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October 28, 2009


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Any idea as to what kind of paint and what method was used to apply the paint to the troughs?

naomi goodman

I wouldn't recommend using these for food. I did some research last summer and came across several websites that say most feed troughs do not have protective coating over the metals to prevent chemicals used in the making of galvanized troughs from leaching into the soil. I would only use these for ornamentals.

Deborah Anderson

Uh-oh, it sounds like we will need to start over. We weren't really sure about whether to drill holes or not. Thanks for the info!

I will definitely send you a digital photo. And I can't wait to get my copy of your new book...it's en route from Amazon!

Deborah Anderson

valerie Easton

Hi Deborah, Love the thought of your dog curling up in a feed trough -it'd be fun if you could send me a digital image of that to post...

I'm afraid your husband is wrong about the troughs lasting longer if they aren't drilled. Even galvanized metal rusts out when water collects in the bottom. Also water will pool up where soil meets the gravel, and your plants roots will sit in water....they really need to have holes drilled in the bottom for health of your plants and longevity of the troughs....
Val Easton

Deborah Anderson

This year, for the first time, I planted strawberries, lettuce and carrots in galvanized feed troughs on my deck and I loved the results! (I got the idea from one of your columns). My husband wouldn't let me drill holes in the bottom though. He insisted that we line the bottom of the troughs with gravel to above the level of the drain. This we covered with landscape fabric, then soil. They seem to drain well and he thinks they will last longer. I've also been thinking of painting them, perhaps a rusty red color. Now that most of the veggies have been harvested, my dog likes to curl up in them! Apparently the soil is warm and cozy...

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New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.


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