Why are there 20 bathtubs in a Rutherford County family's yard?

Why are there 20 bathtubs in a Rutherford County family's yard?
(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)
(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A viewer sent WBTV a photo of what appears to be almost 20 bathtubs with vegetables growing in them. The only information the photo came with was, "On the side of Highway 221 South in Rutherford County."

We had to go investigate.

It wasn't hard tracking the house down, and sure enough in the yard were bathtubs - with vegetables growing in them.

We spent much of the day in the driveway of the Forest City home, waiting for an owner to show up. When she finally did, the bathtub story got even more interesting.

Deb Wampler absolutely didn't want to be on camera, although she was more than happy to share the secret of the bathtubs in her yard. The idea originally came from her mother-in-law.

"I never did understand how it got started, but she started gardening in the tubs so she didn't have to bend over so far and didn't have to deal with all those weeds," Wampler said.

Over the years, she and her husband, Steve, have added onto a single bathtub and formed what's almost a work of art in their yard.

"People bring them to us, or we find them out somewhere and buy them," Deb said.

The rusty tubs hold squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, and whatever else the couple has a mind to try in their unusual garden beds.

All of it is free of weeds and growing quite nicely... or at least growing better than you might imagine vegetables would grow in a bathtub, if you've ever imagined such a thing.

The viewer who sent the photo suggested there must surely be a story behind the bathtubs. Sure enough, we found one when we finally convinced Wampler to go on camera.

There is a great story in the bathtubs, and in the woman who tends them.

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