The whiskey barrel as a planter has been a tried and true method of achieving a prominent display for your garden. The size of these wooden planters makes them perfect for large shrubs or small trees, or even as an herb garden, ideal for outside the kitchen door. Further, these barrels last for years, even decades, before needing to be replaced.
Using whiskey barrels for gardening will recapture the rustic nostalgia of the past and create a captivating planter for your perennials, shrubs, trees, or herbs, which will be the talk of your neighborhood. You will need to decide whether to use a full-size whiskey barrel or a half-size barrel. If you decide on a half barrel, you will then need to decide whether you will use it standing upright, or put it on its side and have your flowers flowing out of it. Additionally, think about where you will put your barrel and ensure this is the correct spot, as once full, the barrel will be too heavy to move around the garden. Also, consider the size plants you will be using in the barrel. These containers have a lot of soil capacity for a much bigger plant.
Once you get your barrel home and decide what you will be planting in it, you will need a drill with a large bit to make drainage holes in the barrel. Drainage holes should be drilled into the sides of the barrel between the bottom two metal straps. Drill a minimum of 4 holes around the base of the barrel for either an upright planter or 4 holes on the side that will be lying on the ground for a planter lying on its side making it look like your flowers are pouring out of it. If you drill the drainage holes in the bottom of the barrel, you will not have proper drainage, especially during a prolonged period of rain, as the weight of the barrel after dirt, fertilizer, and water will weigh the barrel down, which will not allow it to drain at all.
For the best results, use a growing mixture of soil, like peat moss, as it has been sterilized ensuring it will not have bugs. Furthermore, this type of soil will ensure you do not have weed seeds. A growing mixture of soil is very absorbent, which allows for a bigger root system for your plant to grow. Once the soil is in the barrel, add a good 8 to 9 month soil fertilizer, rather than a 3 to 4 month fertilizer such as Miracle Gro. Otherwise, if you plant your barrel in April, the fertilizer will run out in June. Use a pot, such as a hanging pot you have, to make a mark big enough for the plant root ball, in the middle of the dirt. Then, if using an existing plant, using your hands, carefully take the plant out of its pot, and put it in the hole made with the other pot.
When your plants are in the barrel, water them, using about 5 gallons for a full sized barrel, with about 5 Tbsp of a good plant fertilizer like Miracle Gro. If you are using a half sized barrel, use about 2 ½ gallons of water, and 2 ½ Tbsp of fertilizer.
Hint: If you want to double the number of blossoms, double up on the fertilizer. Example: If it calls for 1 Tbsp per gallon of water, then use 2 Tbsp. Then, stand back and watch them grow!
Add any type of garden décor, such as garden gnomes, or a garden stake to set off your planter. By following these instructions, you should be able to get your plants through to September and they will be spectacular, making you the envy of all your neighbors!