It's official: The great garden clean up of 2014

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Today, I rearranged the electric fencing to allow the chooks into 1/4 of the garden. They have access to the pole beans, one zucchini hill, some lettuce gone to seed, and one side of a cucumber trellis, as well as a section of old lawn. Hopefully this will keep them happy until a killing frost, when they will be allowed to have access to the whole garden. They are spending most of their time under the beans. ? Jap beetles??

Let's hear how your flock is helping with garden clean up. Are you letting them in while stuff is still growing, or keeping them out until you've harvested everything?? And, if they are helping while you are still harvesting, are they leaving anything for you???
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Morning Lazy Gardner!

Our birds get treats out of the garden but at this point we cant let them loose into it (we don't free range mainly because our place is surrounded by neighbors that own large dogs). If we did, I'm sure they would take it all down to the bare ground in no time. One of our future plans is to be able to get the girls out into the garden for "clean up" by sectioning off different areas at a time. That just hasn't made it to the top of the priority list yet as we've only had our little farm for a year now and there has been a lot to do.

We do have goats that have enjoyed the clean up from the gardens. Not that we turn them loose in it (although that has happened a couple times by accident, lol), but as we clear out things, the goats get the leftovers that the chickens don't. Goats will definitely clean up on corn stalks!
I fear that I jumped the gun. they found their way around my carefully laid out barrier, and helped themselves to my tomatoes, and finished off almost all of the late blueberry crop. So, it's back to the run. Today, a couple of big dogs came through, and would have been over the fence and had chicken for breakfast if Hubby and I hadn't been outside at the time.
Those sneaky girls (although I can't blame them for going after the blueberries)!

Glad you were outside when the dogs came. We're surrounded by them and unfortunately, some of the owners don't keep track of them well. Our entire 2 acres is fenced but not with anything that would keep a chicken in or a dog out very well. The dogs and the hawks are a couple of the main reasons we don't free range.

Tell those girls of yours to save you some tomatoes and berries next time. They must have been having the time of their lives pigging out in the garden.

We've had 2 good frosts now. So the garden is officially over except for the tomatoes in the green house. The girls spent the last 2 days playing in the garden, and have had a blast. Today was the first day that I haven't had renegades flying over the fence to eat my grass seed. I've got 2 flats of cold weather crops waiting for the opportunity to get in the ground in some hay bale cold frames. Even started some dill and basil for the kitchen. Had 17 chickens helping me dig potatoes today. Such pests!
17 chickens helping dig potatoes...that must have been fun for all of you!

Can you explain your hay bale cold frames? I've heard of people growing things in hay bales but I'm not sure how you work the cold frame part with it.

I have dill & basil too, love the dill in potato salad and the basil goes in all sorts of things. Also have some oregano, parsley, thyme and cilantro. Love having fresh herbs for cooking and when I get too much of something like basil, I cut it back and sprinkle the cuttings in the coop to help it smell fresh.

Our peppers are about the most prolific thing in the garden now. The chickens love it when I slice a pepper in half, they go nuts for the seeds and a few of the girls will eat bits of the pepper flesh as well. Our big old male goat love him some peppers every day. When he sees me in the garden he "sings" to me until I bring him a couple.
I line up a row of hay bales at the north side of the garden. then I put 2 or 3 hay bales perpendicular and butted up to them. Imagine a E tipped over on it's side. It's easiest to plant everything at this point, before covering it. If you were really organized, you'd plant everything first, then lay out the hay bales around it... but I tend to do everything backwards. Lay some 2 x 4's across the top. This gives me 2 cold frames which are about 30" x 7'. .I then lay cattle panel across the 2 x 4's for some extra support, and cover those with 2 storm panels that I picked up at the Habitat for Humanity store. (they're sized to fit patio doors.) You could use smaller storm windows and size your cold frames accordingly. Be sure that the hay bales are oriented with the opening to the south. Then, after being sure it's all watered well, cover it with heavy plastic, and weight it down at the edges. I lay the plastic out so it completely covers the hay bales in the back, at both sides, and there's still a good amount to peg down to the ground on the south side. It will grow until the ground freezes (outside the cold frame). You can harvest right up until the weather makes it impossible to get into the cold frame (snow and ice). I remove the snow and ice now and then during the winter. Stuff will start growing again as soon as the weather starts to warm up a bit. (for me, around mid to late Feb.) and you'll be harvesting again a couple of weeks later. I get to have salads from my cold frames in mid March. My neighbors typically can't plant in their gardens until late April or Early May.

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