Container question - galvanized metal tub

greenacreslady(7)May 24, 2010

I have an old galvanized metal tub that I'd like to use for planting some herbs. My husband drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. But then I got to thinking .... this is going to go out in the garden in full sun all day long. Will the galvanized metal heat up too much and fry the roots of the plants? I've seen plants in galvanized tubs before, but maybe it isn't such a good idea for full day-long sun?


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marcy3459(6a NE OK)

I have a old galvanized laundry tub that I have painted and grown herbs in for years. Not on purpose, but it does get protection from the late afternoon sun from about 4 o'clock on. Not sure it makes any difference.

I probably wouldn't put any of the more tender herbs like tarragon in it, but other than that, mint, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc. should be fine.



    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:55PM
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Thanks, Marcy. I wonder if painting it helps it reflect the heat? Mine is unpainted but has dulled somewhat. I just keep thinking about how hot our metal doorknob on the west gets when the direct sun hits it.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've grown various flowers, herbs and veggies in galvanized containers for years, with the largest one currently being a 4' wide, 3' tall old galvanized stock tank with enough rusted-out spots in the bottom that it drains well. (It has potatoes in it, and ornamental sweet potatoes planted around the rim so that their foliage drapes down over the tank to shade the sides. That's a common 'trick' I use with the galvanized metal containers--I used trailing plants around the edges to hang down and shade the containers' sides.

Some of mine are painted, some are plain. I've never had any heat problems with plants in any of them. As long as they drain well, are kept well-watered and have a good soil mix, they work fine. As it happens, though, none of mine have beenpositioned where they get sun all day long from sunup to sundown. Most are shaded, by virtue of their location, from about 3 p.m. on. This is the first year to use the big stock tank and it is in full sun, so we'll see how it does.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:25AM
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There are lots of creeping Thymes you can use as well as Oregano, Winter Savory, prostrate or creeping Rosemary, and Corsican Mint, which is a trailing or creeping mint.

Lavendar would probably do very well, with added drainage in the form of pea gravel, small rocks, and a bit of lime as it likes a very neutral soil.

I used to grow Dahlias in my galvanized tub and they did fantastic.

It would also help to put a layer of gravel in the bottom and add some sand to your potting soil to ensure good drainage as that is one thing that herbs really like - a sharp draining soil.

Marcy, I have never been able to grow Tarragon very well. It really does not like our Oklahoma heat. How in the heck do you grow it?


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:00AM
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marcy3459(6a NE OK)


I know exactly what you're saying. I just kept trying until I accidently stumbled onto a couple of places it liked. The best place is in an old iron farm cart that gets only about 3-4 hours of morning sun and it is under- or inter-planted with mini-hostas. It's growing like a weed and is even overwintering, go figure.

The second is in a big pot on the deck planted under sedge grass (I know, I know, sedge is not a grass). I just stuck it in there one year figuring it would die when it got hot, but it made friends with the sedge and decided to stay. It gets afternoon shade also from about 2 p.m. on.

So, I guess shade and companion plants to hide under is the key. Beats me....

And Suzie and Dawn,

I am trying strawberries in two 4-foot metal stock tanks this year. I did paint them with that hammered copper paint, french-drained to the drain hole with pvc and added a layer of styrofoam peanuts in the bottom over the level of pvc for drainage and then put landscape fabric on top of that to keep the soil separated. It's an experiment, so we'll see. I figured if berries didn't work I would try potatoes next.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Marcy, I bet the tanks look gorgeous painted with that hammered copper paint. I thought about painting this one, but it is in our three-year-old granddaughter's 'Peter Rabbit' garden and she wants to paint everything in it, including Peter, a really hot pink. I think hot pink looks great on a Barbie car, but not necessarily in an old-fashioned-looking garden, so I have tried to avoid painting anything until she's old enough that we can negotiate some color other than hot pink. She does understand that the picket fence we're working on will be painted white (currently the whole garden only has deer fencing, but we'll work on the white picket fence soon....just as soon as the cool-season harvest slows down a little.

