Our goat pen got a bit of a makeover recently! In addition to adding a few live oak trees, the girls have an old truck to jump on and new mulch and straw to keep their hooves out of the mud. The farm team was able to dig out the old walkways in the pen in order to fill them with mulch and straw. When the moist, natural clay soil mixes with the straw and then dries, it will form a nice strong bond similar to concrete. Our girls don’t care much for walking around in the mud so this will help them to have a more comfortable ground surface in their pen. The live oak trees that were planted in the pen will not only help provide a bit of shade but will form a natural graze line.
Overall our goats are doing well though we had one of our girls come down with a case of bloat this past week. The team was able to catch it quickly as she was more sluggish than the others and not acting as excited to see people as she normally is. She was treated with mineral oil to help make her digestive system more regular and was given plenty of extra love. She’s currently on the mend and enjoying all of the new improvements to the pen.
During fertilization in the greenhouse this past week, the farm team discovered aphids on several of the transplants including the eggplant and cucumber. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests that affect cultivated plants in temperate regions. Since the farm is a sustainable operation that relies on various beneficial insects, the least invasive method must be employed in order to get on top of any problems. The solution to the aphid issue was to use an insecticidal soap made primarily of plant-derived fatty acids. The soap kills bugs on contact so it was sprayed directly onto the aphids, then washed away leaving no residual effects. This method allowed us to eliminate the aphids without much harm to any of the beneficial insects we rely on.