Sunday, September 13, 2015

Piggie Tilling Update

My two piglets aren't all that big, but boy can they do a job on the soil and sod! In the foreground of the photo below it's easy to see how they've reduced thick, tall pasture grass into a grassless, rooted up patch of mud. Yes mud, because it's been raining some amount here just about every day for weeks. 

But I don't force the piggies to stay in mud. I've been moving the pen 3-4 feet every day so that they have half the pen mud-free. Of course it doesn't stay that way for too long. They chow down the grass then start rooting for worms. piggie snorkels in mom's slop & glop while they other prefers eating grass for lunch. Every time I feed the pigs, the banty hens come a'runnin. Chow time! 

Here's a better view on the pen. Half muddy grass stems, half fresh green grass. By tomorrow morning the muddy side will be rooted up and the green side will be reduced to muddy stems. Plus just to let you know, these two little four-footed rototillers get time to come out of their pen each afternoon for a running game of tag with Crusty. It's quite comical to see them playing with the farm dog. Hey, pigs are suppose to be afraid of dogs, but nobody told these two fellas about that. 

With all this rain, the pigs have been turning the ground to slick, pasty mud. Not ideal for gardening, to be sure. In fact, it's a disaster. 

Having the pigs root and trample the soil in the prolonged rain is causing compaction. It is resulting in soil that has similar properties to gley. The water fails to drain through it and just lies in puddles. With my particular soil, I know how to fix this. 

I will be planting taro into this wet gooy stuff, adding a layer of compost/horse manure, them covering it with a couple inches of mulch. I'll keep the mulch layer at about 2" deep by adding more grass clippings as needed. And when the taro is about 6 months along I'll give it a good dressing of rabbit manure. After the taro is harvested, I'll add some coral sand, biochar, and volcanic cinder and rototill that in. The soil will then be ready for veggie growing. No more waterlogging. 

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