Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cattle Tub Container Garden

Earlier this spring, I had the bright idea to grow a garden in cattle tubs.  I call it my CTC (Cattle Tub Container) garden.  If you are unfamiliar with these, they are large, extremely durable plastic tubs that contain supplement feed for cattle, like vitamins for cows.  We have a couple of friends who raise cattle and were able to get a few of these tubs from them.  

I wanted to set them up in the back yard, near the house where they would be easy to water.  We had the perfect place in a corner by the peacock shed.  I had Tom set them up in that corner after we had covered the area with weed barrier.

First he drilled some holes in the bottom of each tub for drainage and put some sticks in the bottom to keep the soil from packing down too tightly and clogging the drainage holes.

We bought potting soil that was 45% bark to allow for good drainage and I mixed it with compost to provide plenty of nutrients.  I didn't have enough to fill all the tubs, but if I have good success growing in the tubs, then I will fill the rest of them next spring.  

After the tubs were filled, I planted sweet potatoes in some of them.  We have difficulty growing sweet potatoes in the field because the deer love them.  It will be a very brave deer that jumps inside the fence and braves our very vicious Sally dog to get at them here!  Actually, Sally was a stray that we adopted and was crippled by a bullet in her shoulder.  So, she's not much of a danger to the local deer population. 

And, I planted strawberries in some of them.

And, rhubarb in a couple of them.

The county extension agent told me rhubarb is difficult to grow in this part of Oklahoma, so  I'm hoping by planting it in these tubs, I will be able to manipulate the growth conditions to give it a better chance of survival.

Something has eaten holes in the rhubarb leaves and many of the sweet potato leaves.  I'm not sure what it is.  But, the plants do not seem to be suffering too much as a result, so I'm not too worried about it.  

I added a layer of leaves to the top of the soil to keep the tubs from drying out so quickly.  Even then, I've had to water them every 2 to 3 days during the hottest weather.  So, I plan to add a drip watering system to keep them watered next year.  The best thing about this project is that it has basically eliminated any weed problems.  So, I am optimistic!  If all goes well, this may be the way I garden from now on. 

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