What’s growing in your garden? May 30, 2012
Yes, I know chickens can be hazardous to a garden. They scratch near the roots, they dust bathe, and they might even eat the fresh veggies or fruits you were planning to pick and serve for dinner. Even though I am aware that chickens and gardens do not typically mix unless chickens are controlled within the confines of a tractor, I had hoped my adorable new Silkies would be the exception. These Silkies and their white Easter Egger buddy are only 9 weeks of age and I wanted to give them a place to free-range in safety, since I’m not yet sure how my older flock will take to these new strange looking fluffy birds.
This newest group of chicks has been living outside for several weeks, but were still penned up for security. Since my garden is fenced in to keep the dogs and the ‘real’ chickens out, and this newest batch of chicks was still small, I decided the garden area would be the perfect place for their first explorations into the wild yonder. The first several days, the chicks completely ignored my tomato plants and spent lots of time eating grass and scratching around in the surrounding area. My daughter and I even made them a luxurious canopy for their dining pleasure – this canopy was to give them a shaded area for resting, eating, and drinking.
Imagine my surprise when I walked out to the garden to give the babies more chick starter – there were no chickens to be seen! My brain, thinking we had another predator attack on our hands, worriedly went through all the possibilities of 7 chickens disappearing. Thankfully, Gimpy, my big Black Copper Marans hen, who has been living with the babies because she has an injured leg, tottered out of the garden to greet me. What a relief! Once she showed herself, I started hunting for the others. All were accounted for. These chickens are no dummies – they found a cool, damp area to rest in and get relief from the desert heat.
So far, Gimpy and the chicks have not discovered the tastiness of my fresh tomatoes, but I fear the time will soon come when I will need to put some type of protection around my tomato plants. In the meantime, I am growing chickens in my garden, along with my tomatoes.
I believe my garden has produced well this year, despite the intruders, (especially since the roots are protected by tomato cages and the chicks are still fairly small), but next year, I’ll be sure to try Shannon’s Homemade Monster Tomato Fertilizer recipe for an even bigger and better yield.
What are you currently growing in your garden?