Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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If There Was Ever a Time in America to Plant a Garden

Picture The cost of food continues to rise. If you didn't realize it, you either don't do the grocery shopping, or you haven't ask the person who does!

You can do a search on the 'net and find all kinds of numbers indicating how much food products have gone up and what others believe they will do in the future.

  The viewpoint I liked was from Lynn Carpenter she believes "We have been enjoying a 60-year trend of low food prices that is crashing to an abrupt end this very year."

Lynn says (and I agree) the government numbers released, and what I see at the grocery store never seem to match up. She recommends figuring out how many hours you must work each week to pay for food.

She did some serious research and came up with some very interesting numbers! You can read it all here.

But all that aside if you go to the store a few times you get an idea of what it costs to eat and you suddenly feel a bit of gnawing worry. Now the mistake you might make is to leave the grocery store, get the groceries put away, and dismiss the gnawing worry telling yourself "it'll all work out somehow."

Don't fall into that mindset!

Nothing just "works itself out" and if it does, it is seldom in your favor.

Planting a garden is a proactive way to cut your food bill and improve your overall health.

Feeling overwhelmed when you think of  gardening?

Start Small

One of the best ways to get started growing your own food is to start small. Plant a few tomato plants and some bell peppers along the house.  Make a garden four feet by eight feet. Make raised beds etc.

I love High Density Gardening by Ric Wiley. Gardening is work no matter how you cut it but you can reduce the workload and space needed by using Ric's methods.

He covers everything from A to Z in this ebook.
  • How to plan your High Density Garden in order that you can maximize the quantity of crops you can grow
  • How to build a High Density Gardening bed
  • How to propagate seeds
  • Home made compost. How to make it quickly.
  • Much more

I'm a lover of ebooks because you can be reading them five minutes after you decide to purchase them! Which might be why I spend so much at Amazon on my Kindle.

Take a look at High Density Gardening and download a copy and get started planning now. It takes some planning, money and effort to harvest a successful garden.

But it is worth it!

Imagine your very own lush, green, vibrant garden this spring. Can't you taste the garden fresh tomato's, beans, onions, peppers, cucumbers, water melons, peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet corn, cabbage, you get the point……

until next time!


 

 
 

Save Your Own Seed - Grow Open Pollinated Corn

Corn
Reducing off the farm inputs can be accomplished in many different ways. One of the ways we are expanding on this is by growing open pollinated corn. I blogged here about the small pasture we were running pigs on to take off the grass, root up the soil and then we would plant corn. You can read that blog here.

Once the hogs grazed the grass down and then began to root it up and eat the roots off the grass we got ready to move them. In this case we moved them the trailer for a short trip to see the butcher.

 I then tilled the field  and waited about a week  for any seeds to germinate. I then cleaned out one of our buildings we had kept hogs in all winter. We kept them in a building all winter so we could collect the manure for this project.

 I kept them deeply bedded with straw. Two reasons for this; one was to keep the nutrients in the manure locked up with carbon, and two, I think hogs laying around in mud and manure is a recipe for sickness not to mention poor farming.

 So we ending up with a bunch of manure with lots of decomposing straw mixed in. I then spread this on the previously tilled soil and worked it in.

This gave the soil a big nutrient boost and a good amount of organic matter or humus. We then planted an old variety of open pollinated corn.




Open Pollinated Corn

Here's a definition of open pollinated corn from openpollinated.com

 “Open Pollinated”  is a horticultural term meaning that the plant will produce seeds naturally. When these seeds are planted they will reliably reproduce the same plant as the parent. On the other hand, hybrid corn is the result of controlled pollination of inbred plants. These seeds are often sterile, and if they do germinate, will not reliably produce the same plant as the parent. This means the farmer has a perpetual reliance on the seed companies.

 Being able to save seed is a big plus in my book however the good news doesn't stop there, open pollinated corn is typically 11 to 14 percent crude protein whereas hybrid corn comes in at around 6 to 7 percent.

 I have read claims that open pollinated corn picks up substantially more minerals than conventional corn. I've not seen any scientific evidence to support this claim but perhaps it exists. I have had several farmers tell me it can deplete your soil of nutrients as it is a "heavy feeder" which tells me it's taking nutrients from the soil and  I think that's a good thing.

The crop is almost ready and doing a quick and dirty yield test tells me the yield is around 193 bushels per acre. Now keep in mind this test pot is about a 1/4 of an acre.

I would be pleased with 100 plus bushels per acre on a larger scale.

Along with the manure, I also placed the equivalent of 3 gallons per acre of  Growers Mineral Solution in the seed band when planted and then foliar sprayed it twice before it tassled.

Over all, I am very pleased with the Growers Mineral Solution and open pollinated corn. We plan to plant enough corn to eliminate purchasing corn from off farm sources.

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms




 
 

Save Your Fuel Money Eat More Pork

Picture
Tamworth Pigs Plowing
Here at Spring Hill Farms we don't like buying $4 a gallon gas anymore than you do.

We don't like buying gasoline or diesel at any price as far as that goes. That's one of the main reasons we employed Tamworth pigs to renovate our 25 year old over grown land back in 2004.

I had been trying to figure out how we were going to bring the briar infested land back to producing something more than multi-flora rose, rabbits and deer. 

Being raised on a farm I knew pigs had a bull dozer/industrial roto-tiller on the front and a manure spreader on the back. Of course in between is a whole bunch of good eatin'.

So why spend hundreds of dollars per hour to hire a dozer to clear the land? The only reason I could come up with was it would be faster and admittedly easier. Hire the dozer, go in afterwards and broadcast seed.

Picture
Tamworth Swine Dozer

But I wasn't in a hurry and it looked like there was a good bit of vegetation the pigs could utilize.

Now for the part the dozer and equipment couldn't accomplish.

The pigs would add fertility to the soil as they cleared it. The pigs would also root the soil and loosen it up verses pack it down like the equipment would tend to do.

And finally, I've have never had bacon from a bull dozer!

So after I considered both options, I decided pigs were the way to clear land here at Spring Hill Farms.

If you think about it, it's much like farmers would have done before heavy equipment and cheap fuel. As farmers we are going to have to look at how things were done in the past and leverage them with the knowledge and some of the equipment we have now. (Like electric fence.)

We try to find ways to incorporate our animals natural behaviors into working for us. That philosophy is the exact opposite of the farmer who puts his hogs on concrete so they don't root.

The closer we can mimic natural patterns, the better it is for us, and the animals.

Until next time... 


 





 
 

Feeding Hogs Something Other Than Corn

Picture
Tamworth Pig
If you've read many of my posts you know I love old books on farming and especially pigs. I have a pretty good collection dating back as far as 1883.

I've bid on books on some auction sites older than that but they end up being too rich for my blood!

This document is dated 1925 but is revised so it probably was from an earlier work. It is titled Swine Feeding.

It covers quite a bit of topics such as: [More]

 
 

3 Lies Big Food Wants You to Believe

Is it really cheaper to eat discount food from the grocery? I've always said "no". If you evaluate it strictly form a dollars spent at the 'regular' store, verses with your local farmer, you may erroneously come to that conclusion. 

 However there is many more pieces to the puzzle...[more]

 
 
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