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mutually beneficial critters/garden  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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my plan is always evolving when it comes to developing a sustainable homestead and finding mutually beneficial "partnerships" between animals and plants is key to my plan. The thread on sunflowers got me thinking more. I have used pigs to create a new garden. They dug out and ate all the bermuda on a previous patch of lawn. After the pigs went to freezer camp I tossed some scratch over the area daily and the chickens smoothed and refined the surface and helped scratch in the compost that I dumped on. Although I must contain them when setting out seedlings or planting, the chickens help control insects around the garden when it is more mature. Guineas are better at this but I quickly realized that I could not tolerate the noise and they went to another home until my garden and poultry house can be located farther from the residence. The goats eat weeds and finished plants uprooted from the garden and happily clean up the garden area in the fall. The wasted hay from winter feeding is not wasted at all. It smothers weeds all summer. The partnerships have benefits for me as well. I get eggs, meat, milk and fertilizer in the way of manure and Help with backbreaking work such as busting and removing sod.
 
Susan Hoke
Posts: 36
Location: Western NC
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Leah Sattler wrote:
The partnerships have benefits for me as well. I get eggs, meat, milk and fertilizer in the way of manure and Help with backbreaking work such as busting and removing sod.



Leah, you are so right! Animal Tractors! The original weedeaters! BugZappers! We only have chickens right now. They run for the garden every chance they get. Have to keep them away from the potato patch though. They'll dig up the taters in their search for bugs.
 
Leah Sattler
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watch out they will eat your tomatoes too!!!  my pipe dream plans alwalys include how to best place pens, housing,fencing and gates to utilize the animals better. I want the goats to be able to reach through stock panel fencing on all the property to weed eat for me. I want a chicken moat around my garden to keep the bermuda from creeping in. That sort of thing.
 
Charley Hoke
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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Leah Sattler wrote:
watch out they will eat your tomatoes too!!!


Yes they will! I had been watching our first tomato ripen for a couple of days, probably one more day and I was going to have my first mater and onion sandwich of the year. However yesterday the chickens decided it was ready right then. The bright side is they enjoyed it.

I like the idea of the chicken moat, my problem is my garden is kinda big and a double fence around it would be costly. Not only that my garden is spread out in many different areas.

I have been trying to train my young dog Pearl to run the chickens out of the garden, problem is she is only interested in catching junebugs and grasshoppers.
 
Leah Sattler
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well, my dogs helped me out yesterday with the chicken problem the one that was venturing into the garden and mutilating tomatoes ventured past the hot wire and became a doggy play toy/dinner. she was an old hen I need t omake into soup anyway so I don't mind one bit that shes gone. survival of the fittest/ least annoying around here! pretty soon with "natural selection" I will hopefully have a flock of not so adventurous chickens.
 
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