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What to coat steel barrels with that is safe for planting

 
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So, 40 years ago my dad bought these 2 barns that were being torn down. After selling enough of the 2x4 at a dollar each to pay for both barns, building a 2500 square foot house and 5 barns we still have about 100 2x12s left. We also picked up other stuff around those 2 barns. The farm they came from was the first fully automatic pig farm. They had these rain gutter like affair that ran to all the pens with a hole that dropped the feed into each pen. There was a flat chain that was pulled through the trough to move to feed along. And at the end of each row was a steel drum where the feed was mixed.

Over the years I have used the tar out of those steel drums. I used them to feed the horses hay. When we moved I found I could put them in the penski truck and fill them, then cover with plywood and stack on top to get more in.

But now I want to use them for raised garden beds. They are 2.5 feet tall and 4 foot diameter. They are steel and rusty so I need to coat them with something to keep them from rusting any further. They are about 90 years old. What is safe for coating them that won't leach into my food. Thanks
 
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There are epoxy paints that will stop the corrosion, but I have no idea if they are non-toxic after curing.

I wonder if a liner using several layers of landscape fabric might be helpful. This is often used in wooden raised beds. The fabric drains water away and dries out quickly, reducing deterioration.  
 
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I would try heating the metal and spraying it down with vegetable oil.
The idea is to polymerize the oil onto the metal.
They do this with the inside of smokers and with black iron cookware, but I don't know if it would work on rusty surfaces.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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William Bronson wrote:I would try heating the metal and spraying it down with vegetable oil.
The idea is to polymerize the oil onto the metal.
They do this with the inside of smokers and with black iron cookware, but I don't know if it would work on rusty surfaces.


Now that is an interesting approach! Hmm...
 
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Por-15

https://por15.com/

I can't vouch for it as non-toxic but it really works, and I recommend further investigation before using it to grow food.

I used it to coat the steel I welded together to make my own solar panel frame(to mount them and be able to tilt them)

And to coat a truck rack I made to haul tepee poles with.


Point of it was to keep the steel from rusting.

I'm not sure I'd grow food in a container coated with it, but fr other purposes people should know about it.


Also you can add other coatings on top of it.

Maybe just let the barrels degrade and grow potatoes in them nd let them rust?

I had a bonehead co-worker at a mechanic shop that used to add the tillings from the brake turning machine(brake lathe) to his potato plots.

LOL.

There's safety kleen and brake fluid and who knows what in the bin of a brake lathe(the machine we used to turn drums and rotors)

But he used it because we washed the drums and rotors with hot water after we de-slimed them before we put them on the lathe.

LOL.

He said taters love Iron.

And A steel barrel that was intended for AGRICULTURE, shouldn't have those chemicals in it. Should be safe.

Pop rivet some chicken wire if you have gaping holes?


Maybe just wrap it in ckicken wire, screw or poprivet that tight so it holds the form together, and let it keep rusting until it's useless?


(If empty you could put the chicken wire inside and out.

But alass those products may have dangerous metals in them.

I got dishydroti exzema last time I used bailing wire withot wearing gloves.....My hands had a flaking skin rash)

(Nickel is a suspect metal)

Maybe just use them to hold firewood?




 
Saralee Couchoud
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Thank you all for your suggestions. It is appreciated
 
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