Horse Bunk Feeders make ideal raised Garden Planters

Definition:  Feed
or bunk feeder– a long trough for feeding cattle or horses

   New Definition: Useful raw material for making raised planters.

Feed Bunk Planter 1

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.

Feed Bunk planter 3

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.

Feed Bunk Planter 1A
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.

Feed Bunk Planter 001

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0 Responses to Horse Bunk Feeders make ideal raised Garden Planters

  1. Flowers says:

    Nice blog. Being a great lover of garden art, I enjoyed going through your blog. keep on posting.

  2. shalymere says:

    Great post on how to raised an ideal garden.

  3. C. Larson says:

    what is the purpose of the reservoir in the bottom? I can understand putting in some rocks, but not sure about that weed barrier.thanks!

  4. The reservoir stabilizes the moisture level in the planter. It holds many gallons of water and lengthens the time between watering. The reservoir cannot be overfilled as there are drain holes about two inches above the bottom of the trough and the excess water drains out through these holes.

    The landscape cloth keeps roots from growing down into the reservoir and clogging it up.

  5. Beverly says:

    Love this idea and they are of such a large capacity. I was looking at exactly what you have today at a Tractor Supply Company branch store in the parking lot! (they were closed this afternoon???).
    You can also get the plastic trough part (bunk liner) without the stand. Considering using the 10 foot ones to set directly on the gravel/rock bordering each side of a condo walkway entrance. I am hoping that mixing in vinca vines planted in the trough would soften the borders of the plastic for such a setting or perhaps can get handy and fashion a purely decorative 10 or 11 inch high perimeter frame – ideas anyone?
    Didn’t have my tape measure with me at the store and wondered if you know the width of your trough, outer lip to outer lip? Seemed close to 30 inches.
    Thanks so much for posting this.

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