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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
How does your garden grow? 
18th-May-2012 09:31 am
Justin-goat
Last night was a spontaneous gardening evening for us. CK brought out the front loader, shovel, and pick-axe to start digging the foundation for the new (and going to be gorgeous!) raised bed. I put on my gloves and weeded one of the older beds when I wasn't pulling rocks out of the new hole in the ground. (Why would anyone want to try to farm in Virginia? It's nothing but red clay and rocks! CK has the right idea by building beautiful raised beds that hold lovely fertile soil for happy veggies.) Hopefully we can get some of the plants purchased/seeded/planted this weekend, even if the new raised bed isn't ready yet.

Despite our Darwinian version of gardening, the dirt inside the old raised bed that I was weeding is looking pretty good. We typically augment the beds with goat/llama waste and maybe some mulch when we remember, so nutrients definitely get replaced (especially nitrogen!). Last night, I pulled up a few earthworms with my weeds, which to me implies that the soil bed is healthy and happy and ready for plants. We also had a ton of pillbugs.

I looked up a few references on pillbugs to see if they are a threat to plants, because I couldn't remember them being such. According to most sources, the answer is "usually not." Pillbugs like rotting organic stuff like, oh, goat manure-covered straw, and not growing green plants. However, if there are enough pillbugs around, they will eat baby plants as they wander past. Happily, diatomaceous earth will disuade the bugs, so I don't have to invest in "real" poison yet (ref). On the other hand, we've got potato leaf curl, which is caused by aphids, is often viral, and requires chemical warfare or just killing and burying the potato plants. sigh. I need to check which of our sprays are still any good for that.

Four of the baby goats who had slid through the fence and were munching in the back forest (Rex, Pan, Owen, and Krys) decided that the front loader wasn't scary enough to drive them back to their moms (Ari chickened out and ran for it). They wandered around the outside edges of the garden area, keeping us company while munching and crunching away on random browse. After CK traded from tractor to shovel, I ended up with Rex *in* the raised bed that I was working, "helping" me weed by eating and stomping his way around the bed. It was too cute, and made me wish out loud that I'd brought my camera.
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