© Abaroth 2019. Permission is given to reproduce for non-profit purposes only.

Home   Historic Sites   Models   Heraldry   Puzzles    Garden   Links


Making a Watercress Bed from a Plastic Barrel

#1 Making the Trough

Click thumbnails for larger images


Materials & Tools

Plastic "Twin-Bung" Barrel

Euro-pallet or Timber

Tape Measure, Sharpie,

Screws, Screwdriver,

Saw, Sandpaper or File,

Drill, Drill bit, Countersink bit



Step 1

Mark a cutting line on the barrel. I originally had a different purpose in mind when I made this, so it may be easier to mark along the split-line and through the centres of the holes in the top.

Step 2

Cut the barrel in half - a wood saw works well.

Step 3

Clean off any swarf (jaggies) with sandpaper or a file.






No doubt you have noticed that you end up with two half-barrels - you can make two watercress beds, sell the other half-barrel to a plot neighbour, or make the same bed described here, then drill lots of drainage holes in the bottom of the barrel and fill it with compost as a raised planter.



I used a standard Euro-pallet for the timber parts

Step 4

Dismantle the pallet. 

Step 5

Cut the two thinner boards in half along their length. These will form a frame around the top of the barrel.



Step 6

Mark the depth of one of the thin lengths of pallet at each end, then drill pilot holes.  

Step 7

Drill pilot holes and screw one of the thin lengths of pallet to each side of the barrel. Mark and cut the pieces for the ends.



Step 8

Fit the end pieces and screw those to the barrel. 

Step 9

Insert the screws from the inside of the barrel into the wood. If desired, you could counter-sink the holes.

Step 10

Trim the ends of the side-pieces to length.


Example 1

The finished barrel.

#2 Making the Legs

Step 1

Cut an angle from the end of one of the wide boards. 

Step 2

Mark the same angle onto a second board, and cut. Repeat to create a total of four legs.

Step 3

Mark the same angle on the other end of the each board, and cut. Be sure the cuts at each end are parallel to one another, as shown.


Step 4

Set out two legs as shown ensuring the tops are in line using another length of timber.

Mark out the angle at either end of a cross-member on another board and make the cuts. Screw the the cross-member in place.
Lay the second pair of legs above the first and repeat the process.

Step 5

Drill pilot holes and screw from the inside of the barrel to secure the legs at each end. 

Step 6

Mark, cut and add an angled brace to one side of the legs. Set the higher end just below the barrel, and the low end below the cross braces on the legs. 

Step 7

Drill a hole to act as an overflow, and insert a piece of plastic pipe. 

Example 2

My bed is sited under the gutter of a lean-to at the side of my shed, to collect rainwater. 

Example 3

The overflow goes into a second barrel, so none of the water is wasted. 

#3 Floating Crates


Empty plastic water bottles
Cable ties
Empty mushroom crates

Step 1

Attach an empty plastic bottle to each end of a mushroom crate with cable ties. This will ensure the crate floats, keeping the watercress at an ideal level in the water.


Step 100000000


#4 Adding Watercress

Test 1

Some larger pieces of shop-bought watercress placed in a crate in my garden pond. (No fountain or filter.)



Test 2

The same crate after 6 days.

Test 3

It only took that long for the stems to sprout nice root systems.


Step 1

Purchase a bag of watercress.


Step 2

Pick out the larger stems and place them in the crates


Example 1

After a week some of these look to have roots, but I think the smaller volume of water is having an effect.


Example 2

After two weeks, several pieces definitely have roots, and one is in flower.




Home   Historic Sites   Models   Heraldry   Puzzles    Garden   Links

Contact me with suggestions, comments or questions.

free page counter