[permaculture] PIGS AT WORK
cory8570 at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 11 00:57:08 EDT 2011
We set up a pig tractor this summer at Pine Ridge reservation, and it worked great. The pig ate all the weeds except vervain, tilled the soil, and replanted squash seeds and curly dock for us - when we noticed that, we started feeding her stuff we wanted planted and that worked pretty good too. We planted cover crops where she dug, and that worked good too, tho it started getting too hot and dry, and with no irrigation, the pioneers we didn't want (like goathead) were coming back in so we moved her back to a permanent pen. But I would do that again in an instant to clear a field rather than manually doing it. She worked really fast too - in only a few days, her pen area would be cleared. We were using her to clear a fairly large space for a food forest, but only got a small portion of it done. What I will do next spring if we still have access to her is put some composted manure and straw in the pen, let her dig that in while she eats the weeds (she
doesn't leave enough manure herself in the few days it takes her to eat stuff, though there is some), then plant cover crop and nitro fixers as soon as we move her. It would be a relatively labor free way of turning the compacted clay pioneer soil into food forest material...
From: Robyn Francis <robyn at permaculture.com.au>
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 5:56 PM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] PIGS AT WORK
Just posted this article & photo journal on my website which some of you
might find interesting...
Pigs are amazing biological ploughs their snout is exceptionally strong
and designed for excavating the earth in search of tasty morsels buried
underground, especially tubers and roots, and also fungi and insects. In
Permaculture there is frequent reference to use of pigs as tractoring
animals and I¹ve always been intrigued as to how effective they would be.
In 2006 I was gifted a pair of 4-month-old piglets for Djanbung Gardens,
supposedly miniature, though now fully grown are about half the size of
commercial or large pig breeds. The pigs, named Polly and Pudge, were
initially kept in a mobile pen (made from 6 old metal bed bases) to get to
know them and their behavioural patterns to inform the design of an
appropriate system to integrate them into the scheme of the gardens.
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