Friday, February 24, 2006

Spring Garden

A little while back I moved my laying hens out of my garden spot. I had a very small garden spot last year that mostly died of neglect.

Here’s the plan for this spring. Instead of fooling with vegetables for the kitchen I’m going to experiment with growing feed for the sheep. I bought some corn seed, an open pollinated variety called “Reid’s Yellow Dent”. I also bought some Cow Pea seeds.

Cow Peas, AKA “Southern Peas”, are sometimes raised for livestock feed in this area. In the past they were a staple. I choose them because they don’t need a lot of store bought chemical inputs, the better the soil the better they grow I’m told, but they tolerate just about everything, so they will likely deliver a tolerable yield no matter what the weather does.

I’ve been told this by more than one local over the age of 75. I like to listen to the old folks, they know stuff I’d never be able to guess, and there willing to share what they know.

Former chicken yard, future garden spot

Just as an experiment I intend to double crop the corn and peas, that is, put cornrows about 30 inches apart then put the peas right down the middle of the rows.

This is all going to be on a very small scale of course. If it shows promise I can plant more next year.

One of the reasons I am interested in these crops is that I think I can get the sheep to harvest them for me. The plan is to just let them dry in the field at the end of the growing season.

Next fall when it’s time to flush the ewes before turning the rams in I can rig some electric fencing to give them access to a small strip at a time. My guess is that they will clean it right up.

It will be time to plant here in the next few weeks.

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