Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Winter Pig Food

Posted by Rosie

Way back in late March I had the idea (probably pinched from some-one else on the internet) to try and grow some winter crops to feed the pigs. The pen where Boris resides is plenty big enough for him and which-ever lady he has "visiting" so it could be divided it into two, giving a large, well manured area for growing crops.  The local agricultural merchants sells large boxes of various seeds including maize, green manures and sugar beet so I bought a box of sugar beet and Simon set to dividing Boris' pen into two and turning over the already rather dry soil with the digger.  The digger cannot give a fine tilth necessary for seed sowing and as the weather continued to be dry and hot we were left with a dug-over field of steadily hardening lumps of soil.  Enter the old noisy rotovator and farewell to the biggest lumps.  This left us with an area of dust dry soil and small hard lumps and no way was any seed going to germinate there.  
Firkin and the pumpkin crop 2010
In the meantime I planted all my left over seed potatoes in holes I soaked with water and sowed all my remaining pumpkin seeds with a view to planting them out later.  March had become April and rapidly turned into May.  No rain.  Then last week we finally got the rain we so desperately needed.  Simon quickly re-rotovated the soil to give a fine tilth whilst I planted out the pumpkins.  Then, in time honoured pre-agricultural revolution style, I wandered up and down scattering the seeds as evenly as I could.  I felt I should really have  been wearing a long frock and apron not jeans and a sweatshirt and my seeds should have been in a lovely wicker basket, not a plastic yoghurt pot but I did feel a certain affinity for generations of people before me who would have sown crops like this for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Now it is just a waiting game, hoping we continue to get enough rain for these crops to give us a sufficient harvest for the pigs to justify the work involved. And to be honest, the spuds there are doing better than the ones in my veg patch at the moment. And it is raining again :-)


  1. That was my plan for the coming winter too, but the seeds we have sown have landed on dry barren soil and have yet to germinate, only today we had rain, after weeks of baking sunshine ...but it was horizontal driving it's most likely washed them all away!!

    Oh well it was a good idea while it lasted!

    Sue xx

  2. We were lucky in that when the rain came it was heavy drizzle that really soaked in well - the packet of sugar beet said I could plant up to the end of June so I'm glad I waited. Grass seeding out the front is next. Hopefully some of yours will germinate.


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