We enjoyed a sunny day in the southern hemisphere today – a first in what seems like many months. It was a day when I was able to get out into the garden and start to think about my summer produce garden. I intend to get my chooks to do most of the work – lazy or not? I’ll let you decide.
Chooks love to forage and scratch around in the dirt. In their natural bush environment they do this to find tasty morsels of protein in the form of bugs, worms and other little soil dwelling critters. They also peck and sample tasty morsels of weeds as they go. Along with the scratching they are very efficient at clearing up a garden bed in preparation for the next crop.
We are in the middle of moving to our rural property and with this comes cleaning up the garden beds that I have used in our rental property to return them to what they were when we arrived (which was pretty bare and unproductive, actually). So while the weather was warm today I gave the chooks a practice run and set them up in what was my pumpkin bed last summer to scratch it over, provide some fertiliser and generally clean the area up.
Now admittedly I could have got the hoe out and dug over the weeds and scratched the soil around, but the sound of the chooks clucking around out there happily in the sunshine and the fact that I can get on and do other things in the meantime is a great incentive to let them do what they do best.
Now that they have had a good practice, not that they really needed it, I can start to think about getting them to clear the new beds at the farm and start to think about what I might plant in my summer beds. I think the 10 most useful summer vegetables will definitely be on my list, but I might try my hand at a few other things too … I definitely need to revive my herb beds and some cucumbers and eggplants will be on the agenda too.
But first I need to work towards the chooks’ happiness and give them some foraging time on the untouched earth of our farm which will form the basis of our summer food production this year. Then I can get on and do some other things while they are busy doing what they love to do.
What will you be planting in your summer garden this year?