Goats and the Garden

As the summer progresses, things tend to fall into a routine. First thing in the morning, goats get milked and switched around. The boys go back into their day pen and the girls and kids are let out to browse the pasture. The bottle babies get their bottles, the geese, chickens, and ducks are let out of their houses; then I go back in the house to process the milk. This all takes around two hours every day.

After morning chores are done, the rest of my day is usually based on priority. What needs attention the most? Lately, with all the beautiful sunshine supercharging the plants, it’s been the garden and orchard. The fruit tree guilds are really growing like crazy and still need to be watered frequently. The weeds in the main garden grow faster than I can pull them, and I swear I can hear the morning glory laughing quietly as I try to keep ahead of it.

I’m not allowed in the tomato greenhouse-that’s strictly my husband’s domain-but the glass greenhouse has all my pepper plants so there’s work in there. As the pea plants are pretty well spent, we pull them out and toss them to the goats, along with blackberries that are trying to grow through the fence. The hazelnut and plum trees send up sprouts from the base of their trunks and I cut those back. I pull up peppermint that is super invasive as well as radishes that have insect damage. Sabrina loves radishes! I have a compost pile, but I just can’t resist throwing all these goodies to the goat herd! They reduce a wheelbarrow of cuttings to sticks and stems in minutes. I also fence off portions of the front yard with electric netting and put Lincoln and Linus up there to clean the fence of morning glory. It’s funny watching them wrap their goat lips around the livestock fence and pull the leaves through. They are all great garden helpers!

Three goats climbing on a wheelbarrow

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We are a small homestead in the foothills of the North Cascades in Washington state. We breed goats for milk, cheese, and soap; keep chickens, ducks, and geese; and grow our own fruits and vegetables. Read more…

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