My new garden fence is done, and I am excited.
I now have over 5,000 sq/ft of dedicated fenced gardening space, and an over 1,000 sq/ft chicken run. I will be planting it in two weeks.
Yes, two weeks. I even saw a daffodil blooming yesterday, I’m going to like living in the south.
I don’t know if I’ll have time to till it, I have a new tractor and a new tiller attachment, but the ground is wet and you shouldn’t till when it is wet, but I’ll have to plant some things, soon. I’m thinking I may plant at the edges leaving me still able to till the middle.
Right away I plan to plant some mulberries in the chicken run. Mulberries provide really good mast (mast is natural forage food) for chickens, and most bird species really love them. As the trees grow they will also provide shade and cover from aerial predators like hawks.
I designed the layout, as you see, with the entrance to the chicken run being through the garden. This is for two reasons, one, it is an extra layer of security, at the chicken gate, two it allows me to let the chickens into the garden when I want at various points in the growing season to help with weeding, composting, tilling, and fertilizing. There is a great synergy between animal husbandry and gardening, and I want to put it to work. I will allow the chickens in in the Spring and Fall to fertilizer and turn over the garden, and I may let them in at certain times during the growing season to patrol for pests and add fertilizer (I will have to monitor their behavior though if they start scratching at or eating plants I do not want them to). I can also put up small fence sections, almost like a portal kennel or baby play area, if there is a patch I need to clean up. For instance with the aid of portable fencing I could allow them to patrol the corn rows once the corn gets tall, looking for bugs, fertilizing, and eating weeds. Once the spinach bolts in the summer I could put them in just that section of the garden to clean up the spent plants. Not only do I save on labor, but I get bug killing, fertilizing, and soil turning all together.
In a couple weeks I have a bunch of trees and perennials coming. I will need to plant asparagus, strawberries, and blueberries in my garden. I wouldn’t normally want to put all these in the garden, but with the deer pressure I fear I will have to. Maybe in later years I might be able to keep some out, I would ideally prefer planting perennial crops elsewhere apart from annual ones. I’ll plant them around the sides so I can still till the center area.
Since I will not be living there yet, I am going to wait on getting my chickens, and I will use the chicken side of things to plant the many, many, flowers I took from my old garden that are currently still in pots or trays. I’ll have a veritable daylily farm, and then, I guess in the Spring of 2017 I should end up with hundreds of daylily divisions I can use in my ornamental beds once construction is complete.
I’m just excited to be on the cusp of gardening again.