My garden is pitiful this season. This is partly because porch construction covered the entire backyard during the main planting weeks, and partly because the of the Fowl Pests. But we did try. The kids and I stood between piles of lumber and cement and literally threw seeds into the raised bed. We labeled them, but somehow nothing looks familiar. Is that really broccoli? Why does the spinach look so odd? How is it that we are unable to grow radishes (the go-to crop for kindergarten classes)?
To keep out the Vegetation Annihilators (aka: the hens) I constructed a hoop house and covered it with plastic netting. (They still manage to stick their beaks in and peck clean the plants near the edges.) This system is proving less functional that I imagined since it’s a logistical nightmare to take it on and off. For a gardener with two small children, the ability to weed and harvest in 90 second chunks is key. So dealing with the netting means my bed is full of unwanted plants and unhealthy wanted plants.
Solutions? I can construct a more functional hoop house or I can construct a chicken run.
Pros: We love having the chickens clucking around the backyard. Chicken TV (aka: the window) is hilarious. When we’re outside they follow us around and beg to be petted. They make adorable sounds.
Cons: They lay waste to every unprotected garden bed. They kick dirt and mulch into the grass. They poop all over the yard. (Granted, it’s way less disgusting than dog crap, in my opinion, but still…)
My need to grow things may win over my desire to let the chickens have free reign. I’ll think on it this winter. Any ideas?