Friday, June 3, 2016

Farm Plan - Current Fodder Plan

Fodder crops are those destined to be fed to the livestock, but are not part of the grazing system. Traditionally that includes corn, other grains, green chop made into silage, fodder beets, etc. 

Since my farm scale is small, I don't grow large fields of fodder items. Most are tucked into my own food producing garden areas. New areas opened for gardens often grow a fodder crop or two before switching to something else. And veggie plants growing my own food are often used for fodder too. Examples:
...sweet potatoes. We eat the tuber, livestock eats the rest of the plant. beans. We eat the fresh beans, livestock gets the rest of the plant. 
The above photo shows an area I haven't had time to turn into a food garden yet. It gets about five hours of sunlight along the edge of the woods. Right now it's a perfect spot for fodder crops- beans, pumpkin, sweet potato. 
Bananas can be tucked in just about anywhere. I planted a few beside the house in a spot where we will be using to expand the bathroom and hot tub deck. So eventually the bananas will have to go. But for now they can produce fodder. 
Bananas also line the perimeter of the developing Secret Garden. Eventually more trees will be added in order to form a visual block for this side of the garden area. 
The driveway garden area just recently got cleared of ferns, so I immediately tucked in some fodder crops to take over while I gradually work to make this garden area. Beans. Taro. Sweet potatoes. Pipinolas. Okinawan Spinach. 
Why waste the space around the catchment tank? The pumpkins and sweet potatoes will make good fodder crops. 

But I do some have areas pretty much dedicated to fodder. Those areas are often too shady, too difficult to easily access, or too dry for veggie gardens. This includes areas transitioning from sunny grassy areas too shady woods, the entire Secret Garden, the dry river bed, and some wooded areas not yet transitioned into pasture. 
Plus the area between the boulevard the electrical shed wasn't getting used for anything. Now it grows fodder crops. (Pictured above) 

Currently my purposely planted fodder crops that are primarily grown for fodder include (we eat a little of some of them): 
Pumpkins / winter squash / gourds
Sugar Cane
Okinawan Spinach
Sweet Potatoes

A nice thing about fodder crops is that they don't take up my time. It's pretty much plant and walk away. I'm not relying upon high productivity so I'm happy with whatever happens to grow. If the beds gets weedy or filled with grass, I don't feel the last bit guilty about not getting to it. When I harvest the greenery, I can take grass, weeds, and all to offer to the livestock. 
The sweet potatoes I planted (above) were bordering a grassy area. With all the recent rains, the grass has gone crazy and invaded the sweets. No problem. I'll just harvest everything, cutting it right down to the ground for feeding to the rabbits. Then the sweet s will resort, letting me know where the tubers are located. I'll harvest them then turn over the soil, removing grass as I dig, and plant over again. 

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