Sunday, April 11, 2010

Horse Troughs and Sky High Veggies

 Sun Stars shine happily in a sunny window, waiting for the a-okay to go outdoors.

The wind blows hard, sending wispy clouds sprinting across the sky. A big storm is tormenting California, heading this way. I pray it is much ado about nothing. Hope the storm pummels the high Sierras and runs out of steam long before it reaches my short, squat Wasatch Mountains.

Happy Tulips keep me company indoors during this very trying month.

April is a teasing month. Warm sunshine, frisky ponies, tiny green sprouts peek up through the mud, declaring a change of season. Nurseries are loaded with brightly blooming flowers. Inspiring near constant repetition of the mountain spring mantra: "Watch and wait."

In April, I'm allowed to visit the local nursery every day if I'm so inclined. While I'm there, I can admire, drool, dream, plan. But, I cannot buy. Still too cold for planting.


This sunny deck, even in winter, gets so warm plants can sit outdoors in the afternoons. It's the sight of my latest big idea: a high in the sky container veggie garden.

This is the month I do the icky stuff. Like beg the local horse stables to bring me a truckload of that oh, so, fabulous free fertilizer. Bribe 'em a bit so they'll spread it around and save me some backbreaking labor.

Paint the troughs. Prepare the soil. Whoa. Paint the troughs?

Oh, yeah! On a visit to the stables, I came up with a big idea. I spotted a few horse troughs, removed from service because they leak. Six feet long, three feet deep... it took me 0.25 seconds to exclaim:  Hey!

Since my planting containers need good drainage, this is picture perfect re-purposing. The old horse troughs will make a delightful container garden on my 2nd story deck - south facing, hot as all get out. AKA Hell's Patio.

√ Cool, mountain nights can mess with tender veggies. We mountain gardeners can improve the odds by growing veggies in deck containers ~ container soils stay warmer, encouraging a better harvest.


* Oh! And, as long as I'm yakking about veggies... please promise you won't fall for the latest Miracle Gro t.v. commercial claiming it's quite all right to use their chemical fertilizers in your veggie garden. IMHO it is not quite all right to poison anyone. Especially yourself. Miracle Gro, and other chemical fertilizers, are banned from certified organic gardening. But, then, you already knew that, didn't you?

24 comments:

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wow, you have got quite the awesome view! I'm not familiar with sun stars, but love them. I'm a sucker for orange plants. (And chocolate. But we're not talking about that right now.)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Oh, forgot to mention the leaking troughs are genius. I have a leaking watering can, but I use it for decoration. Would make a good planter, too.

Kate said...

Hi, Monica!
Do you grow Chocolate Flowers? I can't live without 'em! And, thanks for this... I'm really liking the idea of horse trough planters since they're so deep. I could grow just about anything in them!

Di said...

Kate, beautiful mountain range and quite lovely to see the tulips amidst the cold and snow. Our seedlings have grown leaps and bounds over the past week. Spring is here! Happy planting, soon. ;)

Melanie said...

I love your view off your deck. I sure it will be a great place for your container vegetable garden. Those heirloom daffodils look wonderful, do they have a scent ?

Noelle said...

Hello Kate,

The mountains by your home are just beautiful with snow. But, I expect you are anxious for the snow to disappear so gardening can really begin. I love the idea of container gardening with leaky horse troughs.

Christine B. said...

Troughs are tres chic! I haven't been able to gratify my trough longings in my current tiny (and over designed) yard, but my next place will definitely have a trough or ten. As for April being a tease in Utah, she's flat out in a coma here in Alaska. May is our tease month.

Christine B.

Kate said...

Hi, Di;
Your post was quite inspiring this morning. I've got lots of little flowers percolating indoors, waiting to go into the soil. And, I'm very impatient to start playing in the mud!

Kate said...

Hey, Melanie;
I'm totally sold on those heirloom Daffies. They're expensive but they multiply so quickly they're worth the money. :))

Kate said...

Oh, yes, Noelle; Spring can't come soon enough!

Kate said...

LOL Christine! You always crack me up. I think my horse troughs will be pretty once I do the fancy paint job. :)

joey said...

Oh my, Kate, what a stunning view ... I'm in awe. But I can imagine, enough snow is enough! It won't be long now ... patience is a virtue (ya, easy for me to say)! But enjoy the down time ... now that spring has truly sprung, I could spend every waking hour working in the garden and still not be done.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Kate. Those troughs will be the best garden containers. Your tulips are so pretty even with that old snowy background which I have to admit is also very pretty on the mountains. yeah, as long as it is on your mountains. LOL!I am awful. I hope the storm wears out before it gets to you too.
Lona

sweet bay said...

I agree with Monica, the leaking water troughs are genius. The view of the tulips against the snowy mountain range is both surreal and very beautiful.

Kate said...

Thx, Joey!
Well, the good news is... the snow on those mountains is no indication of planting season for me. It stays white until July but I already a few brave souls (bulbs) peeking up through mud and offering a flower, or two. I'm glad we connected on FB!

Kate said...

Hi, Lona;
The white in the meadow has nearly melted in the last 2 days. Now it's a lake! :)) Can't win. But it is brightening my spirits as I can see green er.. brown all over the place. Won't be long now!

Kate said...

Sweet Bay -- I am giggling as I type this. When I visited you earlier today and saw all the gorgeous flowers and summer-like weather I thought to myself... Hmmm... I've gotta stop visiting this gal. She's making me miserable!! I'm joking, of course. Well, sort of. :D

Friko said...

I'm off to the nursery this week for the first time this year, mainly to window-shop (outdoors and in poly-tunnels). Too many of my plants and shrubs have died in the last, excessively cold, winter and I need ideas.

I have been studying the books, the catalogues, the advertisements in the trade magazines; everything is NEW, NEW, NEW and try me and buy me. No proper trials for a lot of the stuff yet. So, do I go and replace the old friends who have died or start afresh?

Gail said...

That sounds like a good plan~~I bought a similar new stock tank and can't decide to plant it or make a water garden out of it! Once those holes go in there's no turning back!

I didn't know that about the darker pots~~

Your view is spectacular~~

gail

Johnny Nutcase said...

that view from the porch..awesome! wow! sounds like some good veggies to look forward to! (that cartoon is funny!)

Kate said...

Hi, Friko;
That happened to me, here, too. I typically have 6 feet of snow in the yard, which serves as a nice warm blanket for tender perennials. This year, no snow, freezing temps and lots of dead plants. I think I might try a 50-50 approach of old and new. Some of the newbies are pretty enticing. :)

Kate said...

Ooooh, Gail! Now you're talkin' :) I would love to have some water up on that deck, as well. I may have to snitch a non-leaky tub from the stables!!!

Kate said...

Thx, Johnny;
It is a nice view but here's the rub -- it is so hot out there in the summer that we never use it. Instead, we sit on the shady side of the house, with no mountains. :( I've threatened, for years, to put up canopy of sorts but never get around to it. Too many other projects ahead on that never ending list!

Brad said...

I really like those sun stars. A beautiful shade of orange. I've never seen them before.