Pig Pen Overhaul

After butchering the pigs a month late, the large enclosure which held them through the summer is in need of some restoration. I spent yesterday hand tilling, raking, and seeding the bare spots within the paddock.

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In the wetter, shaded places I planted chicory as a forage crop for the goats. Along the sun patches where I know a lot of pasture grass grew, I planted winter rye. It’s a little late in the season for seeding, but the weather has been so warm, I thought I’d risk it to get something in the ground. Organic straw has been placed over much of the muddy surface to protect against erosion in the coming wet months.

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I left some paths clear, along with a few tilled up and seeded areas as study patches to see how the straw works and what happens when you don’t mulch in this environment. The pasture slopes to the south, gaining in steepness on the way down. You can still see grassy areas within the enclosure, demonstrating that the pigs had plenty of rooting space, preventing the complete desolation of the landscape.

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In the picture above, you can see the smaller focused plantings I did in places where smaller disturbances happened. In these seeded bowls, I put the chicory, and plan on adding more forage mix in the spring. This pasture will be used sparingly next year, depending on recovery. If the cover crops are well established, goats can go in. If the landscape is still bare in places, it will continue to rest, allowing the coverings to establish more fully.

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This pasture will slowly morph into an herb and native plants area. The southern side of the paddock is also the start of my stream buffer zone. I have enough fencing and posts from this pen to complete the buffer on this side of the stream if I want to. For now, the enclosure will stay to protect the emerging new species I will work to establish in this field.

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