How To Make A Garden Tower From A Barrel- Step By Step Guide

Last Updated on January 23, 2022 by

Vertical gardening is an excellent way to save space and maximize your vegetable production. Read this article to learn how to make a garden tower from a barrel! We will give you a step-by-step guide to teach you all you need to know! 

Vertical gardening simply is when you grow your gardens upward rather than outward or horizontally. You can stack plants on top of each other. It is a great idea for those who have limited ground space.

One way to do vertical gardening is by making a garden tower from a barrel. A garden tower is basically a used barrel with holes cut out on the sides for the plants to grow out of. The inside of the barrel is filled with your growing medium.  

There are many different designs and ways how to make a garden tower from a barrel. We have selected the one that we think is the most efficient. Keep reading now to learn how to build it yourself!

Making A DIY Vertical Garden Barrel

The coolest part about making your own vertical garden barrel is that you can do it from repurposed materials. Upcycling is a great way to make innovative use of things that would otherwise enter the landfill.  

There are many different ways barrels are used. People often use barrels for liquid storage. They come in different sizes.  

For our design, we suggest going with a 55-gallon sized barrel. Make sure that you understand what the barrel was being used for before. As long as it was not used to store toxic chemicals, it will be safe to use for your garden project. 

Once you have located your barrel, clean it out. Make sure all debris from the inside is removed. This will give you a fresh start to build.  

This garden tower design is unique because it contains a worm compost tower that runs down the center of the barrel. You can add your organic waste directly to the tube where worms will break it down.  

This compost will directly fertilize your plants. Your soil surrounds the tower. The tower has small holes so worms can move freely in and out of the tower and into your garden.

Maybe you have heard, but worms are like gold for gardens! Worm manure, also known as vermicompost, is one of the best well-rounded fertilizers for a garden.  

In order to construct the worm tower, you can use any kind of pipe that is at least 4 inches in diameter.

vertical garden tower

Garden Barrel Template

Open the top of your barrel and glue your PVC pipe into place. The pipe needs to span from the bottom of the barrel to the top. So make sure it is long enough.  

Generally, you will need at least 50 inches of pipe length for a 55-gallon barrel. Drill ¼ inch holes along the sides of the pipe to allow for the worms to move in and out.

The pipe should be placed directly in the center of the barrel. Once that is secure, you can move to the next step which is making the plant pockets.

These pockets are where you will put seeds or plants. They need to run along the sides of the barrel. To make the pockets, simply cut slits out of the barrel.

Try to leave at least 4 inches of vertical and horizontal space between each hole. It is best that you measure and mark your holes prior to cutting. This will save you from mistakes in the future.  

The slits cannot be too short. The plants need room to grow. Cut them, so they are at least 6 inches in length.  

The best way to cut the holes is to start by drilling a hole in the pocket location. From there you can insert a knife to expand the opening.  

After all the pockets are made, it is time to install your drainage holes. Drainage is a crucial part of any garden. 

Pots that do not have drainage will cause the soil to become too moist. Plants cannot survive in extremely wet soils because the roots will begin to rot. This is why there is always a hole at the bottom of every garden pot.  

We will create drainage by simply drilling holes along the bottom of your barrel.

DIY Garden Tower Final Steps

Do not make your drainage holes too big or too small. If the holes are too big, the soil will spill out of the bottom. But, if they are too small, water may not be able to easily pass out the bottom.  

We recommend drilling ½ inch holes for your drainage. Make sure they span throughout the whole bottom of your barrel. If you want to be super sustainable, you can install a water catchment underneath the drainage to collect all the water runoff.

This water makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants! 

Once all of the above steps are done, you can add your growing medium. Make sure to use a nice soil mix with the sand, potting soil, and compost. The soil should be well-draining for best results.  

Fill in your soil mix all the way to the top of the barrel. You will see the soil through all the side pockets. Once your soil is filled you can plant seeds into the pockets directly.  

If you do not want to start from seed, you can transplant small plants into the pockets. Make sure to always check the growing requirements of the veggies that you want to grow. If your plants need full sun, be sure to place your barrel in the right location.  

You can raise your barrel up onto some cinder blocks to make sure it has adequate drainage. Now you know how to make a garden tower from a barrel. Hopefully, you can see it is super easy to construct and cheap.  

You do not need any extra tools aside from a drill and knife. Growing vertically is a great idea for those who have small spaces. Share your experiences, and feel free to comment and ask questions below!

Scroll to Top