Broccoli and chickens


Winter may be in full force, but that doesn’t stop us from tinkering in the garden. If you can’t plant ’em, plan ’em! (Sorry.)

Our chickens have been parked in our main garden area for a while now, scratching and fertilizing to their hearts’ content. We’re happy to have them there, but we were starting to eye up several of the beds as potential early-spring planting areas. Specifically, we’d like to put in a boatload of broccoli near the big rock:

Hi, hens!

It may not be that great to plant little seedlings directly in soil that’s freshly manured by chickens. It’s very "hot" stuff, meaning nitrogen-rich, and plants can get damaged by it. (I say "may not be" because at least one farmer we know says that you can plant in a chicken run as soon as one day after removing the chickens. Farming is not an exact science, folks.)

Anyway, we do want the future broccoli bed to rest a while before the seedlings go in. With the moveable fence, it’s no big thing to just morph the shape of the chicken run, excluding that bed. A little straw, and voila: It’s officially on bed rest.

As for the chickens, they’ll stay where they are for another month or two, thereafter to move to a whole new spot a little ways up the hill.

Meanwhile, in the house, our spring and summer garden is taking shape on paper. We’re going to dig up some new beds, pack the ones we have with beautiful veggies, and achieve 100 percent success in raising delicious and attractive crops. That’s right, people: This is the year.

Anyone else out there starting to poke at the soil?