So as we learn more and more about farming I read more and more about the health of the soil being the basis of healthy farms and healthy and disease/pest resistant plants. I read about farm here on the Journey to Forever website library. The farm in Yorkshire sounded like a bit of deja vu. Pounds and pounds of fertilizer, harvest of pounds and pounds of strawberries and then add on the use of insecticides just to make matters worse. Our farm was in big trouble! It was all starting to make sense. I think Farmer Guy has a history of moving around. I wonder why. Not. I was fascinated and inspired. Perhaps too inspired. I got on the phone with friends who had pigs every summer and asked questions. I got the name of their supplier and called him. It was mid June and really too late to be trying to locate pigs for the summer. The supplier said he could provide us with pigs in 3 weeks or so. Don was kind of going along with me….until 3 days later when the supplier called ready to deliver our pigs, and we had just opened our UPICK Strawberries. We had no fence, no pen, no shelter, no food, no idea about watering them, no nothing and NO IDEA of what we were doing. I had done a lot of reading online, but still not the same as the real thing. The truck arrived backed up to our greenhouse and delivered our 8 pigs into our puppy pen. A pen made from straw bales. Not very stable. And we had customers on the fields, staff to direct and pigs to organize. Don was well I don’t know how to describe someone who has to figure out how to fence, feed and water the pigs at the start of our busiest craziest season!! We knew the best way was an electric fence. Pigs are smart. They also need to be trained to the fence. I read you had to build a small electric fenced area with chicken wire as a secondary fence. When the pig first hits the electric fence, he bolts….into the chicken wire. He learns pretty darn quick not to bolt. Don went out, bought necessary fencing supplies and built a great electric fence. And then stood back and watched me carry a 45 lb pig up to his new pen. It promptly shat on me and screamed in my ear (equivalent to a 747 taking off!) the whole way. Nice. It hit the fence and bolted…..freedom! On the farm! Full of ripe red strawberries! See two book/internet farmers scrambling after baby pig, who likes to scream, with customers wondering WHATTHEHECK is going on!! He put up the chicken wire. I was able to move 2 more pigs before he gave in and helped me……they are strong!!!
The pigs did their job. When strawberry harvest was over we put them on the 3 year old plants and they TOOK THEM DOWN! It was incredible. We now get pigs every year and they are part of our “soil building” program along with compost, horse/cow manure and green cover crops…….