Bathtub Gardening

My husband used to keep horses on this place years ago.  He trained horses as a hobby. There was a small horse shelter , a corral, and several posts to tie horses to.  The tack, feed and hay were kept in a separate area of the chicken barn.  And, because FD was a plumber, he used two old bathtubs for watering troughs.  They have been an eyesore, collecting leaves and debris since we don’t keep horses anymore.   When we first moved here I used one tub to keep our goldfish in.  The new owner of our previous house didn’t want the water feature I had in the backyard, so I moved the fish over here with us until I could find them a new home.  I had to keep narrow chicken wire covering tied down on top of the tub to keep raccoons and other fish-eating critters out.  The other tub just sat in all of its ugliness next to a fence line.

Re-purposing an old fiberglass bathtub!

While reading an issue of “Herb Companion” magazine I happened across an article on horseradish.  FD and I love horseradish and are usually disappointed when we buy a new jar at the store because it’s never spicy hot enough.  We like it HOT.  We’ve tried various brands, and yet none have that slow burn we so desire.  Reading on I discovered it’s easy to raise, but quite invasive and very difficult to get rid of.  Large container planting or raising in an isolated area was suggested.  Hmm, suddenly the old eyesore out in the pasture was taking on a new purpose!

I ordered  few root cuttings online from R.H. Shumway.  Well, actually, I got a little carried away because by the time I managed the free shipping (have I mentioned I’m a tightwad?) I had racked up quite a list of vegetables!   When the roots arrived they were small and did not look very attractive.  In fact, they looked pathetic.  I put a shallow layer of rock in the base of the bathtub and filled it with dirt from along the fence lines.   Years of leaves and debris collecting in the fence line often produces rich, lovely compost. I planted my roots just like the article said to, and I waited…

2011 Herb of the Year ~ Horseradish!

I was beginning to think I got some dud roots.  Nothing was happening.  I watered, plucked the weeds that came up, and dusted off the tree seeds that fell on top.  I was tempted to dig the roots back up and take a look at them, but then that “little voice” told me to be patient.  I finally just forgot about them.  I neglected to water and check on them like I had been.  Then one day I went past the bathtub while mowing grass, and there they were!!  Tiny little leaves poking out of the soil!  And today the leaves are bigger and more small plants are showing up.  Perhaps horseradish does not like fussing over and too much attention.

I think I may plant additional horseradish in the other bathtub if this planting works well.  I am not sure what to expect as far as quantity of root goes, but it will be a fun experiment to see how much I harvest in the fall, and how preparation turns out.  Meanwhile, I think a few flowers in front of the tub might add a nice splash of color!  I am a little bit proud of that old bathtub.  No longer landfill material, it earns its spot on the ranch as a special kind of garden planter!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

6 thoughts on “Bathtub Gardening

  1. Aunt Lori,
    These old bathtubs have been there for as long as I can remember. I used to love meeting the horses there to pet and feed them. Seeing them in their delapedated state every time I would visit was a heartbraking reminder of how much I missed those horses. (Or maybe just the me who fed the horses.) I am so beyond excited that you saw these ugly old eyesores and turned them into something once again useful and beautiful. Thank you for your incredable devotion to refurbishing and replenishing our old family farm that holds such a special place in all our hearts. For all you do, I love and appreciate you more than you could ever know.


    1. Thank you Becky! Sometimes the work here is a labor of love… but it’s always rewarding to see what we’ve accomplished and know that others love it too. You know you are welcome to come stay anytime! I just cleaned the chicken barn today. I’m ready for the little kids to take tours without worrying about stepping in a lot of chicken poo!! LOL And I love you too… very much!


    1. Thanks Hook! We try to re-purpose when we can around here. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the horseradish really loved the bathtub. Once dug up, the roots were scrawny and probably only good for planting next years roots. I’m not discouraged yet. I may have to find another spot for the horseradish, but I’m not about to give up on my bathtub gardening. Something will flourish in there!


Comments are closed.