I have to tell you that planting the potatoes was a fun experience. I bought some kind of organic purple potato in late autumn or early winter. I believe it is Peruvian Purple. I left the potatoes in the root cellar (aka to sane people as an in-ground tornado shelter) in a brown paper grocery bag and pretty much forgot about them. In February or March, while looking for something else, I found them. Those little 3" potatoes had grown big long purple shoots right up to the top of the brown bag. So, the only place to plant them was in the tank. We put down about 8" of potting soil, set the purple potato 'trees' on top of that soil and carefully backfilled around them with more soil and then watered it well. We planted ornamental sweet potato plants and petunia plants around the rim of the stock tank later on after the weather was a bit warmer.

I am pretty sure we'll get a great yield of potatoes since they're in great soil, and the darn plants are now about 3' tall above ground, and a good 18" deep down in the soil in the tank. They are monsters. That's a good thing though....I want her to have a great harvest in her first year of gardening. So far, all she's harvested are strawberries and snap peas, both of which are foods she likes to eat. She understands she's got potatoes growing in the 'swimming pool' as she calls it, and she knows french frieds are made from potatoes, but I'm not sure what she'sll think of purple potatoes.

There are many "cute" plants in her garden, including Hansel eggplant and Gretel Eggplant, and Tomatoberry cherry tomatoes (because the fruit are heart-shaped), Tumbling Tom Red and Tumbling Tom Yellow container tomatoes, and lots of pink and purple flowers, among other things.

I love growing in stock tanks and need to get some more. Growing in containers is so much better than the monumental amount of amending needed by our red clay soil, although I do that too.

About 5 years ago, I got one of my 'old rancher' friends to try planting tomatoes in molasses tubs. As a long-time home gardener who was then in his early 80s, he didn't seem that crazy about the idea but gave it a shot. He has been very, very pleased and now that he's in his late 80s. it works out very well for him. He put his tubs up on an old table so he doesn't even have to bend over to plant them and he positioned them where they get shade during the hottest part of the day. I believe he told me a few weeks ago that the only tomatoes he planted this year were in his tubs. I like container gardening more and more and more...the more I do it, the more I like it...and I am not even close to being in my 80s yet. lol


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 12:15PM
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Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions ... you are such a great group! I'm going to give it a try and if I see it isn't doing too well, I can always move it to another spot. I just wanted to put it in the garden for the ease of watering it when I water the garden.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:37PM
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marcy3459(6a NE OK)


Well, my, my, aren't you narrow-minded?! You don't love everything hot pink? What's up with that? You're talking to someone with two 4-yo granddaughters, I know you're dilemma.

Is the foliage on the purple potatoes purple? And you have them planted with the lime green sweet potato vine? What color petunias? Hot pink, maybe??? Sounds gorgeous!! My strawberries may have to find a new home next year.....hmmmmm


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


We could live in the land of pink and purple and it would be alright with her. As far as she's concerned, no other colors are necessary.

The potatoes have green foliage now, but the leaves had a strongly purplish tint, as did the stems when they first emerged from the soil. They seem to have turned a deeper, darker green and have lost much of that purplish tint. We should have some kind of red potato and Adirondack Blue in there as well, and maybe I'll remember the name of the red one when I see the potatoes at harvest time. There are three types of ornamental sweet potatoes in the stock tank....Blackie (dark purple), Marguerite (chartreuse) and the three-colored variegated one that I think is called "Pink Frost". The petunias are pink, purple and red. (She wanted lots of flowers and lots of color, including pink everything.....)

I know I am being unreasonable, but did Farmer MacGregor have any hot pink in his garden? I don't think so. Did Peter Cottontail's mama have any hot pink in their 'home'? I don't think so (she might have had pale pink though). I am trying (with almost 0% success) to have a little authenticity in Peter's Garden. At least we started out with plants that were in Farmer MacGregor's garden, but we have deviated from that a lot. I am sure that by the end of the summer, it will not look anything like what Farmer MacGregor would have grown, but we're having fun.

