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Will Work for Food

May 24th, 2014

This is our second year raising pigs. One of the main reasons we got them last year is to put them to work. Our back garden was overgrown with tenacious weeds and pigs are one of the best ways to deal with issues like this.
back garden (1)
As you can see above, the pigs were put into a very weedy section of the garden. Below is what the garden looks like this year. The far right side was sod last spring. The pigs did such a great job rooting up and eating the vegetation that not very many weeds have grown back this year. Only a few perennial weeds and a few annuals weeds have sprouted. I’m pretty pleased with the results.
back garden (2)
Here’s another example of the back garden last year with pigs and what it looks like this spring.
pigs rooting
back garden
This year I’ll be putting in the pigs in the grassy area around the garden first, they should eat the vegetation and root it up. Later this summer I will mulch it heavily and hopefully next year we should be in business for planting hedges and perennials beds.
The best part is that they do all this while depositing their rich manure. The chickens come along behind them and work it in. I end up not having to do the work (except for moving fences) and I get ham and sausage out of the deal. I’m all for using animals to do chores so I don’t have to. I’m in the process of setting up a composting area in the chicken run so they can turn all my garden waste into compost for me.

What garden chores do you wish you could relegate.

4 Comments to “Will Work for Food”
  1. Nebraska Dave on May 24, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Susy, yes, indeed those pigs from last year were an experience, weren’t they. I’m sure by the end of this pig raising season these two pigs will have stories as well. Your garden area looks great after a year of plowing with pigs. I kind of like all aspects of gardening. Even the weeding has a therapeutic element to it. This year I’m focusing more on finishing the structure of the garden as well as growing vegetables. This year there are more experimental things in the garden than any other year. I certainly like to try new and different things. The neighbors at Terra Nova Gardens can certainly attest to that.

    The wild turkeys at Terra Nova Gardens certainly eliminate the bug population as I’ve never had a bug problem there. There are about 30 turkeys that scratch through the deep mulch and preen the garden on a daily basis. I am thankful for that but I am not thankful for the raccoons and deer that devastate the sweet corn at harvest time but then I’m working on that.

    Have a great plowing with pigs day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. daisy on May 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    What a fabulous arrangement!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  3. Ken Toney on May 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I’d love to hear about your experience in using the electric pig netting. Did you have to train them before feeling secure in leaving them behind it? Any problems with them rooting mud up on the fence and grounding it?

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

    • Susy on May 24, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      We use the electric fences made specifically for pigs from Premier1Supplies and it’s very good for pigs. Pigs are pretty easy to train to electric, make sure the fence is well charged and well grounded and we usually watch them for a few minutes. Once they get shocked once or twice they learn to stay away from the fence. Occasionally they root stuff up onto the fence, but the Premier fences are designed to minimize this. We usually put them in an escape proof pen for a few days before introducing them to the electric fence. We put the fence around their pen so they can see it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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