Friday, September 30, 2016

Winter Beets are in the ground - Milker area is resting - and we MADE lots of Dirt!

We managed to convert the milker barn area into a winter beet garden this week.  27 rows of about 25 yards each, planted with heirloom beets that grow to about 5 lbs each over the winter.

This also gives the ground behind the barn, where the milkers have lived for a couple years, a well deserved rest. There wont be any goats on this ground or in those barn stalls for at least 6 months. That rest, combined with the tilling and cleaning, will prevent a parasite overload that could come after constant use through multiple winters.

This ground, I must say, is absolutely AWESOME! I mean.. this plot is like intensive grazing on steroids! Taking measurements, the goats have produced an impressive 1 to 2 feet of .. dirt. Fresh, organic, fertile dirt.  yes, made.  that's the beautiful thing about mixing plants and animals the way nature intended... the animals consume the plants, and in turn make the best dirt possible, for even more plants to grow. It's a marvelous synergy that life on earth is based on.  This dirt looks just like what comes out of bags of premium top soil, rich, moist, plenty of variety and biological material. When I first tilled it, there were literally millions of earthworms.. the surface of the ground was .. moving, with a life of its own.

This is a great combinations, as the fertility of this soil is higher than any in the ground we manage, which means the later than desired planting date should be helped through fast growth in this soil.  At the same time, the ground can recover from intensive animal use, produce winter feed thats organic, heirloom, and so nutrient dense.

The other good news is, our drip planting system is paying off well. The conversion from goat stall to planted stand alone garden took about 8 hours.  Just clear, till, build headers to size (just screw together), drop seeds with our Hoss seeder, install water controller, and walk away.

The area is laid out as 3 sections of 9 rows, about 25 yards long. We left enough space for a road on the end to the right, and a run on the end by the barn.

You can see the controller, filter, and feed mounted to an old table. There are 3 controllers on the timer (one per section). 

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