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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Mangel

Over the past year, I have developed a bit of an obsession, with an elusive object....it's the Mangel....do you know what it is? Have you ever heard of it?

When we moved up here, I started doing a lot of reading about homesteading and raising animals. Now I need to say up front....I have almost zero interest in the mechanics associated with today's farmer....the huge tractors, combines, fertilizer tanks, etc. etc....

I have a huge interest in old timey farming...remember, like how they USED to do it...before the advent of heavy duty machinery, used in the hopes of higher outputs....nah, that's not for either of us.

Libraries have these old time books, so does
http://www.amazon.com/ You can also buy some on Ebay http://www.ebay.com/

My wonderful local librarian, Mary, helps me a LOT by bringing in these types of books...I go online and find them, then phone her up or drop her off a list with the ISBN's and a few weeks later she is calling to let me know they have arrived! Ya gotta love librarians...they are one of my favourite groups of people!

An excellent book is American Farming Techniques...plus the Robinson's "Have More Plan" available online in a PDF file...

Anyway, back to the mangel...I kept noticing it being brought up as a good source of livestock feed....easily grown anywhere you can grow beets.....hmmm...where we are ANY type of root crop grows really well. So I did some more reading. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to try growing them. If we could find a way to store them, they could then be used to feed our feeder pigs when they arrive late March or so. Farmers of old call the late winter/early spring the "hungry gap", meaning it is traditionally difficult to provide livestock feed from your own land.


Some mangels reach 20 lbs at harvest time....you can dig them up with a pitchfork. Half or more of the actual mangel grows above the ground, which hopefully makes it a bit easier to harvest. You can also turn pigs into your mangel patch and they will clean it up for you.....

Mangel seeds are not that easy to find tho, at least not in Canada. I found some in the OSC catalogue so ordered some. But they didn't have them, so I kept looking. A friend nearby heard what I was trying to do, and referred me to Jim at www.prseeds.ca I gave him a phone call, sure enough he had some in stock, and sent some out to us....so we finally got the elusive seed!

As the gardening season progresses, we post our mangel trials and see how we do...maybe next year, we will be able to convince other small livestock farmers to give mangels a try!

For more info on mangels, just pop over here to Homesteading Today, where we were having a lively discussion about exactly what they are, where to get seed and more.

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=234995&highlight=mangel



And to tide me over and give me more hope for spring, here's a pic of our vegetable garden early last August....

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3 comments:

Linda said...

I love this picture of your garden - do you have a bigger one???

Annie said...

Hmmm, nope Linda, sorry, I checked and I don't. Maybe I can resize it? What do you want it for - the Journey?

Annie

Linda said...

Sorry I didn't see your reply until now... yes I would like it for The Journey. However, I can work with it and see what I can do...

Thanks