build it up to break it down. A layer of pine needles or leaves will assist both in breaking down the paper and adding nutrients to keep the soil strong and plants healthy.
Layer 5: Dirt
Five layers in, and we can finally add dirt. Add the soil of your choice (potting, garden, top, etc.); it doesn’t matter what type. This seven-layer dip of dirt transforms any kind of soil into planting soil. Cool, right?
Layer 6: Worm Castings
This layer is not for the squeamish, but keep in mind that it might as well be garden gold. For a gross, but amazingly effective way to dramatically improve the nutrient level of your garden, add a thin layer of worm castings.
Layer 7: Dirt (Again)
Our final layer in the seven-layer dip is dirt, again. This container is now the heaven your plants need to thrive.
After all these steps, you can finally add those plant babies.
Add Live Worms
Fun last step: sprinkle in a few worms. Let these slimy earth gardeners do their thing and churn the soil.
Vermicompost — also known as worm compost — can be a gardener’s best friend, but it is a little pricy. Creating your own worm compost is easy and can save money, and best of all, you can do it anywhere, even in your living room.