After much conversation on "where in the yard" we should move the fodder growing operation we decided that inside was really the only place with a consistently lower temperature. Homer brought me home a huge (like 8-ft tall) gardening rack. We initially assembled it with the racks tilting so six flats would fit.
We quickly discovered that the metal around the edge caught the water. It ran everywhere it wasn't supposed to.
This morning Emily and I changed the racks to slant front to back. If you ever want to teach two people patience and how to work together without losing it this is the project. We only yelled at each other once today. Yesterday was a whole different story.
With this system I only place three flats so they are in the middle of the rack without anything to impede water flow. My husband tells me he can get me another rack (repurposing "junk") so I'll be able to grow the 6-a-day that I want to.
This is this morning the beginning of day 6 (5 days of growth). I had to take the four that are growing out of the house because they are in the wrong flats with holes all over. I'll water today and probably feed tomorrow. It's about 3-inches right now.
Q & A:
Mama Bean wondered where I learned this stuff. I actually tried it a couple of years ago at my husband's suggestion. (I gave up rather quickly). There are all sizes of pretty expensive systems that you can buy to do this at your own farm. If you google fodder growing you'll find all kinds of commercial operations. He learned about this because they have a system set-up where he works at Chena Hot Springs to feed their horses, goats and pigs. If I can do this year round I will save enormous amounts of money.
Jean wondered about growing other things. Yes, I could, but barley grows very quickly and the seed is much cheaper. I will go from start to finish in seven days. On the 7th day the barley could be up to 6-inches tall. The barley also makes a thick root mat. It will peel right out in one piece and the animals will eat the whole thing.
Aunt Sandy asked about our costs. A 50-lb bag of barley is $9 (might be 9-something.... my husband picked it up). The seed we buy is "local" from Delta which is 100 miles from here. I get it at the feed store, but will save a few dollars a bag once we drive down and get a trailer full. At his work they buy these huge containers of it even cheaper, but I would never be able to lift that. My chicken feed is also made in Delta so shipping from the Lower 48 doesn't factor into the price. There is cheaper feed at Wal*Mart that is shipped up in trucks, but it is too high in copper. We tried it a few years ago and the copper literally made our Sheep go crazy and become aggressive.
The fodder along with hay would have everyone covered. Hay kills us.... $16-something for a 50-lb bale. I believe we can get it for half that if we drive down to Delta. Big round bales are even cheaper, but I have no where to store that amount. We are going to have to make time to take a road trip one day soon. The feed store is frequently out as they were this week and so are we. (I think the feed store actually gets their hay from Washington and Canada which accounts for the high costs).