How I grow vegies

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to keep a visual diary of my vegetable gardening. The main area where I grow vegies is right near our back door and is comprised of 6 circular beds, 2m in diameter. I chose circles for garden beds after reading Linda Woodrow's book, The Permaculture Home Garden, about 18 months ago. It made so much sense that if you had chooks of course you would utilise their energy and put them to work in the vegie patch. The main difference in my garden and the book is that I don't have the space close to the house for a "mandala" garden, which Linda describes, my beds are set out in one long straight line. One day I would like to give the mandala system a go, I particularly like the idea of the central circle being a habitat for beneficial wildlife, such as lizards and frogs, etc.

Since starting the chook dome garden, it has been a challenge to find the right length of time to keep the chooks on each bed. I originally was putting them on for 3 weeks, but discovered that this was not long enough, as by the time they were back to circle 1, that bed was not ready to be harvested yet. For the last few circles, I have kept them on for 6 weeks, and so far so good. This allows each bed about 9 months of growing, before having the chooks come in and cultivate again. I made the chook dome out of materials that were scrounged and it tooks about 3 days. It is not the prettiest thing to look at, but it has lasted well and is doing the job. The chooks don't sleep in there, they have a permanent pen to go in at night. In the morning they race straight for the chook dome, waiting for me to scatter in their grain, along with any vegie scraps from the kitchen. At night it is the same routine, I let them out and they run to their 'night time pen' to have their dinner before bed. We keep a container in the kitchen and all of our raw vegie scraps go to the chook dome garden, as well as spent plants, hedge trimmings, wood ash, grass clippings, autumn leaves, manure (cow and horse), as well as the goaty bedding straw from our 2 goats. Anything really that is of vegetable matter ends up in there, with the idea being, at planting time you have a wonderful, thick, nutritious mulch to plant into that needs no further fertilizing. The chook dome is due to rotate in another 2 weeks, at the end of January. Here is how it is looking today:

Bed 6: The remains of broccoli, peas, red cabbage and celery. Due to have chooks in 2 weeks.


Bed 1: The remains of potatoes.


Bed 2: Broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and spring onions.


Bed 3: Tomatoes (x6), pumpkins (x2, using a ladder), gold zucchini, patty pan squash


Bed 4: Zucchini, squash, tomotoes (x3), corn.

Bed 5: Currently housing 3 x Isa Brown chook rotary hoes. Due for planting in 2 weeks.

Comments

  1. Love your site. How long do you have to wait after the chooks have been on a bed before you can plant vegies? I thought the manure was a bit toxic for a while.

    Kathryn

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kathryn, I plant the beds straight after the chooks move onto the next bed (ie. the very next day). The manure on it's own can be very 'hot' but if you add plenty of organic matter while they are tending that bed, and dry material like straw/dry leaves then the manure is dispersed and the plants cope fine. Our plants get a little handful of compost to go in amongst the organic matter, just to shield their roots until they take off which has been working great. It's a fabulous way to garden with maximum yields for minimum effort! Hope this helps :)

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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