Heads up! I link to products and services that I love from time to time. More often than not I have an affiliate relationship with these providers. What does that mean? I might make a small percentage from any purchases you make, but don't worry, you won't pay even a penny more. Thanks for supporting The 104 Homestead. You can see our full disclosure statement here.
Are you looking for an easy way to get your garden started? Galvanized bins make handy planters and they are pretty cool looking too. Best of all, this DIY project is one you can easily complete over a weekend.
In this guide, we’ll review the 3 steps to using galvanized bins as planters:
- Drill drainage holes.
- Position the bins and fill with soil.
- Start planting!
Galvanized bins can be found at your local hardware store, farm supply store, or online. They come in various sizes and are traditionally used for animal feed. Think about what size would be best for your space and for what you want to grow. The bins shown here are 155-gallon tanks from Tarter; they are approximately 2 feet high by 2 feet wide by 6 feet long.
Drill Drainage Holes
You want to make sure the veggies you are going to plant have plenty of drainage, so drilling holes at the bottom of your galvanized bins is important. This is not an easy job, but it’s worth it! Here’s how:
- Flip the bin upside down for drilling, and put a tarp or a blanket underneath to catch the metal scraps.
- Using a 1/2-inch metal drill bit, drill holes every few inches around the perimeter of the trough, as well as across both vertically and horizontally. This will drain the battery from a cordless drill quickly, so a corded drill might be a better option if you have one.
Position Bins & Fill with Soil
You may be placing your galvanized bins on a patio or in a yard. If you want your bins in a specific location, you can measure and mark the specific spot. When placing the bins, take the time to make sure they are level, which is important for drainage. Remember that once the bins are full of dirt, they will be fairly permanent because of their weight (though you can always empty the dirt out to move them).
For soil, we recommend using a blend of 2/3 high-quality top soil and 1/3 compost. Your local landscape/garden center can probably deliver this by the yard (even better if you have a truck and can pick it up), and then you can shovel it into the bins.
Fill your galvanized bins to the very top with the soil/compost blend! Keep in mind that the soil will settle, and stopping even just a few inches from the top of the bins will create a gap that will cast a shadow on your plants.
Now you’re ready to plant, which is the fun part! Snap peas and lettuce are examples of cool-season vegetables that can be sown directly in the bins. Cherry tomatoes and summer squash are examples of warm-season vegetables that can either be started indoors or purchased as seedlings. You can mix and match – starting with some direct sowing early in the season and adding other seedlings and warm-season veggies as the season progresses.
Happy planting in your galvanized bins!