Up until now all of the stock trough gardens I’ve seen utilize full on stock troughs like these…
The ones used are no different than the ones sold at stores that sell livestock products…for which they were originally intended. A BIG difference between purchasing a trough at an agricultural supply store and a garden centre is price. You will pay a lot more for your trough at a garden centre.
All that changed when I came across these “troughs” at a garden centre.
I’m not sure if these are new to the market or not. They were certainly new to me.
As you can see in the label shown below, these bottomless wonders are designed by Behlen Country, the same folks who make the bulk of stock troughs you find at feed stores (as you can tell by the note beneath their name on the mass produced label that reads “tighten plug before filling” despite these particular versions having no bottom in them. Or plug!), Obvioulsly, these are specifically designed for the botanical crowd and the growing trend towards using troughs for planters.
I’m not sure what to make of it. They weren’t much – if any – cheaper than their full bottomed versions. Or at least not at the centre I was at. In full disclosure the centre was very targeted towards the upscale garden crowd, so I am sure a person could still approach an ag centre about bringing them in on special order and get them much cheaper.
Having been raised in the country, I could never bring myself to “ruin” a perfectly good water trough by drilling drainage holes in the bottom. Who knows when I might decide to get a couple horses for they backyard instead of a garden, right? So instead I just remove the plug and add some drainage material to the bottom before topping up with soil.
Our summers are dry, so this has never been a problem for me, but for folks in places that get a lot of summer rain, forgoing the drilling for drainage would be a very bad idea. They would need to drill those holes in the bottom and the more the better.
If you’re going to “ruin” a perfectly good trough, you might as well buy one of these new fangled bottomless ones. The only drawback I can think of is they won’t stop weeds from coming up through the bottom as well as the full bottomed troughs.
That said, they would still be excellent for containing invasive perennials in flower beds and for making raised beds.