Here's my plan to start a new veg garden for the spring on pasture.
- 5 hens in a mobile set up, 25m net
- I feed them about 25 gal of kitchen scraps and spent grains.
- as may woodchips as I want
- 2m3 of 1 year old sheep manure
- 2m3 of compost in varying stages
My plan is to use the chickens to work for me,
1) put chickens in new spot, chuck kitchen scraps in for them to eat
2) as they finish off the grass, add wheelbarrowloads of woodchips, compost, manure to their run and let them spread it around.
3) when everything is spread and no weeds poke through, move chickens on and let land rest. Repeat at 1) for the next spot
(I shall actually ask the landscaper to drop the chips directly in the area I want the garden to be. Less shoveling for me
4) Cover prepared beds-to-be with plastic (I have it allready at hand including wire staples) at least those for sown crops such as carrots and spinach, come sowing time, rake chips away to expose soil for seeding.
5) For potatoes, chuck on pasture, cover with a shovel of compost, dump a wheelbarrow of woodchips on top. Wait to harvest. Then follow with brokkoli or kale.
6) Use veg starts rather than direct seeding to facilitate weeding and mulching. Multi-sown as per Charles Dowding
7) Plant through the mulch. Any deep-rooted weeds get trowelled out and fed to the chickens.
- make mushroom slurry and pour on the woodchip pile
- make bokashi with the woodchips and EM1 I've got
- find a source for rock dust and sprinkle it all over the garden area
- maintenance: in autumn/winter run chickens on garden again!
That looks like a good plan Susan. We used our chickens for the first time this year to spread wood chips. We'd dump a wheelbarrow load in 20 spots and an hour later the girls had them spread out. It was magical.
One question though... What is the need for the plastic in step 4? If the chips are deep enough, wouldn't the weeds be blocked? There are some Back to Eden YouTube videos out there the could be interesting as well. He uses lots of wood chips to mulch his gardens.
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