One of the things that every farmer is supposed to be good at is gardening. Let’s face it: fresh, organic fruits and veggies are a staple to any good wholesome diet. Not to mention that practically every animal on the farm eats something that grows on a plant.
I’m told some people are born with a green-thumb. After four years of failing (to various degrees) at gardening, I think I can safely say that I’m not one of them. But failing hasn’t stopped me yet. Every year I buy seeds, lovingly tend to seedlings under grow lights and transplant into prepared beds. Usually I do this so that weeds can choke them, ravenous loose chickens or goats can eat them, various diseases or insects can ruin them etc. This year, however I got a surprise.
Let me back up.
Remember the pigs hubby added to the farm? Those critters are bottomless pits!
Our pastured pigs have 24/7 access to pasture and are fed twice daily, but I like to supplement them with veggies, table scraps, etc. One of the ways we supplement is by contracting with local produce markets to pick up their “past prime” fruits and veggies. The pigs LOVE it!
After consuming all of these fruits and veggies there’s something else that pigs do a lot of… yup, you guessed it! What goes in must come out!
Last fall I created a new compost pile for said refuse. We employ the use of compost worms to break down pig refuse and turn it into worm casting fertilizer. This year when I created a new raised bed, I used some of these worm castings to fill the bottom of the bed. I had plans to plant a stand of barley for the chickens. Come spring however, I got a surprise.
This is my “barley patch” raised bed. See all those tomatoes? Apparently the worms didn’t “biodegrade” the seeds from the produce that passed through the pigs. Imagine my shock when my raised bed started producing everything from zucchini, to pumpkins, tomatoes, squash and even a strawberry plant! Amazingly these veggies, whom I have done NOTHING to, are twice the size of my “well planted and pampered seedlings!”
It just goes to show that despite all the technology we employ in our “expertise” to raise gardens-God ultimately designed a system to work-no grow lights necessary. Just one of the many ways He reminds me that it is He who provides everything.