Last Updated on May 1, 2020
Did you know that it’s possible to till a garden without a tiller? Today, we are going to look at how I use my favorite farm animal, the pig, to till our garden for us naturally.
We had an area on our farm where we wanted to put a new garden. There had never been a garden there before so we decided to till it up before using it.
One of the things we try to do on our farm is to let nature work so we don’t have to. And with that in mind, we decided to let our pigs till our garden for us.
Fertilizing the Garden Using Chickens
The first thing we did was we put our chickens in this area for about a month so they could fertilize it for us first. After that, we were ready to let our pigs till our garden for us.
Setting up the Garden for the Pigs
If you are wanting to do this, you’ll need to set up a few things for your pigs
Since this was a temporary setup, you’ll notice in the background I used a car hood and some straw bales for theirs. You can really get creative here.
To keep the pigs in, we actually used electric poultry netting. But you can use whatever you want as long as it keeps them in and focused on tilling up that area.
We used our pigs to till our garden for only about a week and this was the result of that. They did a great job.
Using the Pigs to Till Another Garden Area
Here we have them on an additional garden area and they are currently in the process of tilling that one up too.
The type of pigs we used for this are American Guinea hogs. If you aren’t familiar with that breed, they are smaller than other pigs and are great at gaining weight just from foraging.
You can also see in this garden area that I added two recently weened piglets from a different breed.
Wood Chip Gardening
We are big fans of wood chip gardening on our farm. So after the pigs are done we are going to cover it all with manure, compost, and finally wood chips.
Pigs Tilling the Garden
My favorite Joel Salatin quote about pigs is that pigs have a plow in the front and a manure spreader on the back. We definitely took advantage of those unique characteristics and were able to let the pigs do the work for us so we didn’t have to.
If you have any question, let me know in the comments.