Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Horse Garden

While planting our garden, I decided to plant some carrots for the horses.  The carrots are doing lousy, by the way, but my carrot idea grew.  You see, I was telling my friend that I must be more horse crazy than I thought because I'd just planted food in my garden for my horses.  Specifically for my horses.  Yep, I'm definitely losing it.

But then I read an article that lettuce is okay for horse to have, too!  I'd already planted lettuce for me, but it wasn't going to be enough to share with the horses, so my brain made another big jump and said, "well, why don't you just plant a garden for the horses, in their pen, that they can graze on?"  And then the other half of my brain said, "That's a GREAT idea!".

So I dialed up Deejo, who provided me with the pallet collars for the human garden and told him I needed more because I was going to plant a garden for the horses.  Luckily, having the Bionic Cowgirl for a mother has rendered him immune to crazy horse ideas.  He didn't even sigh very heavily when I told him what I needed the collars for.

He turned up at the house with the most amazing planting boxes.  I thought the pallet collars were cool, but these were even better!

I didn't have nearly enough left over soil, so I headed to Home Depot to get more.  I picked up some sand for drainage and more soil and as I was standing there at the checkout line, there was a bag of grow anywhere grass seed!  In an instant, my whole plan changed from a lettuce bed to boxes of grass!  If I could get grass established, I wouldn't have to replant every year!  Trust me, I was feeling really brilliant at this point.

A couple of weekends ago, Jay and I had time to work on house projects and I was determined to get the horse garden in.  He set to work on making picnic benches and I started the garden.

I drilled random holes in the bottom for drainage (and only broke two drill bits)

Then I put down weed barrier to keep the sand from falling out.
It went pretty smoothly for the most part.  I got the boxes prepped and then had Jay help me lift them over the fence into the pen so I could start filling them.

Random sand for drainage

Then soil and grass seed
I knew that the horses, Skeeter especially, wouldn't leave it alone, so I bought some chicken netting.  I really wanted the 1cm x 1 cm wire mesh, but couldn't find it anywhere at Home Depot - I was stuck with the chicken netting.

I used a million staples to attach the netting and chased the horses away from their garden two million times.

You can see how well chasing them away worked.

They finally lost interest in the garden and I breathed a sigh of relief.  But it was short-lived.  The next morning, I found they'd "helped" me by removing the netting.

No more chicken netting
They very helpfully rearranged the dirt as well
I smoothed out the dirt, watered it, yelled at the horses, and then laughed at all of us.  They were having so much fun digging in their garden with their noses, I couldn't actually be mad at them for very long.  Skeeter had dirt up her nose and Copper had it in his hooves.  They were very happy with the sandbox I made for them to play in.

Each day for a week, I went out with the rake and smoothed out the soil.  I even watered it a couple of times, because I was still determined to get a damn garden for them.  Just as I was about to fall asleep one night, I thought to use my Google-fu to find the wire mesh I wanted.  Google assured me that Home Depot sold just what I was looking for, but I had been looking for it in the wrong department.

The next free day we had, Jay and I went to spend our Jax gift certificates at the farm and ranch store.  While we were there, Jay looked at me and said, "this is a farm store, I bet they have what you're looking for!"  By jove, he was right!

I was a happy, happy girl.

Last Saturday, while Jay was at work, my sister Nebalee came over to help me with the horse garden.  I could have done it alone, but it's more fun with help.  The horses had pushed a lot of the soil out of the boxes, so I picked up a couple more bags of soil and another bag of grass seed and we started again.

Apparently, Mr. Nebalee doesn't allow her to play with the power tools.

I was surprised to find that despite all of the horses' play time with the dirt, the seeds had sprouted!  There were tons of roots growing in the rearranged mounds of soil.  That grow anywhere stuff, really is grow anywhere!

It's not quite been a week since we put the wire mesh over the top, and we've had to add another piece of wood to help anchor the mesh, but the garden is still intact and (here's the best part!) grass is growing!!!!

Real grass!

That you can see and everything!


Allenspark Lodge said...

So for the price of a half ton of hay, they will get no real nutrition, but HOURS/DAYS of entertainment. That is actually genius.


GunDiva said...

Yeah, it's something like that. I think my little "project" has run about $50, about 9-10 bales at 40#/bale, so more like a quarter of a ton of hay. Would have been more, but I used last year's (or two years ago) Jax GC to buy the mesh. Thank God Deejo gave me the boxes.

Rachel said...

Love Beel's comment, ha!

I can tell you... my parents' horse DESTROYED the garden they had worked all year on... all in about 20 minutes of a break-in. I sure hope your horsies let yours last longer :)

AWESOME planting boxes. Truly.

Shirley said...

Great idea! If you keep the mesh on and let the grass grow up through it, they will spend hours "grazing" !

Momma Fargo said...

Well, if all else fails, it is pure entertainment for me and your horses. I like the wire mess idea because when they eat the grass, it will leave the roots and enough to grow new. However, I imagine continual haircuts until they break in again. And the smell! I bet they are going to go nuts. A real treat! Great job!

GunDiva said...

So far, so good. More grass is sprouting and with the new round bale we just put out, they're not showing a lot of interest in their future lawn.