En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Smarty Plants on Texas cherry tomato
April 24, 2005 - We just bought 2 Texas cherry tomato plants at the plant sale. We have to container garden in a walled courtyard due to deer. (Would deer be attracted to the plants in a garden with herbs and high de...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a container bog garden in North Texas
April 06, 2010 - I live in Plano, just north of Dallas. I've developed a recent interest in water gardens and am considering getting my toes wet with a container bog garden. I have an old galvanized wash tub that I...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for terrace in New York City
April 25, 2009 - What flowering plants would you recommend that will grow well on a 16th floor terrace ,with all day sun in NYC?
view the full question and answer

Container plant in difficult sun exposure from Leander TX
June 06, 2014 - HELP!!!! I have a large Mexican terracotta pot on my front porch. This awkward area is facing westward, so receives the full dose of Texas sun after about 3 pm onward. Now here's the catch; my fr...
view the full question and answer

Making a raised garden bed in Texas
October 25, 2015 - I just bought a house in Ft Worth Texas and the soil is undisturbed red clay. I was told I probably would need to build a raised bed to make a 25 ft by 4-6 ft butterfly/humming bird/bee native flower ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center