Every year we try something new in our garden. It could be new vegetables, a new location, new watering system or new containers.
If you are just starting a garden, check out this beginner gardening series to help you get set up. Start small and add more each year.
If you have been gardening for several years, you might be ready to start something new. After all, we want to expand our knowledge and try new things.
A couple of years ago, I tried the deep mulch method of gardening and I really loved it. It helped me cut down on weeds and keep moisture in my garden.
So this year, I had some new problems in my garden I am looking to solve.
Let’s dive in and see the problems we are having and how metal water troughs might help.
Building A Metal Water Trough Vegetable Garden
Why do we want to try this experiment?
There are several problems in our garden that we are hoping to solve with a metal water trough vegetable garden:
- We have moles in our yard and garden.
- I don’t like bending over to weed.
- I want a cleaner look for the garden.
- I need to control the dirt (our soil is too clayish for gardening)
How are we implementing our experiment?
Our step by step process to build our metal trough vegetable garden:
Plan out your garden. Use a gardening journal or planner to sketch out the design you want in your garden. This is also a great place to keep records of where you plant each kind of plant for future use.
Clear a level area in your yard for the garden. You want to make sure the area you are creating for your garden is level. This will help the troughs to lay flat and not cause tripping hazards as well.
Put down black landscape material or plastic to cut down on weeds. As you can see in the photo above, we put down thick black landscape cloth to try to keep the weeds at bay around the troughs. My cute helper loves it when I am working outside!
Source your metal troughs (used or new). I asked around and couldn’t find any used troughs that weren’t too beat up, so I bought mine new. But if you can find used troughs, they would work fine. A few extra holes in them would be great for drainage.
Set up the troughs in the place you want to leave them. The troughs will be heavy when full with organic matter and soil, so make sure you find a home for them before you start filling.
Fill the troughs with organic matter. We chose wood chips to fill the bottom half of the troughs with, because it was free. You could also use sticks, rocks, or other fillers depending on what you have around your house. Not only does this cut down on cost, but it will help the troughs drain as well.
Fill the troughs with soil. I bought soil in bags because I wasn’t sure how much I would need. I could have also bought a truck load full of loose dirt and used that. If you have good dirt in your yard, you can use that as well.
Plant your seeds or seedlings. In these troughs, I have planted carrots, radishes, beets, cucumbers, spaghetti squash and zucchini. These were all from seed, but you could use seedlings from the store (or your indoor starts) as well.
Put down wood chips/rocks around the troughs to keep weeds down. I don’t expect a ton of weeds inside the troughs because of the fresh soil and their height off the ground. But it is much cleaner and more pleasant for the gardener if you can minimize the weeds in the area between the troughs.
Keep troughs watered (and make sure they are draining properly). We will be using this watering system with our irrigation in our garden. I don’t have it all set up, so for now I am watering by hand.
What do we hope to accomplish?
- Keep moles (and rabbits) out of the garden.
- Keep the garden neat and organized for a summer oasis.
- Grow lots of amazing organic produce for our family.
What is the most important thing to remember with container gardening?
Metal water troughs are just large containers in your garden and they should be treated the same as other container gardens.
Water must be able to drain out of the containers or they will get flooded, moldy and your plants (and their roots) could rot.
The metal water troughs I purchased have drainage holes at the bottom. If it seems like they aren’t doing their job, I will drill more holes for more drainage.
So keep an eye out for flooded troughs and make sure there is proper drainage for optimal growth.
For other ideas for raised bed gardening, check out this blog post —> 12 Creative Raised Bed Ideas For Your Garden.
Edited: Here are the results of the experiment if you want to see how it turned out —> Water Trough Garden Experiment Results: A Mixed Bag.
Have you tried metal water trough vegetable gardening? Share your tips with us in the comments below. And if you found this post to be helpful, please share. Thanks!