Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Gardening with Chickens

Here in Southern California we had a couple of warm weeks at the end of January. It's hard to have such nice weather and an empty garden and although we usually have frost well into March (and often April!), I decided to experiment and set out some cool weather seedlings to see how things went.

I did the garden prep and setup a fence inside the garden area so that the chickens could still come in and tend the unplanted side of the garden.

The first weekend in February, I put out 4-5 broccoli seedlings and 2 rows of sweet pea seed. The next weekend we had a pretty hard frost. Two of the broccoli did NOT look well. This week we had a hard freeze (I'm down to one thriving broccoli seedling now) and are expecting snow again this weekend!
If you've ever wondered about the many benefits of chicken-keeping, take a look at my garden. The left side is the planted side of the garden. If you squint really hard might be able to see (actually.. probably not) my lone surviving broccoli seedling at the far end of the garden. The right side is what the garden looks like after the chickens have been taking care of business for only an hour! Every thing's been turned just beautifully. And my girls with their muddy feet and beaks are fat and happy with their worm and bug dinner delights!

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