Sunflowers, Pumpkins, Compost


Pumpkins and Sunflowers

These sunflowers and pumpkins are thriving on top of our last year’s compost pile. They both love the high nutrient levels and moist soil found in the compost piles, old pig wallows and winter paddocks which we use as summer gardens to grow fall food for the animals. There are also volunteer tomatillo in among the giant pumpkins. We get a lot of volunteers out in the fields. Seeds the pigs have eaten and then spread around the pastures.

I want to grow a monster pumpkin. There is one very big one in there, a few hundred pounds, but far I do not think I have gotten one. Those are Atlantic Giant seeds. Interestingly, the one we have is already bigger than the one featured on the Wiki page. I would have thought they would show a true monster.

I also planted a Mammouth Russian Sunflowers which was a new variety for us. They are supposed to get up to 14′ but with our double dry spell they only got to about 10′.

I’ll keep trying. Next year I’ll plant earlier, plant every week and put out soaker hoses earlier. Putting out soaker hoses always makes it rain within a few days. Works like a charm.

Outdoors: 75°F/57°F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/66°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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6 Responses to Sunflowers, Pumpkins, Compost

  1. SoapBoxTech says:

    Sometimes it works too well. I watered a patch of garden one evening back in early June and it then rained an entire summer’s worth over about 3 days. And then again a few days later, and so on for around a month. Now I’m hesitant to touch a garden hose!

  2. Kevin says:

    Walter, I’ll try to bring some proven giant pumpkin seeds to your brother’s harvest festival. Lots of guys at work grow ~ 1000+ pounders.

  3. Skeptic7 says:

    How much time do you have to spend on gardening for the pigs? Do you have to dig the soil and plant in careful rows? Do you weed the garden during the growing season or spread mulch to discourage weeds?
    Do you have problems with pigs gorging themselves on pumpkins when you let them in the fields? How does growing other things than forage work for you? Is this like a people garden where you weed and water and harvest often, or is it more like growing a lawn?

    • Neither. We spend hardly any time gardening for the animals. The pigs till and fertilize the soil. The chickens smooth it out. We scatter seeds. Sometimes we do frost seeding, sometimes we do mob planting (using the animals to drive the seeds into the soil), sometimes we use rain seeding (rain drives the seeds into the soil). The plants grow. We don’t water most of the gardens. We don’t weed hardly at all. The pigs harvest.

      To control their rate of eating we simply move fences about, opening up sections. They don’t over eat things since they have a variety of feeds to choose from in the pastures. It is very easy. The trick is to pick the right species of vegetables that grow well in your climate with a minimum of effort producing a maximum of food. For us, corn is not so good – it is unreliable and our soils are not as rich or deep as corn likes. But pumpkins, beets, turnips, sunflowers, broccoli and many other things do great. For example, we grow those things in our winter paddocks. The pigs have pretty much eliminated the weeds in those areas so there isn’t much competition. Out in the fields we grow about 70 acres of kale, rape and other braccias along with lots of legumes like various clovers, alfalfa, etc.

      It isn’t like a gardener’s garden or a lawn but more like pasture or wild plantings.

      As an extra bonus, we get reseeding by the pigs (they eat seeds and poop them out) and from the plants.

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