Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

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

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012 - Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Container plants for deck in Maine
May 18, 2009 - I live on the ocean in Maine. Fourth floor deck. I want to plant containers and boxes with annuals that can withstand a lot of wind. We get mostly sun but some shade as well. Of course, there is the s...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of potted blue-green cypress
July 26, 2008 - I received a small 14" potted blue-green cypress for Christmas 2007. Kept it in a bright window, not direct sun. It was doing great until two weeks ago when it started turning brown from the center. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant to cover retaining wall in Carlisle PA
August 01, 2010 - I have a block retaining wall in my back yard. I need to find a quick growing plant that will grow through late summer into fall and cover the wall with limited sunlight.
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.