Friday, October 3, 2014

who or what will harvest your crops?

Who will harvest your crops?
When it comes to high calorie gardening someone or something has to harvest your crops!
What do I mean by this? I have poultry which I allow to forage. During the summer they eat insects, greens, etc. This is calories I did not have to harvest. The poultry harvest this which supplements what I feed them.
Last year I planted two crops of cow peas. One I was able to harvest. The other the poultry ate. 
This year I have Jerusalem Artichokes. The poultry have eaten all the leaves they can reach. Now the turkeys are digging up the roots and eating them. We have all heard stores of cows in the corn field and chickens in the garden. Below are some ways of doing such in a constructive manner. After all high calorie gardening is not only about calories for humans to consume.

Hog grazing

In the old days of the Midwest hog would have their ears notched a turned loose in the woods. They would forage on the plants and local wildlife. In the fall pigs would be rounded up and harvested.
In Texas you are seeing something like this play out with Feral Hogs. Every year many feral hogs are hunted in Texas because of the damage they do harvesting farm crops.
Forages for Swine have been planted for pasture swine. In the right area with the right plants it can reduce the amount of feed required to raise swine.

Classical grazing

There are many opportunities for using animals to harvest. The classic is simply having grazing animals that can be turned loose to graze in fenced in areas. I would put cattle, goats, sheep, and geese in this group. Grazing land may not seem high calorie but when it is converted to meat and fat it qualifies.
Research and Experience Translated Into Grazing Practices You Can Use NOW!
Sheep 201 a beginner's guide to raising sheep

Trap crop grazing.

There is a great deal of information on raising animals for grazing so you can likely find all the information you would require.
Next would be growing crops for animals to eat. I just received my SARE field notes. It has an interesting article about using chicken tractors with trap crops. In this experiment Blue Hubbard squash which squash bug love was grown as a trap crop to attract squash bugs away from other plants. A chicken tractor was used to confine chickens with the Blue Hubbard squash. The goal was for the chickens to eat the squash bugs attracted to the Blue Hubbard squash.

Attracting Protein sources.

In some cases it is not so much harvesting as attracting animals such as deer to forested areas. Again the deer do the harvesting and you harvest the deer.
Conservation Of Quail By Planting Food Plots

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