Creating a stock tank garden

February 26, 2016



Some things to consider:

Are galvanized tubs safe? Some arguments say that zinc can leach into your soil from the galvanized tubs. You can find as much information online on either side of the argument. Not comfortable with the risk? Don’t use it for fruits and vegetables, make a great container garden for grasses, flowers and draping plants.

We live in the desert, tanks can get hot. In full sun, the tanks can become hot enough to melt black drip irrigation tubes. Think about planting in semi-shaded areas.


Getting started:

1. Decide where you want your planters to go. Unless they are in a very small tub, it’s unlikely that you will be able to move them once they are filled. Got a galvanized stock tank? Leave it in place for a week and see if you get an afternoon reflection blinding you. Make sure the planter won’t get rainwater runoff, which could damage plants. Get online for some ideas!


2. Choose a container to plant in. The planting method is similar for poly tanks, stock tanks and galvanized tubs. All are options which will last longer than a raised garden bed, are quicker to “build” and easy to work with. Want to paint yours? Now is the time before it’s full and too heavy to move.


3. If you are using a small galvanized tub, drill holes in the bottom (or side) of your tub for drainage. Bottom drainage is great for gardens, side drainage is great for placement on cement. If you are using a stock tank, you can simply pull the plug.


4. If desired, add rocks, then weed barrier, so the soil doesn’t sift out. If you are using a tall stock tank, now’s the time to add compost. Fill halfway. Do not use sand, because it will compact and will prevent the plant from draining.


5. Add a bit of soil before you add plants. Take plants out of pots and space them as directed. Once you have plants where you want them, add soil. Make sure the soil is compact settled, and add more as necessary so plants don’t lean when the soil settles after you water.


6. Enjoy. Make sure your plants are getting the right amount of sun and water and they will thrive!


Check out a photo guide here.



Here are some great resources if you live in Las Cruces, NM


Horse N Hound (obviously)
stock tanks, plants, fertilizer

City of Las Cruces Water Treatment Plant
free compost

555 S. Sonoma Ranch Blvd.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

2855 Amador Ave.
8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Green Fox Landscape Supply
Moving in next door to Horse N Hound - opening in March
plants, trees, weed barrier, flagstone, rocks, mulch, fill

Master Gardener Hotline
Tuesday and Fridays
9 a.m. to noon
Answering all your questions!

Doña Ana County Extension Office
530 North Church St.
Las Cruces, NM 88001

Perfect for our area: a when to plant guide

2301 S. Main St.
Las Cruces, NM 88005
stock tanks

Guzman’s Color Your World
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekdays
10 a.m. to 5. p.m. Sunday

540 N. Telshor Blvd.

270 Avenida de Mesilla
so many plants!




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208 N. Motel Blvd.

Las Cruces, NM 88007


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