Looking for advice: galvanized stock tanks for raised garden beds?

My partner and I just bought our first house and we’re looking for some advice from this expert prepping community! 🙂 We live in Minneapolis and like true Northerners, we spend all year planning for and dreaming of our brief window of spring and summer weather. 

We both love to garden and have done lots of gardening in community gardens and on our rental balconies and in rental yards, but this is the first time we’ll actually be able to invest in a long-term garden of our own! We’re so excited. 

I’m planning on getting some galvanized stock tanks for raised beds (with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, of course). Does anyone have experience with this? Any tips for growing vegetables or setting up the stock tanks? 

We move in to our new house late next month. Is it smartest to wait until spring to dig up the grass and plop the tanks down? Or should I do that this fall while the ground is still soft and before the winter freeze descends? 


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  • Comments (6)

    • 7

      Welder Fabricator/Steel Worker and rainy Pacific northwesterner here. Completely safe to use in a garden, go for it and plant anything that will fit inside of them.
      I would just wait until whenever you’re going to actually do it, totally up to you though if you want it out of the way.

      • 3

        I’m so glad to hear that, Chris! Thank you for the reply! Anything you think would be good for extra drainage? And any recommendations on drill bits to use? 

    • 8

      I’ve never tried growing in tanks, but the ones you have picked out look nice.  I’m sure it will make a pretty garden.

      Depending on what you are growing, you might consider removing the bottoms of the tanks completely or drilling quite large (e.g., 1″) holes.  The root systems of many root vegetables go deeper than the 2′ height of your tanks, so you may want to give them access to deeper soil.

      I assume that you are planning to fill the tanks with some sort of growing mix, Square Foot Gardening style.  If so, I don’t think that it will make much difference between doing it now or in the spring.  You could fork over or turn over the ground under the tanks now (loosening the soil and working in some organic matter in the form of the grass you turn in may help drainage somewhat) and get them situated if you want to get a head start, but adding the fill in the spring will help you avoid having any stray weed seeds blow in.

      If you haven’t already, I would check out some resources on container gardening, especially if you are leaving the bottoms of your tanks more-or-less intact.

    • 4

      We do raised beds, although not quite like those tanks (we use 2x12s). We’ve had much success mixing composed cow manure with the soil. After a few years, you will have some very rich, black soil.

      Good luck!

    • 7

      Water tanks seem kinda expensive to me. Check out this guys youtube channel, he uses feed tubs that can be found for free sometimes. 


    • 6

      For seeds, you might check out Johnny’s Selected Seeds (https://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/).  Their site allows you to filter your search for things that grow well in containers.