En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Saturday - September 17, 2011

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Livestock Watering Tanks Used for Container Gardening at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

We would like to use livestock watering tanks like the ones use the the Wildflower Center for plantings in our backyard in Plano, Texas. We have found some to purchase in McKinney, Texas. What do we need to do to the bottom so that they will drain? Were the ones at the Wildflower Center specially made, or are they livestock tanks? Thanks

ANSWER:

Those tanks have generated a great deal of interest among vistors to the Wiildflower Center. They are plain old galvanized steel livestock watering tanks available at most ranching supply centers or large feed stores. They are available in a number of shapes and sizes.

To provide drainage, holes were drilled in the bottom of the tanks before they were put in place. Mr. Smarty Plants asked Wendy Redding, a Wildflower Center horticulturalist who did a lot of the drilling, "How many holes were drilled?" Her reply, "Thousands." The holes were about one-half inch in diameter.

Drilling holes in galvanized steel is going to be tough work. You will need a powerful drill and high quality drill bits made for metal work. Be sure to wear gloves,  safety goggles and a dust mask. You'll be making a lot of metal shards and dust.

Here are some articles I found about using stock tanks in the garden:

http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=1610

http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=224

Just a note on terminology. In ranching lingo, a "tank" refers to a small pond constructed to provide water for livestock. The metal containers we have discussed are usually called "cans." In order to appear more cosmopolitan than I really am, I have referred to them as tanks in this answer.

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a nursing home resident from LaQuinta CA
July 26, 2013 - I take care of an elderly woman with dementia. She is in a nursing home and she's always LOVES flowers and plants. Do you have any suggestions for potted outdoor blooming plants for the summer in...
view the full question and answer

Type of clumping bamboo for outdoor planters from Plano TX
March 25, 2014 - What type of clumping bamboo can be grown outdoors in planters in Dallas,TX?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Blue Cohosh
April 21, 2005 - I acquired a potted plant of Blue Cohosh at a sale. My question is where can I plant it? I live in Seattle but also garden in Zone 5 at Lake Wenatchee Washington. Shade or sun? How hardy is it? ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a lizard terrarium
October 24, 2006 - My brother is setting up a terrarium for his lizard and wants advice on some species to put in the tank. He wants plants that generally fit the below description. Can you think of anything fairly c...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center