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Creating a stock tank garden

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) 523-8790 stock tanks, plants, fertilizer City of Las Cruces Water Treatment Plant 528-3700 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 525-6649 Answering all your questions! Doña Ana County Extension Office 530 North Church St. Las Cruces, NM 88001 525-6649 Perfect for our area: a when to plant guide ReStore 2301 S. Main St. Las Cruces, NM 88005 523-5019 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. 521-0496 270 Avenida de Mesilla 523-1520 so many plants!

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