Author Topic: Can I make a hog pen into a vegetable garden?  (Read 2125 times)

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Offline CatManDo

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Can I make a hog pen into a vegetable garden?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 03:48:09 AM »
Q: I have the potential of making some portable pens to house pigs and feed them the acorns available from some of my proprieties. After the pigs have rooted and churned the pen area for a while and are moved to a new spot, can I plant garden crops in these areas?

A: I see several possible issues with using the site for a vegetable garden immediately after removing the hogs. First of all, the application of large amounts of manure to a site can shift nutrient balances, leading to excess levels of phosphorus and possibly other nutrients. A representative soil test of the site would answer this question.

A second issue would be possible food safety issues relating to the presence of raw manure in the soil. A good rule of thumb is not to harvest food crops, particularly root vegetables or other vegetables that come into contact with the soil, within 120 days of a manure application.

Another problem could result from the breakdown of the soil's physical structure from the rooting action of the hogs. Soils with degraded structure do not support plant growth. I would suggest at least one season of site preparation after the hogs are removed, including soil testing, the use of a cover crop and minimal tillage to allow the soil structure to rebuild.

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