bunk or bunk feeder– a long trough for feeding cattle or horses
New Definition: Useful raw material for making raised planters.
You can find a variety of heavy-duty bunk feeders for horses at your local farm supply store. These come 5 and 10 foot long versions so you should be able to find a length that will work for you. They are strong and relatively light weight so you can transport them in your van or pickup with no problem.
The design features that make them good horse feeders also make them perfect for your planting needs. Smooth edges for the safety of your horse. One-piece 10" deep poly trough with rounded inside edges and smooth bottom for easy clean-out of feed. Sturdy galvanized support structure can be moved easily and does not sink into the ground.
They are easily modified to make them into efficient planters with a water reservoir and proper drainage. They have a few small holes in the bottom, but you will need to drill larger holes about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the trough to get the drainage you need.
You install a reservoir for water by filling the bottom of these planters with gravel up to the level of the holes you have drilled and then place a layer of landscape cloth or cardboard over the gravel. Then you put in your potting soil either homemade or store bought and you are ready to plant.
The planters shown above were constructed by Dottie Kirkland and her husband and you can see them at several stages of use. She is using them as a temporary garden bed while they are renovating the house they will eventually move into.
This is the bunk feeder I am going to convert into a planter for use on my back deck.I feel it is a definite upgrade to the Square Foot Gardening arrangement that I am currently using which you can see in the foreground.
The bunk feeder is better looking and easier to work on. It is more durable than the plastic crates I am presently using and the overall effect is much more civilized. The cost of the horse bunk feeders in our area are $85 for the five foot version and $115 for the 10 foot version. I wanted the ten foot version but do not have enough room on the deck right now. Perhaps next year I will convert all of the existing plastic crates to these ten foot horse bunk feeder/planters.
For those who wonder why I am just planting now, we are up on a plateau which has colder weather than much of the surrounding countryside. In Roanoke, only thirty five miles away, our daughter is already harvesting vegetables in great quantities while local gardens are barely sprouting in some cases. We may have a short summer, but we hope to make the most of it.
Here is a close up view of the feeder before any conversion work is done.