• Getting galvanized…in the garden

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    Using galvanized containers in the garden

    Don’t we love galvanized containers at Flea Market Gardening? I’d bet that every one of your gardens have at least one of these buckets or tubs.  Here’s a little more info on just what this metal is…

    Sempervivum arachnoideum Hens and Chicks 'Cebenese' in an old bucket

    Sempervivum arachnoideum Hens and Chicks ‘Cebenese’ in an old bucket

    What does ‘galvanized’ mean?

    Galvanized metal is simply steel in some form that has received a thin coating of zinc oxide, which simply prevents containers from rusting when exposed to the elements. This makes it perfect as a planter for bright succulents or spring annuals on the patio.

    The history of galvanizing goes back to 1742 when a French chemist devised a method of coating iron by dipping it in molten zinc.

    Did you know that the Brooklyn Bridge is galvanized? When it was restored one hundred years after it was built, the hot-dip galvanized wire was found to be in excellent shape!

    Because of the maintenance-free long life of the hot-dip galvanized coatings on our containers, we can expect to pass these containers on to our children!  Ha!  IF they want them!

    This galvanized strainer pail, found at the Flea Market, is filled with Hens and Chicks ‘Cebenese’, Sempervivum arachnoideum. The little chicks have a spidery web attached to the spines. The muted coral of the blooms contrast well with the blue grey steel.


    Galvanized Garden Gallery

    Di-Ellen Davenport's collection of galvanized containers

    Di-Ellen Davenport’s collection of galvanized containers

    Tanya from Blondeponders Garden and Duck tales, very effectively uses blue bottles along with her galvanized tub....an idea that I've already 'borrowed!'

    Tanya from Blondeponders Garden and Duck tales, very effectively uses blue bottles along with her galvanized tub….an idea that I’ve already ‘borrowed!’


    A Gardener in Progress

    A Gardener in Progress


    Jeanie Merritt

    Jeanie Merritt


    Annie Steen's drysink

    Annie Steen’s drysink


    Jill Ruskamp

    Jill Ruskamp

    What about growing veggies?

    What about growing vegetables in galvanized tubs? Is it safe?
    Johanna Silver, Sunset test garden coordinator says,

    “All of the professors I tapped from UC Davis saw no problem with gardening in galvanized containers. …. Zinc, which is a trace chemical in the soil, poses little risk to the plants, and won’t accumulate to unhealthy levels for humans in the crops.”

    So don’t worry if planting veggies; they’re perfectly safe and your galvanized tubs will be long lasting as well!

    Osteospermum, Salvia 'May Night' and graniums in a galvanized palnter on wheels.

    Osteospermum, Salvia ‘May Night’ and geraniums in a galvanized planter on wheels.


    My tub of Sweet Allysum. Galvanized or rust, which do you like better?

    My tub of Sweet Allysum. Galvanized or rust, which do you like better? Both?


    Galvanized works anywhere in an FMG garden!

    Set by the front door, this galvanized planter, found at a tag sale, is the perfect size and proportion and has the added advantage of having casters, so it can easily rolled away to sweep. Filled with seasonal flowers it brightens the entry! Next time you see galvanized containers of any size at the Flea Market, better gather them up and get galvanized!

    Dreama Bender, of the Chicken Coop's 'holy grail' for galvanized lovers,,,a double washtub and stand

    Dreama Bender, of the Chicken Coop’s ‘holy grail’ for galvanized lovers,,,a double washtub and stand


    Jean Morrow frothy flowers in a double wash tub.

    Jean Morrow frothy flowers in a double wash tub

    Also see my galvanized tubs used as a vegetable garden and an onion farm!  For ALL our galvanized garden ideas, go directly to our Get Galvanized photo album on our Flea Market Gardening Facebook page.  ~~ Sue


    Share and Enjoy


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.


    1. turbolotte says:

      Oh, I use this everywhere!! I just love the gray against the coloured flowers. I also buy a lot of zink pots. They are not so heavy to lift, and handles the frost in a good way.

    2. Denise Smith says:

      I have several pieces of galvanized in my garden! I Love it!

    3. Patti Winker says:

      Love galvanized! I have a square wash tub sitting on its side with a plant sitting inside. The tub has its ‘back’ to the sun hitting the deck. We live in Florida so it’s a great way to keep direct sun off plants when you need to.

    4. Jeanne Sammons says:

      Also a galvanized lover! Big tubs, watering cans & old buckets! Love ’em! My fav is my tipsy buckets w/watering can on top….but I also have a wash tub growing ‘Live Forever’ & some dianthsus…would like the Live Forever to take it over! Fun in the garden!

    5. Beth says:

      I can’t get enough galvanized, so I’m happy to hear that it is quite safe for planting in.

    6. Mary Bernhagen says:

      I have a couple of old galvanized calf feeders that I use to plant flowers in. Someone handpainted little flowers on them years ago. Love them!

    7. Josie Laine says:

      I just found an old mop bucket now I know how and what to plant in it I have an old leaky bird bath any ideas?

    8. Sheila says:

      I love galvanized watering cans….my husband says I have to many of them. I have a question…When planting flowers in them, do you fill the can with dirt or TRY and find a container to fit perfectly in the opening? I also have a big tub and would love to do something with it, but wasn’t sure about what…once again I wasn’t sure if I should fill it completely with soil or not. NOW I have wonderful pictures and ideas as to what to do with that tub! LOVE WATERING CANS!! Thank you in advance for any replies!