Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How-to Make a Kiddie Pool Garden

Over the Labor Day weekend we labored. And, that's okay. JR and I like this kind of thing.

The weather around these parts has cooled down to the low 90s and the nighttime temps have dropped to the low 70s making it the perfect time to put in our Kiddie Pool gardens. This is an experiment for us but I think it will be well worth the time.

Let me show you what we did.

We started with those hard plastic kiddie pools. The ones we purchased were new but if you can score yourselves some used ones at yard sales that would be even better. Just try to be sure that the sides are in fairly good condition.

Drill drain holes.

After contemplating hole making devises we came up with our 1 inch hole drill bit as the best solution. We rooted around the garage to find our 1/2 inch impact drill. You could use whatever drill you have handy. Exacto knifes, crappy kitchens knives, and a screw drive and hammer were all contenders. Important note: when using the hole bit take out the plastic pool rounds about every other hole. Those things just melt making it hard to drill the next hole and they are hot so be careful.
Doesn't JR have the cutest knobby knees? And I'm digging those white socks.

Punch out plenty of holes.

We decided that about one hole per foot and a few in the middle would be enough to drain the soil. Or at least we hope so since it is too late now to do anything about it.

Line the inside with landscape fabric

We were setting our pools directly on the grass in our backyard so to ensure that the grass didn't grow up through the holes we lined the pools with landscape fabric.

Fill with dirt to within an inch of the top

Standing in front of the bags of dirt at our local DIY store deciding which one would be the best was the most daunting parts of the whole process.
The one with fertilizer or without fertilizer?
Garden soil or potting soil?
Moisture control or non-moisture control?
What's a kiddie pool gardener to do?
We went with a mix. 5 bags of garden soil topped with 2 bags of moisture control with fertilizer per pool. For our area we thought that was the best option. Also, less expensive than all moisture control. If we have to replace the soil ever we will have a couple of yards of soil delivered and buy a wheelbarrow because those bags can get pricey. Since, we have two growing seasons per year it shouldn't work out to be a bad investment.


This is my herb garden. I have basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, lavender, and a bunch of other stuff planted here. Some I already had, some I bought started and some I planted from seed. Give it a little time and the whole thing will be filled with yummy herbs.


Where you place your pools is pretty important. The herbs (top left) need full sun. The salad garden (bottom right, duh Michele) needs less sun. This pool only gets sun in the afternoon. If I had had a good spot that just got morning sun this one would have been set there.

Try to make sure your pool is level. It doesn't have to be dead-on the bubble but at least close. This is a pretty critical step. You don't want the water to puddle at one end or run off towards the low end taking all your nutrients and seeds with it.

The salad garden consists of tomatoes, carrots, peppers, lettuce, broccoli. I like lots of different types of lettuce so I planted a bunch. I bought some starts so I could have successive plantings.

I have one more to plant next weekend. That one will be our full-on veggie garden, beans, green onions, squash, peas, beets, etc

This little guy was my observer. We like him and all his little friends. They are nice enough to eat the bugs around our house.

I'll keep everyone posted about how this works for us. You know you want me to bore you with our garden progress.



  1. Very cool and funky, Michele. But I was more taken by the picture that showed JR's legs. Those are some sexy man-gams. Cheers!!

  2. I'm not sure where you can plant a garden this time of the year? I love this idea; this would work perfectly in my small yard. cool.

  3. I would totally do this if our back patio was big enough for a kiddie pool. I have to settle for one or two big pots instead :(

  4. Very nice! Next time, use a Spongebob pool. Drilling into Spongebob's face would be very satisfying..

  5. Very cool. I'm doing it soon too, I promise! Isn't it nice to be planting stuff when everyone up north has to start packing it up and heading inside for winter? That's the one plus of living in the south.

  6. Very cool idea. I got Big K to build me beautiful raised gardens. But, I wish I had seen your idea first. It would have saved me a week of begging him to get off his ass and build them. I could have done your idea myself!

    Eww!! Lizards! I would have run screaming if I'd seen him.

  7. Gosh! A fall garden. Sigh! I am so sad. Mine is coming to an end. But I like your ideas and will keep them for next spring.


  8. Alas, our growing season is also coming to an end.

    I never thought of using kiddie pools; I made Beloved dig me 8'x4' plots in the back yard. Let's just keep this little innovation of yours to ourselves, shall we?

  9. I am quite happy for you to bore me with the progress of your kiddie pool gardens.

  10. Aw, those are super cute! How long do you think they'll last?

    I hate that you're just planting, and I'm digging everything up...

  11. That is such a great idea! I'll be interested to know how it comes out. I think that's a great way to try out gardening without having to deal with tearing up the lawn.

  12. Found you from Vodka mom and had to comment on what a cool idea this is. I am taking notes and will be purchasing a few kiddie pools on clearance for this fantastic idea. But will have to wait till next year.
    Thanks Again!

  13. Clever herb garden. I'm impressed. And I'm the one you should be striving to impress. Every day. Go you. :)