Raised beds of industrial tubs

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Jaclynne, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have access to as many large square industrial tubs as we can use. They are a very heavy, thick, rigid plastic stuff about a 4x4 cube. I was thinking of using them for my raised beds in the garden. My plan was to bury them 2 feet.

    My question is: Should I cut the bottoms out or just drill drainage holes? Cutting the bottoms out would be easiest, I think, but I could eliminate problems with moles if I only drilled drainage holes. And how big should the holes be?

    We are in zone 7b and have very sandy soil. Raised beds are easier for watering in our hot summers and easier/cheaper for amending that sand.

    Life is good! :) :) :)
    Halo
     
  2. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you bury the tub 2 feet, you must have good drainage or your garden will suffer. If the soil drains well, no worry, just put holes in the tub too small for the moles. Moles are insectavores. If your drainage is poor, you must run a tile from the tub for drainage. Most plants will thrive in 18-24" of good soil. So, you could put gravel and sand in the bottom. But if the soil doesn't drain, you'll need to provide a path for the water. Exclude the moles by making small holes for drainage. gobug
     

  3. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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    Also, what were the cubes used for? Be sure they never contained any poisonous substance, or chemicals that could leak into the soil - even well cleaned stuff can still contaminate.
     
  4. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    I tried this idea last year with containers exactly as you describe, except were 1'x2' and had excellent results with some things, and only mediocre results with others. I did not bury the containers...just used them as big containers and set up a whole side of my garden as the "container garden". I drilled 1/2" holes spaced out evenly in the bottom of the container for drainage, mixed up my dirt and compost and started planting. They will need MUCH more water than a regular garden. I'm in zone 6b and have VERY heavy clay soil and was amazed at how much water we went through even after adding all the compost to the soil. Herbs, carrots, lettuces, and tobacco beans did very well in the containers while broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts had to be transplanted to the garden because they did not do well at all.

    Also, unless you were planning on planting something that was going to get really tall, I would not bury them...at that height it would be so much easier on your back! But depending on how tall you are, I could see a point in burying them. I would only bury them a foot though, and would drill drain holes instead of cutting the bottom out. Wish I could find some containers like you have...that would be perfect for my back. Anyawy just my opinions....
    Heather
     
  5. TxTruker

    TxTruker Well-Known Member

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    I have 55 gal drums cut length ways for raised beds and they do just fine.
    I drilled holes in the bottom and water often in the summer.
    JJ
     
  6. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    blhmabbot - Well, I was going to bury the boxes 2 feet because I'm only 5'2" myself.
    I think with the added volume of soil I'll not need to water as much as you, but did expect to have to water more than the regular garden rows.

    gobug - We have very good drainage. In fact in this sand we have a bigger problem just keeping things watered, it dries out too fast.

    Homesteader - the tubs were use for bakery waste, so they are completely safe for garden beds.


    I think I'll not bury them quite so deep. Maybe since you can't sit on the sides I'll use a stool or such to measure the height for burying.

    Would holes in the bottom sides be a waste of time or a help with drainage?


    Life is good! :) :) :)
    Halo