Saturday, November 1, 2008

feeding our own

back in may and august, i wrote about how we were going to attempt to grow some crops for the goats, sheep, turkeys and chickens this winter. today, i checked on my crops and wanted to report on my observances.

crops were planted at the end of august this year. i should have started a bit earlier i think, maybe 1 month earlier. also, i need to find a better seed supplier. the local place i ordered from (3 orders this year) were less than impressive in customer service, delivery and performance. strike 3, you're out!

the wwoofers planted the seeds and i'm a bit confused as to how they planted some of them. i'm hoping they planted them out correctly...

anyway, here's what was planted, how much and how it is doing:
chard 9 rows (8' x 19') there are about 6 plants total growing now
cabbage 4 rows (12' x 57') doing so/so...about 1/4 - 1/3 is growing
beets 3 rows (3' x 54') crop failure 1 plant
parsnips 7 rows {7' x 30') crop failure about 3 plants growing
kohlrabi 10 rows (7' x 30') so/so...about 1/4 is growing
rutabagas 5 rows (7' x 30') excellent success full plot
kale 8 rows (7' X 30') so/so about 1/4 - 1/2 is growing
spinach 5' x 10' bed complete failure
radishes 5' x 10' bed excellent success full plot and these suckers are HUGE
carrots 9 rows (5' x 30') excellent...my best crop yet
tyfon volunteers, not sure how big an area as they are wide spread excellent

so far, i've harvested some of the rutabagas. we are going to eat them for dinner tonight. the goats enjoyed the tops but didn't touch the roots.

sunchokes will be part of the fodder this winter. they grow abundantly in our garden and we never eat even a 1/4 of the patch.

the sunflowers did ok. i hung them to dry and the birds robbed them. i should have put them in paper bags.

we also had a lot of milo self feed in the garden (from the goat bedding). since it is hard for me to kill off any useful plant, i let them grow as a quasy feed experiment. today, i cut off a bunch of the tops and tossed them to the goats. they loved them. i'll cut the rest and store them in a feed bag for this winter or perhaps save them and sow a field next spring. i'm thinking it might be something to sow in an 'undesireable' area and then in the winter, tether some goats out there to eat it up. i'm going to feed them some stalks tomorrow and see if they would like that part too.

anyone else have any luck with crop growing for animal feed this year?

5 comments:

Mon said...

It all sounds like it's growing just great and the goats have some gourmet dining! lol

The same thing happened to me with sunflowers. They weren't mine but a neighbour's. She didn't want them so I asked for them and hung them up outside. The birds had a great time.

We have a lot of naturally growing alfalfa which the local goats love, and lots of browsing is possible in our surrounds. But I'll be taking notes to what your goats love for next year when we have our own.

hickchick said...

Thanks for sharing your results!
I guess being adaptable to the unexpected successes is important. I am very curious if the goat like sunchokes? As a kid I remember my Dad accidently rototilling part of the (small) sunchoke patch and how they took over a big part of the garden the next year :) Live and learn. K

karl said...

when do you dig your sunchokes? just before dinner like we did when we were there?

tansy said...

mon - they were hung in the greenhouse but the door was open. grrr!

goats are surprisingly picky.

hickchick - they haven't eaten them so far...i'm hoping once the greens are dead they'll change their minds.

karl - yes...i cover the patch with the stalks and/or straw to keep it from freezing over.

living the simple life said...

Great post and idea. Thanks for sharing that information.

I used to plant 2 extra rows of most things for our pigs when we had them. I found most of the veggies were eaten by the pigs and even the wild turkeys.

I did dehydrate (solar) some of them to feed later, to fatten them up right before the butcher came.

I also timed it so they could eat the acorns and butternuts from behind our house. Boy were they (the pigs) ever tasty from eating the nuts. I could tell the difference and even my sister noticed it.

~Karyn

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