Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chooks on the garden go round and round

Now if you have been paying attention you would have noticed the chook dome over the pond. Why? Well it wasn't done to provide the chickens with an indoor pool during the summer months, if that is what you were thinking. Actually, that reminds me of a funny story...

One day Speckles had escaped by tunnelling under the fence and in an attempt to catch her she made a run for it across the pond. Not realising of course that below the Azolla is a foot of water. It made it very easy for me to catch her and gave me a good laugh.

Anyway, the reason for the dome over the pond is that I had no other place to put it while the chickens where taking a holiday in the outer chicken run. Mind you they seem to find life working the garden much more of a holiday. It might be difficult to notice in the photos but the girls just love being put in the dome. Imagine spending 3 months watching an abundance of delicious food growing on the other side of the fence and only managing to sample it by stretching your neck through the wire. Till one day you are let loose to eat it all.

But the really wonderful thing is it's a win win situation. They get a treat and we get a whole heap of work done, that I would prefer not do, completely preparing the beds ready for the next round of planting. Including composting the remaining vegetation, removing bugs and seeds, and adding manure.

In the Linda Woodrow system the chooks go round the garden twice a year. Once from January to March, and again from July to September. It takes the chickens only two weeks to completely prepare a bed, which I find quite amazing. With 6 beds it takes 3 months for them to complete the whole garden.

Due to running behind on the July to September rotation we are still behind on the January to March one. As we just started a rotation when we should in fact be finishing one we are completely out of phase with Linda’s system. The intention was to catch up but that would have meant sacrificing some still productive plants. This is one part of Linda's system that I am going to have to get use to. Keeping those chickens rotating and rotating on time I do believe will result in an overall greater yield. But for someone who finds it even difficult to harvest, it is going to be a personal challenge. I find it such a rewarding feeling watching the plants grow it’s hard to rip them up. My mum claims I even use to get upset when she flushed my poo. Well... I put a lot of effort in.


  1. Jason I wonder if you have to adjust the timing according to your climate. Linda lives in Northern NSW and you live in Victoria so maybe you need to rotate at different times than she does.My garden is always ahead of my Melbourne friend's and I'm only in Sydney.

    Thanks for my Gumboot seeds BTW, I am going to plant some this weekend.

    1. I live in SA but you still maybe right. As I have no baseline to compare with though I want to give Linda's recommendations a go then experiment out from there. But it does seem I am doing it in reverse. Either way if I try both timings I will find out which is best for me.

      I am pleased to hear the seeds arrived. May they yield some great vegetables.

  2. Sorry, don't know where I got the Vic idea. I'm sure you will be able to work out the timing for the rotation to suit you, gardens are very individual. My garden is very warm compared to other local gardens, some of my nearby friends get frost but I never have, people come to my house in the winter to sunbathe.

    I planted the Bok Choy at the weekend and already there are signs of life. :)

    1. The effects of micro climates is very interesting. I am still learning mine. I don't tend to get frosts either. I got the same Bok Choy popping up too.


If you don't know which option to select... Name/URL is a recommended option. And you only need to provide a name.