Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reinforced, extra-shock fencing

Putting water in the piggy "spa"

Loading hay for vegetable mulch

The big project in the garden this week was to catch up on weeding and put down hay mulch around the potatoes and tomatoes. We still need to get around to the peppers. All these crops really appreciate the moderating effects of mulch. It will help hold moisture in, cut down on weeds, cool the soil temperature, and reduce pest pressure. Pests that particularly like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes-in particular the potato beetle, are unable to navigate the jungle created by mulch. They tend to get lost in the hay instead of finding the plant. Unfortunately the same is not true of pests for other plant families. Mulch around squashes is a bad idea because this provides the ideal habitat for squash bugs to wildly proliferate.

Flowers in the potato patch

This Monday and Tuesday we didn’t get to work in the garden quite as much as we had planned because we were busy with an experiment. We were testing the idea that our single electric line fences for pigs only work when the pigs are happy. It turns out that when the pigs decide that they are unsatisfied with what’s inside their fence they have no problem going through it! In the last 48 hours the pigs have more or less operated as if there were no fence-extremely exasperating (especially to the poor horse who is pretty sure that the pigs are after her when they get out!). Last night we were finally able to address some of the issues. Turns out the pigs were just plain hot. Who can blame them for being grumpy when it’s almost 90 and humid? So we ran water for a nice big wallow-they loved it! We also added some electric lines to their fence so it looks a little more intimidating. Today we will find out if our changes worked. Update: The pigs decided that the fence doesn’t apply to their situation right now. William added one more electric line to help prevent these particularly athletic pigs from sailing over the fence. They are staying put now. Thank goodness.

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