Spring is full of growth and new beginnings. We have been busy trying to get things in the ground and keep up with the burgeoning grass. At this time of year things can get lost in a sea of green while you are looking the other way.
Some new arrivals and happenings for us include: 5 ducklings, 2 piglets, participation in the Craftsbury Farmer’s Market, and our first CSA share pick up next week. Though we have fewer CSA members than we had hoped for we are still very excited to share our produce and invite members of the community onto our farm.
The ducklings have been great fun to watch growing up. We have been interested in trying out ducks, primarily for slug and snail control, so we decided to start with 5. They are kakhi campbells and black runner ducks, both good egg layers. The books all say they are amazing insect eaters, they are very messy, and they are herdable. So far we have observed that they are very messy ( they go wild in the water dish), and they do love insects. How herdable they are remains to be seen. They also poop on, trample, and eat some plants, so we will need to experiment with how to incorporate them into the garden. One of our CSA members Evan Book helped us make a snazzy moveable house that they sleep in that can be parked in suitable sections of garden or grass and fenced around. We hope to fence them into perennial fruit areas before and after fruiting, and possibly let them into sections of garden when plants are old enough to handle any abuse such as in the winter squash or potatoes.
This year’s pigs are named Beatrice (black with the white face and stylish belt) and Leonard (the red head with black spots). They are well behaved so far and becoming friendlier every day. Right now they are fenced between our greenhouses, doing some tilling. When they are moved we plan to seed some cover crops and plants such as sunflowers and amaranth that might produce some food for the chickens when they come back to the greenhouse in the late fall.