Wicking tubs are a great way to garden when you are renting. You can set the garden up cheaply and easily. Then, when you have to move you can take your garden with you! These even work for fruit trees just plan to have help when it is time to move things. You know these tubs are going to be heavy!
You can use any food safe container that doesn’t have drainage holes. You need to make sure it will be big enough for the plants you want to grow in it. You will be able to find guides for that online. Personally, I like to use livestock mineral tubs as I can get them for $2 empty from my local feed store.
If you are growing small plants, Even a used yogurt container will work. You do want decent depth because that is what will hold the water reservoir. The water reservoir is what will cause the needed wicking action. Meaning, it keeps your plants watered for far longer than a normal container will.
You may think you need fancy pads to create wicking action, or to add bulky items to the bottom. Actually, you can do it much easier in my opinion with sand. These tubs are not big enough to have to worry about dead zones. If you are doing a wicking bed, things are different but for these tubs all you need is a layer of sand as deep as you want your wicking layer to be.
Make sure you leave plenty of room above for root growth. Sand, is made of large particles that will leave a lot of room for air and water in your reservoir. So, drill a hole at the level you want your reservoir to go up to. If you want, you can use food safe silicon caulk to put a small piece of weed barrier or plastic screen here to keep all your potting soil and sand in. Doing so also allows you to make a bigger drainage hole which is good because you do not want it getting clogged. This is where any overflow of water will get out preventing your plants from getting too much water.
Next, fill your container with sand to the level of the drainage hole. Finally, you add your potting mix of choice and voila! You have wicking tubs ready for action. These work wonderfully for everything from flowers to tomatoes. I have used them for fruit trees, and my personal favorite of strawberries!
Just because you are a renter, doesn’t mean you cannot have a gorgeous garden. These will be heavy so if you are unable to move them yourself make sure to arrange for help in advance. I have used this method to save my family hundreds on food bills.