View Full Version : Bird Baths/Fountains as growing containers

July 9th, 2006, 02:29 PM
I have been thinking about using concrete bird baths/fountains for growing some plants in so I have been thinking of ways to makes holes in them and what to cover the holes with so the soil does not drain out with the water. I have seen some bird baths that look like clam shells and are tiered on top of one another and was thinking these could be made so as to water from the top one and let the water drain into the next one etc. I am thinking about painting them on the outside and wondering what kind of paints should be used in the teiring type bird baths as they would be draining water into each other. I guess the bird baths/fountains would be consider a form of raised bed gardening. I have been thinking about what type of vegatables and/or fruits could be grown in them any ideals would be apprecatied.

Lavandula Girl
July 9th, 2006, 03:50 PM
I have no idea how to make holes in the concrete, but paint them with marine paint - our 4H kids paint old well heads on the local walkway, and that's what we use.

July 9th, 2006, 04:35 PM
Lavadula Girl thanks for the marine paint information I'll check it out.

I think we can work out the holes in the bird baths/fountains either in casting or after however not sure what to use to cover the holes (inside or out) to let the water drain out.

Also thinking of running some pvc pipe about 1/4 or 1/2 from the holes into the next shell like then from the next shell into the next shell etc. Would pvc pipe be safe for draing the water into the next container? And what to use to seal the pvc pipe that would be safe?

July 9th, 2006, 05:39 PM
I use landscaping fabric to cover to holes in the bottom of my pots. It has small holes to let the water drain but no soil gets out. You can buy a masonry drill bit in any hardware store or at Sears in the tool department the bits have carbide tips.

July 9th, 2006, 06:43 PM
Thanks wilderness1989 for the landscaping fabric information I'll check it out.

If I understand correctly the landscaping fabric is put in on the inside of the bath then the soil etc over it.

I am also thinking that if the bird baths get tall of planting something that would grow up around the concrete and keep it away from the container part of the bird bath. Thinking of blackberies and dewberries but then i think they might try and take over the bird baths. Any ideals for this would be appreciated.

July 12th, 2006, 07:04 AM
Pvc pipe should be safe for plants.

I'd use a small hole like 1/4 inch for such small containers, but I don't know if pvc pipe is made that small? Maybe you could cast them using plastic straws but they might collapse. They do make copper tubing that small.

You can rent a hammer drill and masonry bits (if the casting doesn't work out) much cheaper than buying them.

Try strawberries, tomatoes (Patio tomato or some other dwarf type,) any small plant. I think most brambles like dewberries are way too big for a birdbath. But I don't know how big a birdbath you're thinking of, either... Many small flowers would interplant nicely, as well as herbs.

July 12th, 2006, 11:50 AM
Johno has some good ideas.
My hubby just rented a masonry drill for 24 hours for 30 dollars.
You dont say how shallow or big your bird bath's or fountains are but if you stack them you could put some type of topiary Herb like a Rosemary or Thyme plant at the top and plant strawberries around it too cascade down and then continue the theme with more varieties of herbs underneath the next birdbath etc. I have a pot with a blueberry bush I trimmed as a standard in the middle and planted strawberries all around it too cascade down. I added a few nasturtiums for more color. If your fountains or birdbaths are too shallowfor a bluberry bush etc.. you could take a deeper pot that matches the color of your concrete fountains etc..and put it at the top center of your birdbath fountain planter etc.. and plant a bramble bush in that. Then plant the rest with herbs, flowers etc...Good luck and have fun!

July 12th, 2006, 06:06 PM
Johno thanks for the info.

MichiganderGardener I am looking to see how deep the bowl depths are for the different types - some of the shell looking ones look pretty deep.

ok - instead of trying to have the vines types grow up have them grow down - forming kinda a drape.

As for the depth of the bird baths / fountains would need to be in relation to the plants root depth - Is there a link that gives that kind of information so as I can plan out what kinds of bird baths / fountains I can use.

For example Baker Creek lists a carrot called little finger (I think) that grows about 3 inches I'm thinking this might be good for some area in the bird bath / fountain but Baker Creek's catalog did not say how deep they need to grow (and most catalogs do not list that info) . And Baker Creek lists a mini pumpkin Jack Be Little (I was thinking might grow down from the top teir of the bird bath / fountain but would need to be deep enough for the roots to stay planted) - So I need a reference guide to the depth of roots for the various vegetables and fruits.

And thinking about Mexican Sour Gherkins (got a pack from Baker Creek) as the fruit are only about one inch but again not sure how deep the roots need to grow

July 12th, 2006, 08:05 PM
Hey GTS;Here in Sunny CA.Mx.S.Gherkins grow into a huge plant.However it is Perennial and can cover a 6ft fence and spread 6-8 ft.And as far as Little Finger,the bulbous part of the root is 3in but the feeder roots grow 4-6 ft down into the soil.a easy way to look at this is to look at what is happening above the soil line and realize the same is happening below the surface as well.Of course there are exceptions,like corn that are shallow rooted.
So although the birdbath with plants is a great Idea and it still is with Herbs and or spreading Succulents.Either way it will still look Great.-

July 12th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Wow. I did not realize the plant got that large. Here in MO I am growing my gherkins in twelve inch containers for the first time this year. The plant is not large, but its yield is good. Just made pickles with them today. Next near I"ll plant them in the ground to see how much larger they grow.
I will say this, they are a very easy, tolerant plant to grow and the only insect visiting it is the bees.

July 12th, 2006, 10:36 PM
How about Thumbelina carrots.

July 12th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Do you think any of the types listed here might work
Baby/Miniature Vegetable List
Our Favorite Garden Vegetable Seeds for Growing in containers

July 13th, 2006, 09:01 AM
As for root depth requirements: Know anything about bonsai? The point is, Many plants will grow roots several feet deep under the right soil conditions, but under restriced conditions they grow fine, they just don't get as big. For the birdbath situation, I think in general anything over six inches deep is sufficient for most vegetables as long as you closely monitor the soil moisture. If the birdbath is shallower than that, I'd definitely recommend dwarf varieties. Thumbelina carrots will probably grow in about four inches of good, loose soil.

If you want something to cascade from the top, try any cherry tomato.

July 14th, 2006, 08:24 AM
johno I have seen pictures of bonsai thats about it.
I went to a bird bath / fountain maker and they have some that are 2 to 3 ft deep and 5 ft across. As for the 6 in deep I called the ag exstention office and the person their said the same and felt that the carrots and radishes would be fine and by experimenting with other vegetables I should fine some more. And most container types and like you said dwarf types.
Thanks for the cherry tomato cascading ideal

July 14th, 2006, 09:48 AM
2to 3 feet deep and 5 feet across will grow anything you want...