Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Horse is a Horse of Course ...... But a Horse Trough is Perfect for a Vegetable Garden

No one can talk to a horse of course, but if one could go right to the source and ask the horse he'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.  Save your back when you build your next vegetable garden and get a horse trough.  Thanks Mr. Ed.

Looking back in my pictures, it was exactly three years ago this weekend, we had just completed our first raised vegetable garden.  I was just coming into appreciation the effort it takes to grow food...Super Size Me, My Way.  If you check out the original garden below, you'll witness how often I would have to squat or bend over to attend to my patch.

The squats and bending are all fine and dandy today, but what about as I grow older?  I don't want aches and pains to be an obstacle in doing something I love.  Thanks to a recent visit to a friend's home in Vallejo, she planted ideas in my head for ways to plan ahead.  Best start this project now while we're able to do hard labor. 

All those little red dots in the picture are cherry tomatoes.  Millions of them!  This trough idea is a producer.

You noticed I said "we" in the hard labor comment?  No way could this weekend warrior do a project of this scope by herself.  My knight in shining armor came to my aide.  He too was inspired.  While he loves the homegrown produce, he doesn't love the digging and bending required.  I had a willing participant.

First order of business, where to find a trough.  All the Googling in the world didn't land the obvious retailer except for Amazon.  I asked my girlfriend where she purchased hers; she drove to Petaluma.  Not a practical solution for this So Cal girl.  Giving it more thought, we remembered there's an equestrian center in Burbank.  Surely, there will be a feed store nearby that could give us direction.  Not only were they able to give us direction, they carried various sizes of troughs.  They probably thought there goes another set of yuppies using serious equestrian material for some grand gardening scheme.  So what if they did?

Having gotten over that hurdle, our next challenge was irrigation.  This last summer proved to me our lack of gardening success had everything do with our lack of available time to attend to the garden.  We needed to automate.  This is where my knight was truly amazing.  He tapped into our existing sprinkler system and created a separate line to our revamped vegetable garden.  But first we had to tear apart the old garden.

Another good reason to go to a trough system, pressure treated wood only lasts so long
Trenching for the new irrigation line.

A great find, a solar powered timer installed.  Everything tests out.

Determined to make the area look tidy with as little maintenance as possible, we laid out weed barrier fabric and topped with mulch.

With the area prepared, we were ready to install the troughs.  Because the troughs are enclosed, drainage needs to be created.  Here's where having the right tools makes the job all the easier.  John used a steel drill bit.  Holes created with ease.

Not wanting the feet of plants and soil to get water logged, we added drainage gravel.

So that the premium potting soil doesn't slip out through our drainage we just prepared, we added a layer of landscape fabric.  

Bags and bags of premium potting soil added.  Learning from my past successes and failures the quality of soil is everything.

Installing the drip lines up next.

My knight

Ready for planting now and all those future years ahead.

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