Compost Pile Turnip

Super Sized Turnip

The above super sized turnip was much larger than your ordinary turnip because it was growing in the compost pile. We grow a lot of turnips, beets, pumpkins, kale, rape, sunflowers and other things out in the fields for the livestock. Rather than carefully tilling, raking, seeding and weeding we simply scatter the seeds for most of the plants and then they grow among the field forages.

The pigs tend to eat the leaves in the warm months, leaving some and the plants keep growing. This creates a regrowth as the pigs rotate out of the pasture and it rests. Thus the root crop forages are much like grasses and clovers in this respect – eat the tops in the summer, save the roots for the cold season. Then in the fall and winter they eat down the stalks (e.g., broccoli, rape, kale, etc) and finally the tubers. I suspect that after the frost the tubers may become sweeter. Additionally there is less delectable leafy forages so the pigs are hungrier and willing to eat further down the menu. Thus the tubers make good fall and winter food, keeping well past the change of the season.

The winter paddocks are particularly rich in nutrients and make excellent places to grow fall forages. This in turn uses the nutrients from the previous winter. Gradually the soil improves from our poor thin mountain soil to rich garden dirt.

Outdoors: 73°F/50°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/66°F

Daily Spark: Research shows that people have a happiness level that they’re stuck with. Recent genetic research suggests that the gene for happiness helps women more than men. With a lot of hard work I still believe you can change that however my work with breeding animals suggests the researchers on human happiness got this right. Happy ones are born. We even have a sow named Happy because she’s, well, happy! She is Speckle’s twin sister. I hope that he passed his happy gene on to his hundreds of offspring. Perhaps in time we can breed for happier and happier pigs. Despite the genetics, you can however take a happy person and make them miserable with only a little effort. So be nice.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Compost Pile Turnip

  1. Cheryl Z says:

    Oh, I can’t wait until we have enough land to let our pigs forage like that. I’m glad to hear that you don’t till, etc., since I’m not a good high-maintenance gardener. The thought of just throwing out the seeds and let those come up that come up is very attractive. Around our little place lamb’s quarter has had two good years. It’s nice that it turns out to be good for the goats and pigs. Free and drought tolerant :) We snap off the top, and it grows back. I wish it all grew that easily.

    • DrFood says:

      Cheryl, the lambs quarters are good for people to eat as well. They make a terrific omelet and can be used in place of spinach in recipes. I even blanch it and freeze it in the spring when it is young and tender (and all over the place) to use in my winter omelets and such.

  2. Stephen Clarke says:

    In the UK we call that a Swede! Like a turnip but sweeter and the flesh goes yellow when boiled.

  3. Charles says:

    Stephen, the picture above is indeed a turnip. What you call a swede in the UK is known as a rutabaga here in the U.S.

  4. Susan Lea says:

    I’ll have to try your seed-scattering method because cattle like turnips and beets, too.

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