The Dallas Arboretum has a Peter Rabbit display and we're planning to go before that exhibit ends.....I understand they have topiaries of the characters from the book and can't wait to see them. They also have some kind of flower house. It undoubtedly will be much fancier than our planned sunflower house. I have the spot for it rototilled, but have been too busy to plant the rows of sunflower seeds to form the walls. Maybe I'll get around to that sometime in the next few days.

As a concession to our granddaughter's 'need' to have pink and purple everything, we did paint the old metal lawn chairs and table a plum purple instead of their original red. They form a small sitting area in the Peter Rabbit garden. I really like the way they look but suspect she'd still prefer a brighter purple.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 2:26PM
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I enjoyed reading about your Peter Rabbit garden. We plant kid friendly plants near the kids play area to encourage ownership. A couple of the tomatoes, Dora and Yellow Jelly Bean, came from you. We also have Carrot Purple Dragon, Tomato Green Zebra, Tomato Tiger Like, Sungold Hybrid (which we call Candy Tomatoes) because they encourage snacking.

I love the Dallas Arboretum and used to live about a half mile from White Rock Lake. We biked on the trail that goes through the Arboretum and I loved it.

I hope you'll let granddaughter have more hot pink. When I was five, in the seventies, I very much wanted a purple room. My parents decided a red white and blue room was better, and that's what I got. I'm still a little mad about it. Really, it will be cheaper to repaint something later on than it will be to foot the bill on therapy. LOL.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:16PM
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We want pictures Dawn!


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:17PM
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My granddaughter had a purple room --- with polka dots. I can't remember the polkadot color now, but it was something outrageous like pink, orange, or yellow. She loved it. My daughter said it's only paint, and it's her new house too, so she gets what she wants.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 5:47PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I'll gladly paint Maddie's room (the guest room and formerly known as "The Plant Room") pink or purple, but I'm not going to paint the picket fence hot pink. lol Y'all, she just turned three last week and her favorite color changes every couple of months, so before I paint too much in the garden, I'm waiting for her favorite color to stabilize a little bit. We have been planting lots of purple and pink flowers there lately.

Seedmama, I love White Rock Lake. Tim has run 'The Rock' several times and likes to do his long training runs down there at the lake once he's at the point in his training where he's running 15 or 18 miles on a long weekend training run. I always go down to Dallas with him and I walk around the lake while he runs around it.

I don't think we've been to the arboretum in years and I am anxious to visit it soon.

Carol, Polka dots? Wow. Thinking of that makes my head spin. lol I think we're going to paint her room purple and paint 1/2 wall with chalkboard paint so she can draw to her heart's content.

Boomer, I don't do photos, but Tim has said he'll try to take some eventually and post them. I have no time. My day usually starts at 4:30 a.m. and ends between 10 and 11 p.m. I need more hours in my day!

Today I spent 8 hours in the kitchen just "putting up" the harvest and the harvest isn't even all that heavy now compared to what it will be in June and July. Tomorrow I'm going to work on turning cabbage into sauerkraut and freezer slaw. The broccoli harvest begins tomorrow so I'm due to spend a lot more time blanching and freezing much of the harvest. It is only May and I've already lost control of my schedule.

Now, y'all, for a funny Tim story. He is not a gardener (he knows how and he used to do it, but now he mostly mows, weedeats and rototills and doesn't really have enough time for those things) but he enjoys my garden although he doesn't spend much time actually inside of it. Today he was in the garden with me around 3 or 4 p.m. and he stood there and looked around and said "you know, this is a really big garden". I almost fell to the ground laughing. Does he think he was telling me somthing I didn't already know?

I'm off to a great start on filling up the freezers and am starting to think three freezers are not enough. I'll probably have to can and dehydrate a lot more stuff this year, and I might need another freezer. Shhh, don't tell my DH I said that. When we bought the 3rd freezer last year, I warned him that if we had a 'great' fruit harvest and a 'great' veggie harvest in the same year that even 3 freezers wouldn't be enough. When I said that, I wasn't necessarily thinking that the 'great' year would be in 2010 but it is looking like it will be.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Hey Dawn,
How did the vegetables do in that big stock tank in the full sun? We are considering purchasing galvanized tanks.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7
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