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Whiskey Barrel Container Garden

Whiskey Barrel Container Garden, Mix Vegetable and Flowers in the Same ContainerWe had one nice 80 degree day and I got the bug to do a little planting, very little planting as you will see. I knew I had to be realistic because it’s a possibility we could still have frost around here, we’re at risk until the beginning of June. So keeping that in mind I grabbed 4 Cherry Tomato plants and a few marigolds at our local hardware. Right outside my kitchen door I have two whiskey barrels on each side of the deck that I normally fill with annual flowers. This year I decided to be practical and put the containers to use for part of our summer food supply. Since my herb garden is located just steps from the planters I thought cherry tomatoes would work best, I could grab a handful and pop them into my mouth every time I went by.

Cherry Tomato Container GardenThere was already dirt in the planters so all I had to do was give it a good raking to turn the soil over before plating, and later in the season I will splash on a little fish emulsion for fertilizer. That stuff really stinks but it sure does the job. While at the hardware I thought to myself I can still have pretty flowers in the planter as well as tomato plants so I chose a companion flower to the tomato and we all know what that is…Marigolds. There certainly not my favorite flower but they will help keep the bugs off that plants, and give the barrel a little color while I wait for the tomato plant to mature.

Whiskey Barrel Container Garden, Cherry Tomato Plant and MarigoldsI told myself this was all the planting I could do until the last week of may, I sure hate to go to all that work only for the frost to get it all. With the barrels being right outside my door I can cover them at night if need be with a sheet. I know so many of you are already gardening and seeing fruit and veggies but here in Michigan planting times not until late May or early June. I decided to mix veggies into my flower gardens this year. I don’t think it will look as pretty but I am attempting to do whatever I have to keep the deer from eating everything. I have tried several methods over the last 5 years and the only thing that works for me is plating it close to the house. I don’t want the expense of fencing it in, and around here the deer just jump the fence anyway. 

Whiskey Barrel Planted with Cherry Tomatoes and MarigoldsSo by mixing veggies with flowers I hope to get the best of both worlds. I can still enjoy all the pretty blooms as well as partake in all the fresh veggies. I can’t wait to get a few more things in the ground as soon as we are free from the frosty nights. Does anyone else mix veggies and flowers all in the same bed, if so tell me how it works for you?




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  1. Dawn,
    This is great. I love the idea of mixing the veggies and flowers. What a sweet container idea for planting them too.
    I got a lot of my garden flowers in yesterday. My back and legs are letting me know today how much I planted. It is so great to see the summer garden starting to come to life after our long and harsh winter. The rains are here today so that will help with all I planted. Hope your Mom’s Day was a good one.

    1. Kris, I can’t believe you are done planting. We are still in danger of frost here so I am going to hold off a while longer. I be you are hurting that’s a lot of work. Thundering today so I know we will get a little rain. I had a great Mother’s Day, my kids are the best.

  2. I’m moving to Michigan!! I’m dieing to do some planting but won’t be able until we’re settled in our new home in MI hopefully no later than mid-June. I had no idea you were in Michigan, all this time I for some reason thought you were in Colorado. I have no idea why. Anyway, I’m certain your flowers and Cherry Tomatoes will do well in your whiskey barrel but please do keep us posted. By the way where did you get your barrels, I’m dieing to get one. Thanks! -Bev

    1. Bev, Where in Michigan are you moving to? I purchased my barrels at Menards (home improvement store) they were $29 with a $20 rebate so I snatched up 2 of them. I will surly keep posting their progress.

      1. Dawn, we’re moving to Manistee, above Ludington and below Traverse City. We should be closing on May 30th. I’m so ready to unpack and grow some flowers!! Yes, I saw a Menards I believe around Grand Rapids so I’ll make sure to keep my eyes open. Are they made durable and strong? Thanks again and perhaps we’ll see you around 🙂

        1. Bev, I know the area well we are snowmobilers and have been all over those parts. We also have family near Traverse City 🙂 You will be just in time for planting season and yes the barrels are very sturdy and heavy. I have to roll them to move them. Would love to see you next time I make the trip to Traverse.

  3. I love your whiskey barrel – we’re trying to get our hands on an old oak wine cask.

    I hope you spring weather settles in soon so you can grow your veggies.

    1. Carol, Ohhh a wine cask sounds wonderful”) We are back in the 50’s here so I won’t be doing any new planting for a while.

  4. We also have a lot of deer around our house, and planting is challenging… I try to keep my favorite plants growing in the backyard, where the deer don’t go (because of the dogs) but do like the front yard to look nice too. For the plants our front I’ve found that “Deer Stopper” spray works well. It smells a little nasty (I wouldn’t spray it on veggies!) but it keeps the deer off the plants and doesn’t harm the environment. I don’t know if it’s available in Michigan (I’m in Colorado) but it might be worth a try. 🙂

    Happy Gardening!

    1. Maura, I will have to look for “Deer Stopper”. I love to watch them, but hate them eating my garden after so much hard work.

  5. I live in Montana so your post on winter lasting so long and spring being sluggish about coming really hit home. We haven’t even got leaves on our bushes or trees yet…but the buds are swelling so hopefully soon. We have not had a 80 degree day yet but like you mid 70’s are plenty warm enough. We never plant anything in the ground until the first of June…and then always have blankets and towels handy to throw over the young plants. We always get a frost early in July (and have even had measurable snow over the 4th several times) All the blogs that already have flowers and even vegetables always make me envious…but I wouldn’t live anywhere else on earth!!!!

    1. Dixie, Wow frost in July, I think our latest frost has been June. I didn’t realize your growing season was late like ours. I have been covering my plants at night with drop cloths to keep the frost off. I want to get my herbs in the ground tomorrow and pray the raised bed is close enough to the cabin to keep the frost off them. I’m with you, I love the state I live in and wouldn’t want to be any other place. Certainly not a tropical state.

  6. Grrr, A blog is had by me on my website and it sucks.
    I actually
    removed it, but may have to bring it back. You
    gave me inspiration!
    Keep on writing!

  7. Where did you get the barrel liners?

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