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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

My Deck Trough Planters

Detroit Red and Crosby Egyptian beets in this trough

Live and Learn asked about my trough planters, so here's the deets.

I have 4 of these planters, all the same size and color. I bought them in 2009. They're made of a UV stable plastic that has held up very well. At the time I bought them, they were available in white and dark brown. I chose white. But in my mossy, messy climate, I sometimes wish I'd chosen the dark brown. I haven't yet cleaned the outside this year. While they look dingy right now, they'll clean up pretty well when I power wash the deck this next week.

Their dimensions are 16 inches high, 39 inches long, and 17 inches front to back.  I've successfully grown leafy greens as well as root crops, such as turnips, beets, and carrots. The height seems to be enough for these veggies. This year I have Swiss chard, beets, turnips, and a mixed trough of perennial herbs (rosemary, lavender, thyme).

With the vegetable-only troughs, every year in spring, I remove about 4 gallons of soil and replenish it with 4 gallons of compost/garden soil blend plus a handful of fertilizer appropriate for the particular plant. With the perennial herb trough, I only amend the soil in years that I'm replacing plants (which would be this spring). The herbs I grow in this trough tend to like well-drained soil and and can tolerate poor soil.

I initially bought these troughs for a combo of herbs and flowers to add color and life to the long, narrow deck. Then I discovered some veggies actually did better when up and off the ground, and could be planted sooner in the season, as our deck is on the south side of the house and catches heat better in spring than the garden.

My deck garden grown in troughs and pots is pitiful compared to one famous "secret" garden in Seattle. At Pike Place Market there's a patio garden that grows vegetables, herbs and flowers in troughs and pots, primarily serving a food bank located in the market. Most folks that visit the market never see this garden. You have to follow several corridors to find your way onto the patio. But when you come through the doorway, a colorful invitation into an urban garden masterpiece greets the viewer.

The garden uses a variety of planters, pots, and raised beds. I find their use of livestock watering troughs to be charming -- something so rural in a place so urban. Most of the vegetables are grown in these galvanized planters.

In spring, volunteers come together to plant seeds and tiny starts. They may look somewhat bare in early April. But by late May, the planters are overflowing with greens, herbs, peas, beans, the beginnings of some summer squash, cucumbers, and developing tomatoes. The garden is available to the public to visit. If you find yourself in downtown Seattle some day, ask the fish throwers, "which way to the urban garden?" 


  1. Thanks for the details, Lili. I am considering getting a bigger planter for our porch, but not sure where it would best fit. And because it's covered, I have to figure out the sun situation. But I'd like grow herbs out there for convivence. If I ever make it to Seattle, I will definitely look for the urban garden.

    1. Good luck with finding what will work for your situation, Live and Learn.

  2. Thanks for the review on your planter. I love real life reviews from a trusted source.

  3. That’s interesting about the hidden garden. I have been to Pike Place Market, but have never seen it, or even heard of it before now.
    I bought myself a greenstalk planter for an early Christmas present last year. I’ve been researching things to plant in it. Unfortunately most of the stuff I’m finding is written or created by people who have sponsored by greenstalk. I’ve made my decisions, and gotten my seeds, so we’ll see how I do.


    1. Hi Diane,
      I had to look up the greenstalk planter. They look like vertical planters. What a nice gift to yourself. Good luck with what you've chosen! I hope it does fabulously.

    2. I even found a tomato that people say do well in greenstalk. I have my doubts but I’m going to try them. And so you know, I did not pay that crazy price. They had a sale for $99, then I used a promo code for another $10 off. $89 is still a lot, but I have wanted one for years, just wasn’t willing to pay full price. My oldest dd also bought one.

  4. Happy belated birthdays to you and your husband!!

    Gyros and Greek food sounds so delicious. I remember going to our local Greek festival and had gyros. It was memorable, and wish we had a restaurant supply outlet to order that. We haven't been in a restaurant for a sit down meal since February 2020. Take out prices have gone up about 50%, so sit down might be same or more.

    I've been thinking about container or raised planter gardening since it will be easier on our backs as we age. Our local Home Depot sells those galvanized planters. It looks so decorative in the garden.

    Happy Thursday!!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you. We enjoyed our Greek dinner.
      The Greek festival sounds like a fun event. Years ago we went to the Greek festival sponsored by the Orthodox Greek church in the city we lived in then. It was a lot of fun. Good food, good music, and dancing, plus a tour of their church. Very interesting and fun.

      I've been thinking about my back and knees for when future me gardens. A few places make raised planting troughs that you can stand up to garden. I know a couple of people who have one of those. There's quite a lot that you can grow in them. I do like the galvanized planters. I saw a bunch of them at Home Depot the other day and wanted to take a couple home with me right then.

      Have a great rest of your evening!


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