Finished trimming shrubs and trees, planting out the last of the brussels and broccoli starts, and composted the beds last week. Just in time for November’s first frost date.
At first I thought I’d have to discard the extra starts, but I decided to install them into the cinder block wall, as well as the 65 gallon felt pot in which the lorapetalum has found a new home.
The nights have dipped back down into the 40s and 50s, so I’m hoping my outdoor greenhouse tent will keep my sensitive plants protected. I’m researching ways to keep things warm in there without resorting to expensive heating.
I planted the 2nd stock tank garden bed about 2 weeks after the first, to stagger my production. I changed up the filler material and soil composition to see if ultimately results will comparable to the first tank.
End of the season watermelons went into building the foundational layer of the bed, along with stem and brush cuttings. I dearly hope that I’m not growing a watermelon patch in this tank.
In this bed, I used Raised Garden Bed soil, organic compost, peat moss, coarse vermiculite and perlite in different ratios compared to the first bed. I still broadcast Espoma Garden-tone fertilizer over the surface once it was filled up and ready for planting
As with the other bed, tank #2 has cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, dill and garlic aplenty. This time, I added bok choy and spinach starts. But of course, there wasn’t enough space to hold all the broccoli and brussel sprout starters I still had waiting in the wings. I’ve been discussing with the DH if we should get 2 more stock tanks to DIY into garden beds, but of course the limiting factor will be patio space.
All planted with the winter garden! I left a 12″ square open for the next batch of bunching onions, spinach and lettuce I’ve started from seed. Meanwhile, I plan on using that bouquet dill shortly.
If you haven’t checked out my IG feed, I posted some pictures of my stock tank garden beds.
These took a couple weeks to build and assemble. I purchased the stock tanks on sale at Tractor Supply Company. I originally wanted to go with the 2×4 tanks, but the size and sale price of 2×6 tanks made them too attractive to pass up. Of course, their size meant we had to rent a truck to haul them home. Luckily, we still had other yard projects that required the rent-a-truck to transport supplies.
Due to their size, I knew these tanks had to be mobile. Especially when filled with soil and water, they’d be a challenge to move around on my patio. I purchased 3/8 carriage bolts, heavy duty casters off Amazon and some waterproof stain. The stain was to seal the lumber on which the casters would be mounted. Finally I had to wait a week to get in an order of 5/16 galvanized threaded bolts, washers and hex nuts…because none of the local home improvement shops had sufficient quantities in stock to buy.
While I waited for the hardware to arrive, I drilled drainage holes in the bottom of the tanks. This required some titanium bits and some wrist strength, as drilling into steel can cause the drill to torque. I then marked out the area where the casters would be mounted. I was banking that 2 pieces of lumber would be enough to support these tanks upright.
I then secured the lumber to stock tanks using 3/8 carriage bolts, washers and hex nuts. Once the 5/16 hardware arrived, I was then able to drill and secure the casters to the lumber.
I then sealed the lumber and the inside of the stock tanks with silicone to prevent water seeping into or leaking into wood. It’s important to have the lumber last as long as possible since I depend on these supports to move these tanks around the yard and patio.
Once everything was drilled and sealed into place, it was time to get the tanks onto the casters and filled.
I lined the bottom with leftover landscape fabric then threw in 2 bags of lawn trimmings and cuttings. Afterwards, I layered in organic raised bed soil, compost, vermiculite, peat moss and perlite, adjusting as needed to get proper drainage. It’s quite an upper body workout to till and turn the soil media,
I had quite a number of dill, kale, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower starts, along with some lettuce seedlings I began indoors. In between the rows, I also stuck some garlic cloves, which took no time to sprout. Unfortunately I have way too many plants to fit in one of these tanks, if I stuck to the square-foot gardening method.
With one bed planted, I realized my new starts needed a little more sun. So I moved them to the east side of the pergola. Even with casters, the tank was almost too heavy to move on my own! I’d like to get more of these stock tanks, but size and mobility are definitely going to be deciding factors…likely I’d go with the smaller tanks next time.
I need help figuring out what milkweed is growing in my beds. I started milkweed in 2018 which found its way into the backyard. I also bought and transplanted other specimens as well.
The only ID I’m certain of is the variegated butterfly weed which overwintered in the garage. The Home Depot version lists as Butterfly Kisses, but it didn’t stop me from picking up another variegated milkweed from North Haven Gardens, Monarch’s Promise. Maybe they’re one and the same.
Anyway, the following milkweed springing up from my beds are defying attempts to identify them properly.
True to the Rogue bed’s name, milkweed #2 appears to have reseeded rogue, with over a half dozen volunteer starts. The young leaves start out green which mature to the gray-green color seen in the pics.
Then there is the one potted milkweed that I can’t recall what it is. But I’m glad it emerged, suggesting that garage overwintering suits these plants. Now if I can only remember what it is. Hint: I bought 3 packets of Botanical Interests milkweed seed — Common (A. syriaca), Showy (A. speciosa) and Irresistible Blend (A. incarnata). If I remember right, one of the 3 proved difficult to germinate and didn’t take to water sowing at all.