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I am looking at fencing off the garden for the pig until butchering time. Should I know anything first -- like anything in there need to be removed that might be a bad thing for him to eat? I know the tomato plants are toxic for some animals...are they for pigs? We don't have anything exotic in there...just plain old foods.
Can he go in just like it is? Just slap a fence up and in he goes?

Deanna
 

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From what I've read, tomato plants are in the nightshade family and thereby considered toxic, though I know of pigs who have eaten them and done fine. We had some volunteer 'mater plants pop up in one of the pig paddocks and I didn't bother pulling them. I like your idea of running the pig through the garden. I did that in the reverse order: pigs in garden before plants went in. Worked out great. Pig poop is powerful good fertilizer.
 

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That's what I wondered about -- if they are toxic (we have about 45 of them still in the garden) then I'll go ahead and pull them and put him in there now as the rest of the garden is pretty well spent.

I'm thinking garden...then from harvest to butcher, piggie land...then from butcher to garden prep time, chickens. We have pretty sad ground for gardening, so it can only help. I loved Walter's blog on weeder pigs and tiller chickens...that's what sparked my plan.

Deanna
 

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We use our pigs to create gardens, till the gardens in the fall and again in the spring. To create gardens we over winter the pigs on the frozen gardens for a few winters during the deep snow months when they can't be out on pasture. This creates rich soil out of our poor mountain soil. It works very well.

We use a lot of hay for bedding, feeding and to soak up the valuable urine and ammonia fertilizer thus adding carbon to the mix. This is important. That adds hay seeds to the garden. Weeds you are thinking... :) So it is critical to follow the pigs in the spring with chickens for several weeks right up to before you plant. The chickens scratch up the soil, smooth it out, eat bugs and most important weed the gardens so I have very little weeding to do. It results in almost weed-free, fertile gardens.

One other key we've found is do not leave pigs too long in gardens with unfrozen soil as they will compact the soil. You want the pigs in there just long enough to clean, till, fertilize but not compact. How long that is depends with the soil type. My understanding from reading is that high clay soils compact more. So watch out on that.

Edit: I forgot to mention, at first I was very worried about pigs eating potato or tomato plants. But then one year they ate a lot! No ill effects. Now I worry about it less. Probably not a good idea to make it be their sole diet though.

Cheers,

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
 

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pigs in the garden, GREAT IDEA

I originally learned of it here, never even crossed my mind, now I do it, my neighbor does it, and it sent our crops skyward this year. I also take wheel barrels full from the regular pen to to replace any soil erosion in the garden.

they root enought o fill 6 to 7 barrels a day and its is being composted as they turn it. love it.

p.s. tomatoes i would be a little cautious on those also I think I read Potato plants are toxic too, can anyone chime in on that one?
 

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AshleyB said:
What kind of fencing do you put up for keeping the pigs in the garden? I'd really like to do this this year.
Ideally we use stone walls along the bottom, high tensile woven wire and an electrified smooth high tensile wire at low nose level. It is highly effective.

Electrified poultry netting also works great. Even the short 32" high rabbit netting works well. Higher is better if you also have chickens.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
 
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