Reader Tips From Rural America: Mailbox Garden Storage

Readers' tips about mailbox garden storage, planters, squirrel deterrents, and much more.

article image
by Ryan Reed

Mailbox Garden Storage

rusty mailbox on fence post in garden

garden tools in rusty mailbox on fence post

We don’t have a garden shed, and so when I wanted to add a plant, tie up a plant, fix weed cloth, check soil, or do other tasks, I would have to walk clear up to our barn to grab a certain tool. After some frustration and brainstorming, I found an old mailbox in our barn that was only a little rusted. I caulked the inside seams for added waterproofing, mounted it to the top of my berry trellis inside the garden area, and stocked it with my handy garden tools. I now save myself the extra walk and frustration while keeping my tools out of the weather.

Ryan Reed
Cameron Mills, New York

Mineral Tub Planters

mineral tubs lined up as planters in garden

I enjoy reading tips from other gardeners about raised beds, so I want to share this one.
The empty plastic tubs that cattle mineral comes in make good planters. Farmers and ranchers often have a lot of them, and are usually willing to give them away. I use a drill with a large bit to make drainage holes around the tub sides, a couple of inches from the bottom. I put broken cement blocks, rocks, and broken flowerpots in the bottom. I use straw, hay, and horse manure for filler, and top it off with soil. When I see an earthworm, I’ll put it in a tub.
I figure the tubs will compost down and need to be added to from time to time, but I’m expecting them to last a while. Many of my wooden boxes are starting to rot, so I’m replacing them with tubs. I can no longer get down on my knees, but I don’t have to give up gardening now, as I can sit on my scooter to weed, plant, and harvest.

Donna Barleen

Squirrel Deterrent

illustration of an upside down bucket pinned to a bird feeder pole

I just received two copies of Grit. I didn’t order it, and I’ve never heard of it before. After reading to page 9, I was impressed with the contents. Enclosed is my drawing of a squirrel deterrent for bird feeders. I love my little feathered friends, and I’ll find any way to keep them coming to my feeders. Looks like a great magazine! Keep up the good work.

Monty Pollner
New Boston, Illinois

We’re introducing a new department that will feature tips from those living the rural life to its fullest — our readers! If you have garden, farm, or home advice you’d like to share, send an email to, or mail a letter to 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. We pay $25 for each tip we publish.

As we launch “Through the Grapevine,” we’re also saying goodbye to “Facts and Folklore.” We’re grateful to the Old Farmer’s Almanac for the many years of advice, astronomy, and important dates they’ve shared with us, and we wish them the best in the future.

Visit Grit and search “reader letters” to see what other members of the Grit community have been up to lately.