Question #1: what?

I have a few questions that I thought I'd ask you about. The first is "what?" -- or more precisely, "what to do?"

I have a 55-gallon drum that spent the summer, and now the winter, on the driveway. I have a few ideas of what I could do with it this next growing season, but none of them is overly compelling.


My first thought was to make it into a compost tumbler. I've always thought that would be handy to have at least in theory, but in practice it seems like it might have several limitations. First, it doesn't hold a huge amount of organic material. Second, how exactly do you use it? Do you just load it up with material, then turn it every day for several weeks until everything is all broken down into useable compost? If so, that doesn't seem very practical.

Also, where would I put it? The driveway is not the ideal spot for it, and the only other places that make sense are way in the back, almost as far away from the house as my current compost pile.

So I started thinking less practical garden and more ornamental: what about just removing the lid and creating a new water garden? It's pretty tall for that though, but I do like the idea of adding water to another corner of the yard.

Okay, so what about using it as a massive planter? That's certainly a simple option, and could have quite a large impact with the right plant. Ooh, another place to put papyrus next year -- that would be really impressive!

Rain barrel is another idea, but I've had one before and it just doesn't get enough use. During the dry parts of summer it's empty, then we get a thunderstorm and it fills up in 5 minutes. That water lasts for one watering, then it's empty again. Not worth it!

So what do you think: compost tumbler, water feature, or planter? Or is there some other option I haven't thought of?


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Liza  – (January 21, 2015 at 11:01 PM)  

I like the idea of turning it into a planter. Can you drill holes in it and plant tons of strawberry plants in it?

I also think an assortment of flowers would look great - some tall, some spilling over the sides.

Or even saw it into two pieces for matching planters on either side of your driveway.

Anonymous –   – (January 22, 2015 at 12:24 AM)  

Rain barrel or planter for bamboo?

I also like Liza's strawberry suggestion

Mark and Gaz  – (January 22, 2015 at 3:48 AM)  

A water garden was the first thing that jumped to my mind. Can imagine it with tall papyrus and thalia dealbata. Although it may be too deep? Making it a planter is the simplest solution as you've just said. Either way you also have the option to paint it :)

danger garden  – (January 22, 2015 at 11:17 AM)  

Around here these are becoming quite popular as planters, usually cut in half though, so they aren't quite as deep. They also are often painted bright colors, or with stripes.

Do you have an outdoor seating area? Maybe you could cut it not quite in half (2/3 1/3) and part becomes a table for smaller pots (or a cool beverage) and the other becomes a planter.

Or cut it in half lengthwise and make wooden supports (legs, sort of a rectangle with a U-shaped cut out) and have to long planters.

Okay, I'll stop now.

Alan  – (January 23, 2015 at 1:40 PM)  

Some great ideas here -- I never thought about making furniture out of it! I also like the idea of cutting it non-symmetrically. If I had two of these barrels I think I'd do that in a second, and end up with a trio of planters of different heights that I'd group together -- that would be fabulous! Now I have to find another barrel (or two or three...)

Thanks everybody!

outlawgardener  – (January 23, 2015 at 5:38 PM)  

Hammer it into a cool steel drum to play at all of your summer parties!

Alan  – (January 26, 2015 at 11:33 AM)  

Peter: I would love to have a steel drum, but I suspect it takes a bit of experience to make it into a musical thing. The first one would probably be more of the "yeah, you really dented up that barrel!" variety. :)

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