4988re: plants to follow chickens
- Apr 21, 2010Hi Lesley,
I'm Steve in Bermuda.
I'm running a few chickens (a rooster and two hens, for now) in a
chicken tractor. The chickens are reclaimed from the "wild" - they
were running more or less feral and I caught them by dropping feed and
snatching them. I started off the tractor in a daily movement
schedule with water and supplemental "scratch" (10% protein) feed.
Along with typical yard forage plants, they receive kitchen scraps and
other garden fare, such as papaya which goes too far (or gets chewed
on by a rat).
In the daily movement schedule, the yard gets Well mowed, and even
three birds make a good arguement for moving the cage more than once a
day in some cases.
This spring, I have been using alfalfa hay to establish small garden
beds with the chicken tractor - every two days or so, I layer in a
good load of hay (enough so they're not walking in their own
excrement) , and at the end of a week or so, I have a pile of hay
which is filled with chicken poop and organic material from the green
chop (we weed the yard to feed them during this time). The carbon in
the hay ties up the nitrogen in the chicken manure and so far I am
having no trouble with plants getting burned (as you may guess, you
wouldn't want to plant into bare soil where a chicken pen had been.
The photo entitled "North garden w.chickens" shows the tractor and two
new beds. The garden along the fence is last year's no-dig garden
bed, which was very productive. A result of that bed is the mass of
chamomile visible in the other photo, titled "Increasing edge."
The "island" garden beds will eventually evolve into keyhole beds,
having joined up with the bed behind them.
As a sort of answer to your question, I'd say that almost any plant
may be inserted into these beds. Due to the loose nature of the hay,
trellis may be needed for plants with any height.
The first circular bed (at the far end) is planted with tomatoes,
okra, tobacco, comfrey, beans, squash and onions.
Please feel free to ask questions.
I walked over to the asparagus and said, "We don't have to plow for
you; why do we have to plow for the other vegetables?"
And the asparagus said, "You don't; go ahead and plant."
If the asparagus had said that to anybody with any sense, they
wouldn't have paid any attention. They would have said, "Well, you're
~ Ruth Stout (b. 1884, Kansas)