Sunday, February 7, 2010

Let chickens do your weeding!

Chickens need ample raw green plant matter daily to be happy and healthy, and their appetite can be put to good use. Anyone who knows me will testify that I am not a tidy man, and that I struggle with weeding as I do not enjoy it. And so by late last summer I lost control of my east bed that I HAD rendered very tidy last spring. One end result was several Spanish Needle Daisy plants growing beneath two lemon bushes, and I did not notice until last fall AFTER they'd shed a kagillion seeds. Due to all the wonderful El Nino rains this winter, they've begun to the THOUSANDS. This of course made me feel dumb for having let this happen, and the thought of pulling them up was about as appealing as seeing Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh in speedos.

But instead, today I simply pulled up one rebar support at one end of the poultry fence that normally keeps my chickens out of all my gardens, pulled back that end of the fence, and they happily dashed in and began excitedly eating weeds and scratching the mulch for worms. To insure they not destroy the verdant container gardens in there, I just inverted large plastic flower pots and tubs over them to protect the arugula, rape, carrots, etc from their buzz saw beaks.

I figure letting them in there for a week or so should render the area 99% free of weeds so I can reclose the fence then begin my annual spring ritual of mulching there and elsewhere with about 200 bags of oak leaves that people set out for garbage pick up.

THIS year I will do a MUCH better job of pulling up Spanish Needle Daisies as at that point the areas will be filled with crops, so I won't be able let the chickens in. John

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