Below is an excerpt from this past Monday’s consultation. Winter is a great time for consultations, to get you ready for what to do in the following year. It is also our most free time, so you are more likely to be able to schedule something with us now!
It was great to be at your place and feel your enthusiasm. I think you’re on the right track with rotational grazing of chickens, goats and hogs. Here is a few of our thoughts together.
Talk to the neighbor with the dozer. I’d like to see the fence line and privet cleaned up. A possible exception might be the East line towards the road, because it’s a wooden fence. Your perimeter fence could be 10′ inside it, giving you a strip of ungrazing land to plant your persimmons and other trees. Goats love trees.
Fence in anywhere that has the big rooted Johnson grass. It is hard to garden where it is. Find some rotted cow manure, from where a farmer has fed out hay, and get a few truckloads for your garden spot this fall. The whole farm could use lime, the co op will come with a 15 ton truck and spread it for you.
Don’t use wood chips until they blacked and crumble easily- otherwise they will rob nitrogen.
Consider the 3-dimensional deer fence, Premier fencing has a good article about it.
Talk to your neighbor with the Massy Ferguson tractor and get a commitment for bush hogging th whole place twice a year, along with what you need garden wise. Plant your rows far enough apart to get the tiller in between.
Talk to the NRCS about cross fencing and waterers. Get rotations going as soon as feasible. When goats have taken care of shrubs, get a few calves.
Buckwheat is good for bees, and can be broadcast and raked in a place that has had sufficient animal impact. It also acts as a nurse crop for clover. Clover can be a perennial, Ladino White and Kendall Red, or a biennial like Crimson Clover. Only use Crimson in a garden over winter as it dries out easily in May, after cutting and tilling. The others will come back so are used in pastures.
A survey of your wife’s coworkers might be useful. See what folks need. Look at ethnic groups for goat sales.
Try and clean the well. Good water is always a plus. Cut Poison Ivy vines and run hogs or goats in woods, but only for very short times. Your forest is pretty and doesn’t need lots of animals in it.
Hogs can make bad odors, so be aware of getting them too close to your home. Maybe they should stay by where we parked rather than on down the driveway.
Talk to the neighbor to the east about running livestock there. Offer something.
Please feel free to come visit, or ask any questions any time.
Thank you so much and good luck!