Some squash from last seasons garden. Squash take a really long time to fruit and might actually be perennial if the dry season doesn't kill them. (At the old farm I had vines still flowering and fruiting after more than a year.). These bad boys took about 7 months, and some weren't fully ripe. But they were being stolen, so I brought them in. Plus I wanted that space for something else.
I've been plugging away at planting. I generally clean a short 20ft row and replant it each day. I am putting in tomato, cabbage and collard transplants, and direct seeding Swiss chard and 7 or 8 varieties of local green leafy veggies. My giant chile peppers have become chile trees, and the tree collards are about 4 feet tall.
I've had a problem with mulching, because the chickens won't leave the mulch alone. There must be good life under there because they insist on scratching it up, and end up ripping up my plants in their enthusiasm. I dont like any bare soil, but im waiting to put down mulch cover until my plants are well established.
Every month i slide the chicken tractor-composter over to fresh grass, and, gee how did that garden get there? I go over the bare spot with a fork to remove as much of the invasive grass root that I can, and then I plant into it and scatter seed. Wow. These little lazy-woman gardens produce more veggies than my two large gardens combined. The chickens and the compost leave behind a fertility bomb. The greens growing here are huge, with leaves 3x as big, and they even seem to taste better.
Chickens. My kenbros are down to only 14. According to the advertising, this patented breed is supposed to be hardy and self-sufficient. Not so, says I. They are as dumb as they come, terrible scavengers, ridiculously tame, no scratching and no instincts. If I let them out, they just follow me around, waiting to be fed. They won't dig on the compost, and if it rains and they can't get back in the tractor, they dont have enough brain to seek shelter in the bushes or under the eves. They are easy pickings for predators and human thieves because they are so slow and docile. On the other end of the spectrum I have 3 kienyeji hens, 1 mature rooster, and 2 young roosters. These are almost wild chickens, super efficient scavengers, mad scratchers, fast as hell, able to fly short distances, predator saavy, impossible to catch, insanely broody and very slow to mature. These guys are my compost workers, but they hate being confined in the tractor. They make a break for it every time I open it for feeding and watering. A few days ago I added 20 mystery chicks to my brooder. I suspect they are the throw-away roosters from a layer hen nursery. (The seller tried to cheat me that they were kari improved, but I'm sure they are NOT.). They sell these throw away male chicks for 30 cents each, and I figured I would try raising a few just for meat while I'm waiting for my other chickens to start laying.