This is my plan: I’m trying to build up organic matter on my vegetable growing land by dumping any compostable materials (food waste, yard waste, manure, sawdust, straw bedding, wood chips) right out on the field and letting it compost in place. I will rotate pigs through the plot and let chickens free run at the same time. I will leave the animals out on the plot throughout the summer and move them into a hoophouse for the winter where they do the same thing. The pigs and chickens will mix and aerate the compost and eat whatever they can from the food waste and chickens can eat any bugs that are attracted to the compost. I hope to build up about 20 cm of compost mulch. After letting the land sit through the winter I plan to plant veg and move the whole composting procedure to the next plot. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Otoh, Salatin has quite the established system wintering chickens, rabbits and pigs together in high tunnels, then planting those tunnels once the critters move out for the summer. No question but rooting pigs create quite the disturbance.
Thanks for the tips.
That's really interesting about using pigs to make ponds!
I'm thinking the compaction would only happen if the pigs were directly on the dirt and it was kept quite wet. My plan is to add enough carbon materials like sawdust or wood chips so the pigs wouldn't be directly packing the soil. I've been testing this for a while now just in a small area and the pigs don't seem to root very deep once all the weeds are gone. As long as there is about 6 inches of sawdust on top of the soil the pigs just stay on top and eat the food scraps. It's actually the chickens that do most of the mixing work by scratching and dust bathing. This idea actually was inspired by Joel Salatin's model. I was at his field day this summer and learned all sorts of amazing things. It also borrows ideas from the Back to Eden Film and Charles Dowdings No-dig gardening as well as Geoff Lawton's chicken tractor on steroids http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/64322-chicken-tractor-on-steroids and Ben Falks idea of feeding chickens without grain http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/59960-feed-chickens-without-grain . The main purpose is to grow vegetables in a no till system without spending too much on trucking in expensive compost or all the money, work and time involved with mixing, processing and hauling compost; and get breakfast as an added bonus. I could also charge a dumping fee for people to bring their waste, the local green waste depot charges about $60 per tonne.
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