Everyone has heard that old saying: you can lead a horse to the watering hole, and if it doesn’t drink, make a planter out of it.
But if you choose to jump on one of the hottest trends in the country, you can make your own jokes on an old caballo.
At the store, these containers have names such as storage tank, feeder, waterer and, my choice, the horse waterer.
If you do some trough gardening research online, you will find that this trend is blazing across the country. When I was younger I had a nice Grumman canoe. I know Grumman had a big presence in the aviation and shipbuilding industry, and if they’re still in business, I’d say to them: throw some dazzling waterers for all of us gardeners. The word on the street is that these are getting hard to find.
First of all, know that there is a trough that will allow you to grow just about anything you want to grow. You could have an exotic water feature, a flower garden, or several for a luxury raised vegetable patch. The 36-inch tall containers are ideal for those who use wheelchairs and power assistance or find it difficult to bend over. In other words, these can become vegetable or flower gardens for all levels.
You will find lots of instructions on how to set one up. Without disparaging any of the suggestions, I’ll just tell you how it’s done in my town, by my son James. The oldest troughs in Columbus, Georgia are about 10 years old and beautifully retain their integrity. After all, they are galvanized steel.
These were originally attached to piano-type wooden carts with wheels or casters. These deteriorated over time, and the containers are now moved by the muscle as necessary. Some of the new containers in other places have wheels; Others don’t.
The containers are filled to a third of aged pine bark or even composted, the potting soil constituting the rest. The containers have drainage plug holes, resembling those you might see on a cooler.
These containers have a dual purpose of serving as a barrier to prevent vehicle encroachment. You will however see on the internet that they have become works of art by many home gardeners.
In Columbus, they’re slated for a cool planting season from fall through April and an overhaul of the warm season from late April through early October. In a commercial setting, they are first planted with a controlled release fertilizer, then watered as needed from a 250 gallon tank with a water soluble fertilizer diluted over the seasons.
If you are looking for a new gardening adventure, you might just want to consider a trough. You may find that you have an award winning green thumb.
Norman Winter is a horticulturalist, garden speaker and author of “Robust flowers for the South“and”Captivating combinations: color and style in the garden. “Follow him on Facebook: @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.