Monday, August 5:
After a wait of over a week finally we have had a long enough spell of dry weather to permit getting the tractor in the garden. The area previously in grain was thick with clover, and we had to plow and disc it, then run the rototiller through to break up the clods. Yes, we know we are destroying soil texture when we rototill, but right now we need mechanical means to cut through roots and let us get seed in the soil. We took out the Earthway seeder – an excellent invention, if somewhat underbuilt – and sowed everything to pintos, turnips, mangel wurzels (no kidding), and OP corn.
Yes, we know it’s late for some of these crops, IF you intend to harvest them for humans, but we have no such intention. These are our pig fodder crops, things we sow after the potato and corn harvests so that we can put the pigs into the garden in early winter to forage. Last year they reveled in corn stalks, late beans, turnips, sugar beets, and gone to seed lettuce right up through December, with just the occasional scoop of shell corn for a relish. By that time had they turned and manured the garden, including a section of sod we needed to break, eating everything they could find, and the ground was beginning to freeze solid. The pigs were still comfortable in their round-bale nests, and a submersible heater in their tank kept the pig nipple from freezing except on the coldest nights, but once the ground froze we brought them home where they were more convenient to feed.
Anything that reduces our dependency on purchased inputs is just what we want.