Squash Trio Sprouting

Sprouting Squashes

It’s that time of year. I realize that many of you already have your gardens in the ground but not long ago we had snow fall. So I’ve been waiting for our soil temperatures to rise enough to begin planting. We’ve been getting a nice mix of rain, sun and warm temperatures so now is the time to get seed in the ground.

I got the Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as Sunchokes, in the ground a couple of weeks ago. Some of those are planted where the pigs will be able to feed on them, and spread them, in the fall. Others are planted in reserve areas where the pigs can’t get to so as to produce more tubers we can dig to plant in new spaces.

Most of our seed is simply dropped by the plants in the field and grows there. Some gets moved by the livestock when they eat it and poop it out somewhere else in their nice riche manure.

Other seed I have saved – now I sort out my envelopes and jars. Our bought spring seed arrived last week so today Will worked on setting up mixing barrels the field seeds including grasses, millets, legumes, brassicas and beets ready to do the mixes that I had determined we would need for each of the many fields. Depending in part on when they’ll be grazed and soils they get somewhat different mixes.

Meanwhile Hope and Ben helped me plant lots of pumpkins, sunflowers, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, marigolds, day lilies and hollyhocks.

We still have a couple of acres of pumpkins to plant plus a lot more sunflowers and other things. Pumpkins, sunflowers, mangels, beets, turnips and brassicas are good foods we can easily grow in our climate. All this will make good eating for the livestock in the fall and winter.

Outdoors: 57°F/42°F 1″ Rain, Mostly Overcast, Some Sun, Misty
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F

Daily Spark: “Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations.” -Willie Nelson, Vounder, Farm Aid

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Squash Trio Sprouting

  1. Johan van der Merwe says:

    Hi Walter
    Do you cover the seeds with soil or compost after sowing them? We are also starting with pigs, about 30, in camps. They have eaten al the grass and I moved them into the orchard to clean the grass and manure the soil.Saves me from cutting it with the bushcutter. We stay in South Africa, very hot summers and dry. I am reading as much as I can to see what we can plant here for the pigs to get all their food from grasing. We do give milk and buy 18% protein feedstuff but is expensive. I want to change the feeding only to grasing and milk. I am thinking of prickly pears and Japanese Radish. Your article on the new milk container is also what I need to do here. These buckets are getting heavy and the hogs bigger:-)
    Thank you for all the info.
    Regards Johan

    • With large seed such as sunflowers, pumpkins, squash and such we hand drill the seed into the ground. One of us pokes a hole and someone following sticks a seed in and pressed down the hole.

      With small seed we just broadcast. Think grass, brassica, legumes, etc. I like to do it from my hand, I cover a swath of about 60′ wide pretty evenly just hand broadcasting. Our sons Will and Ben like to use a spinning hand seeder which covers a swath of about 20′ wide very evenly. To get soil contact and coverage we use mob seeding, storm seeding and frost seeding. Today we’re seeding about 40 acres using the rain storm that is going on. Rain when it’s not snowing that is. It snowed for several hours today. Fortunately the ground is now warm enough that it just melts on contact. Seed I broadcast earlier this week in a previous rain is already sprouting.

  2. phil says:

    hey walter. sorry, but before i get committed to anything im trying to gather as much info as i can, and im having a very hard time finding the info.

    youve said that youve used 1000 gallon tanks before. how long did the water last in the tanks untill the pigs cant drink it? when does water become stagnant and is this dangerous to the pigs? is the water worse in the tank or on the ground not being circulated. i need as much information about this as possible. please. thank you for your help. how long did your water stay good in your big tanks and how did you keep it good? give me everything you got. please!

    • We have three 1,000 gallon tanks as well as some smaller tanks and 65 gallon drums which we use for whey. Sometimes we keep water in these tanks. The longest we’ve ever kept water static in a tank might be a week or two, normally there is exchange, water being used and new water being added. The water has never gone bad or stagnant. Part of that may be climatic – we’re in a cool environment. Part may simply be we’ve never had water static in a tank for long enough to go bad.

  3. Cary says:

    I noticed you plant Mangels. I always figured they’d be perfect pig food. You might want to also check out Tiger Nuts, they are also called Chufa Nuts. In the south they plant them for deer. They should grow fine in the north but they won’t over winter and the frost will kill them. They are considered like a ground chestnut. In the south they can be invasive but like I said frozen ground will kill them. The fact they use them for game fodder means you can get 50lb bags for a good price. They are also used for human food but not so much in this country. They grow like potatoes or peanuts in a cluster around the roots. Pigs love digging for them. Just another cheap fodder crop that will give the pigs something to do. I even considered Parsnips as fodder because they can survive freezing ground. Isolate a patch and let them winter over so the pigs have something to dig up once the ground thaws.

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