Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And there in the wood.... Musings on piglets and pumpkins.


They're arriving today. Three little pigs.

Last spring we had a tractor come. We needed to get some ground prepared in a hurry for our potatoes. In the confined space we had, the giant wheels of the machine made huge, compacted ditches where nothing will grow. It pulled the clay subsoil to the surface, and generally made a mess At $100 it seemed like a good idea, to save our backs and have the tractor guy do the work, but we were left a little unhappy.

The big machine drove all the way from Margate just to till our plot. It probably did more harm than good for our ground, and we still needed an afternoon of rotary hoeing and a whole day barrowing compost and shovelling and raking the ground into beds. Not really labour saving, ruinous for our soil and big contribution to the greenhouse effect.

So enter the pigs.

Pigs love to dig. I've visited the incredible Agrarian Kitchen and found a lot of inspiration. No treated timber in the garden, minimal soil disturbance, and minimal use of machinery. To start a new plot where a paddock has been they employ pigs rather than tractors. So we're taking tentative steps down that path today.
We had roaring success with a small, no-dig plot of unusual pumpkins and squash last summer, and these beautiful veggies sit patiently on the lounge room floor all winter until we're ready to eat them. So despite harvesting 100kg from a 15m2 area, we have been selfishly hoarding them to eat ourselves (winter is long, and they are delicious!).

We've fenced off a small area where the runoff from the garden travels down a slight slope to a mini wetland where it is filtered by rushes before flowing back to our dam for re-use. To maximise the efficiency of water use, we thought we'd start our porkers there now, then fill the ground they cultivate with pumpkins and squash this summer. We may just grow enough to share without the need to irrigate another plot. While the pumpkins grow the pigs will be moved up the hill to prepare more ground. For fruit trees, broad beans, potatoes....more beautiful food!

From left to right: Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash, Tuffy Acorn Squash and Delicata Squash.
Seedlings of all of these, and more, will be available from us in October, and squash should start appearing
on our stall in February, although they taste better the longer they are stored.
And next winter we'll be able to enjoy some ham with our pumpkins. And share some of this deliciousness with you.

I'll post some pictures of our little piggies tonight when they arrive, I can't wait!


  1. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yay for le Piggehs!

  2. Those pigs are going to eat amazingly well!

  3. Wow, how very exciting! I hope the pigs are going well. I've read a bit about using pigs to break ground for new gardens and it seems a sensible way to go.

    Good luck!