I have a pervasive pasture, completely overrun with thistles, that I would like to turn into a vegetable garden. I want to run some pigs through, followed by chickens, to clear it out and fertilize. Regarding pathogens in the manure and hot composting temps, how long do I need to wait to plant after moving the animals out? I am in central Illinois and I would like to put the pigs in soon, especially since this crazy weather means the ground is soft and muddy, not frozen like it should be in February! Will I be ok to plant in April or May, or this is a longer process?
Hi Rebecca; If the grounds not frozen, then I would move your pigs in now. Hopefully there is an adequate fencing to keep them in. If you are hoping to plant this in may you will need to follow your chickens up with a good tilling. The thing is ... my experiences with thistles, is that if the pigs don't get all the roots and you till ... you just chop them up & spread them about and they come back healthier than before... I guess what i'm suggesting is leave the pigs in until the thistle is all gone , then chickens, then till that hot chicken poop in ... see what month it is and plant whatever vegis that you still have time for.
Not all who wander are lost... J.R.R. Tolkien
Location: Central IL, zone 6b
posted 2 years ago
Thanks for your reply, Thomas! I put the pigs in yesterday. They are just little potbellies but WOW there are already deep trenches of overturned soil, AND the soil is nice and black and loamy, which I was not expecting. I guess the amendments I put in last year are working. Sometimes it all feels like magic and I don't expect it to actually work. Ha.
The thistle is so intense. Im pretty sure they're eating the roots. I'm going to leave them in there for as long as possible without causing too much compaction. I might even run them through again in the spring.
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