Container Gardening with Corrugated Iron

Our office veggie garden is a trial garden of sorts so is always evolving and changing. We like to try things out, experiment with different veggies, gardening techniques and garden products like fertilisers and biological control agents like the new EcoBuz range. And when we recently decided to add some containers to our garden, we looked around for something fresh and new, that would complement the appearance of the garden and still be long lasting and practical.

While searching for something that would fit the bill we came across the beautiful ‘wriggly tin’ (what the Aussies call corrugated iron!) containers from RainQueen. These were exactly what we were after, and were duly ordered in various shapes and depths, delivered and installed.
Now they are looking spectacular, planted up with a variety of herbs and veggies, gleaming alongside our plants and actually working as pieces of hard landscaping features as well as growing areas. The units we installed are of different sizes, to fit in different spots and perform different functions.

We used two beautifully deep 1800mm x 800mm x 800mm oblong planters to frame the lower entrance to our garden, one on each side of the pathway. The 800mm depth of these planters is a double-edged sword – they are beautiful and make a strong statement in their own right, but they are cavernous and require huge amounts of soil to fill.

We got around this by using our plastic bottles and polystyrene waste here at the office as fillers at the bottom of the planters. This just saves the amount of money you need to spend on decent soil. We then filled them up with nice compost, added some slow-release organic fertiliser and some EcoBuz StartGro.

We’ve used these two containers as a ‘lunch larder’, planting them with Swiss chard, baby spinach and crisp lettuce, for everyone at the office to use for lunch or to take home. Somehow these high, wriggly containers have made a glamorous walkway with these ordinary leafy greens.

Then we made two groups of three differently sized round planters (750mm, 900mm and 1200mm, all 400mm deep) as a feature in the middle of an ‘island’ that we can walk around. These round planters were a great way to make square beds more interesting, and we surrounded them with gravel to keep them neat.

When we’d filled them with the same planting medium as the oblong ones, we planted them up with a mix of edible and ornamentals, some tall and some short, for a useful, easy-on-the-eyes feature. Things like borage added high and colour, while we used red sorrel and red lettuce for foliage colour (and flavour!), along with the odd herb (mint, thyme), filling in with leafy greens like bok choi, and a few varieties of lettuce and baby spinach, which is always a winner. Where there was still space, we popped in a few dianthus plants for more colour, and strawberries for their flowers (these ones have red flowers) and delicious fruit. It really is amazing just how much you can fit into round containers!

They’re looking fantastic, really lending themselves to mixed plantings or themed herbal plantings. They’re also a great size, easy enough to fill up but not needing constant attention to maintain. We’ve also got three really long, wide and A thoughtful touch is the rolled edges, making the containers safe and easy to work in. Wriggly tins can be used all over the garden, as shown here, filled with flowers. low oblong planters (3m x 1.2m x 400mm) that we ordered with a particular job in mind. We’re going to use them in a bed at the base of the concrete boundary wall, but we can’t do it yet because we’ve got potatoes growing there.

I was a bit worried about the edges of the iron planters, because we all know how sharp they can be, but RainQueen has negated this concern by rolling over the edges of the containers so that they’re totally safe. It also looks far more finished than raw iron would. Another feature is that the containers are painted on the inside with a waterproof paint, for protection from moisture and to prolong the lifespan of the planters.

The soil

We prepped the containers for planting with a whole lot of compost that we ordered in bulk and then added with some of our favourite soil-conditioning products: an organic slow-release fertiliser (in this case Atlantic Fertilisers Bio Ganic All-Purpose), EcoBuz StartGro and EcoBuz HumiGro. This will give the plants everything they need to flourish, as long as they are watered!

The Gardener