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Terrific Garden Tub Transformation

Upcycle a Vintage Cast Iron Claw-foot tub for the garden

tub planter

No matter the condition of the bathtub, you can transform it into a conversation piece planter that is as practical as it is funky. How much would it cost you to buy, much less plant up a planter this size? A LOT! I’ll show you all the tricks we used to transform this one from tacky to terrific!

Take a rusty dirty claw-foot tub…

The tub was used as a goat water trough

The tub was used as a goat water trough, until today!

First of all, claw foot tubs are dang heavy! You need help to acquire one once you find one. We live on what was once an old goat farm and this tub had been used as a watering trough. It also had been engulfed by this old manzanita bush. I needed Tractor Man! One day he saw someone’s posted picture of an old tub, filled with growing strawberries! That same day, he fired up the tractor and headed up the hill to the old goat shed. “What? I thought???” I better go after him to supervise. Let’s go!

Tractor Man pulled it out

Tractor Man pulled it out of the bush and two feet of hard clay dirt

I was cheerleader as I watched Tractor Man do his work, attaching tie straps and pulling the tub out with gentle tugs until it was pried out of the bush. Yippee! We found out at this time that the tub had no feet! I felt good then about letting it live as a planter in the garden.

Pried out of it's spot, the tub is transported down from the goat shed

Pried out of it’s spot, the tub is transported down from the goat shed

I quickly had to figure out where I wanted this to go as well,…you’re pretty much going to leave it once it’s placed. With the decision made to settle it by the Ranch Gate garden, I started collecting my saved Folger’s coffee cans…can you guess why?

New spot by the garden

New spot by the garden

Tub garden makeover: From tacky to terrific

Some space displaced with closed containers

The tub is prepared to plant

Some space in the 18″ deep tub displaced with sealed plastic coffee cans, six or eight of them! I had them filled with kitchen scraps, saved just for filling the bottoms of my largest planting containers. I emptied the contents and set the cans in themselves to fill up some of the space in the tub.

Then, I gathered up the materials to do the fun part,…planting! Soil, and plants and tools. Tractor Man headed down to find a big scoop of good topsoil from under a tree somewhere. That plus the coffee cans helped with the total cost of the project, under $15.00!

The top soil completely covered the kitchen scraps, eliminating any odor that would attract animals. That would decompose adding nutrition to the flowers to be planted.

Two cubic feet of soil were added

Two cubic feet of soil were added on top of a small bag of perlite to lighten the soil.

Black-eyed Susans and Yarrow planted

Black-eyed Susans and Yarrow were planted

Soaking up Style

One year later, the tub looks pretty established!

One year later, the tub looks pretty established!

Besides the Black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta yet to bloom, there are wildflowers…the native Common white yarrow, Achillea millefolium transplanted from the meadow area and California poppies and ‘Farewell to Spring’, Clarkia cylindrica.

I added my milk can and watering can to the mix...to go along with a farm theme.

I added my milk can and watering can to the mix…to go along with a farm theme.

Wildflowers planted tWildflowers planted themselves over the last year!  Looks very meadow-like to me...hemselves over the last year!

Wildflowers planted themselves over the last year! Looks very meadow-like to me…

Drip water is provided with the last bit of the soaker hose that also waters the vegetable garden. What is planted here is very drought tolerant and needs little water. Now I’ll start a few plant around the tub to further settle it into the landscape. It sits near a path and we’ll enjoy walking our Corgi Maggie by to see the progress over the summer.

For more great ideas on how to create unique and interesting focal points in your garden using recycled items, visit http://www.fleamarketgardening.org/

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