Sunday, June 10, 2012

One More Reason To Have Free Range Chickens

My flock has a large run area that is in essence a big circle surrounded by, and surrounding, my food gardens and poultry pens in my back yard. All year long I toss weeds in the path for them to eat, plus dump in bags of leaves and buckets of horse stall sweepings. They scratch through all this all year long, pooping all the time, with the summer heat and rains turning it all into very rich soil. I recently had a great rain here, so the path went from powdery dry to damp compost. Yesterday I emptied out two half barrel Water Wise Container Gardens, and since their soil levels had dropped I had the pleasure of shoveling this rich pathway soil into buckets to top each off with. Next I soak them with rainwater, then a good drench of home made fish fertilizer with bentonite clay stirred in goes down, followed by 2 inches of wood chips mulch to keep the soil damp. Since I want TONS of "Fife Creek" okra to enjoy raw and fried this year, I am likely planting it in both, though I MIGHT plant a third eggplant in one. Since the chickens live exclusively on weeds, bugs, sea shell grit and restaurant scraps from south Tampa's Wimauma restaurant that I trade garden produce for, I get eggs, meat and fertile soil for free. And to THIS tightwad gardener, FREE is the Holy Grail of permaculture!

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