Raised garden beds have many advantages, ranging from saving wear and tear on your back to giving your plants better air circulation and more sunlight.
However, you don’t have to nail lengths of lumber together to make a raised garden bed. Some of the most attractive, easy-to-use raised beds are made from containers—and among the most versatile containers are galvanized steel troughs designed to hold water for farm animals.
If you don’t want to spring for the cost of a new trough, check your local paper’s farm and garden sales section and see if you can pick up one for less money than what the local farm supply store charges.
If your trough has a built-in drainage spigot, you can use that to let out excess water in case of a flood. If there’s no spigot, poke a few holes in the bottom before lining it with gravel to encourage drainage. Be sure to cover the gravel with a layer of soil cloth to prevent soil from washing away.
Fill the trough with a customized soil-and-compost blend to about four inches from the top rim of the trough and put in your plants. Because the trough allows plenty of room for roots to grow, you can space plants closely together. Your garden will yield more with less water.
If you don’t like the appearance of galvanized aluminum, purchase some metallic exterior paint and paint the outside of the trough another color. Benjamin Moore’s Studio Finish Molten Metallics paint is available in gold, bronze, silver, copper, gun smoke, and charcoal for about $25.00 a quart.