This weekend we are having a magnificent “January thaw”. Temperatures, yesterday reached +13℃ with lots of beautiful sunshine.
Today, we still have the warm temperatures but with lots of rain. LOTS of rain. The rain has currently stopped so I went outside to do a little walk-about. How wonderful it was to see my plants and trees, to pull a clump or two of grass, to envision the possibilities.
What wasn’t so wonderful was seeing the results of the chicken’s scavenging. I find it interesting that the walnut tree provides such a challenge for creating a community of plants and yet this seems to be the favourite spot for the chickens. Admittedly, this is probably due to the fact that I have put a lot of straw down in that area, around the plants that I have added, trying to create a lovely little corner guild to my property. The bugs must not care about the toxicity of the walnut tree. The chickens have had a hay-day.
The straw is, once again, is no longer on the garden bed but strewn across the lawn. The branches that had held down the straw are also pulled out across the grass. Last year’s new plants are.. well, we’ll just have to wait and see, but it doesn’t look good. I don’t think the two cranberry bushes are anywhere to be found. But maybe I just didn’t see them. I will cross my fingers.
So, what is the back-up plan.
1. only plant good-sized plants in this area. The full-sized cranberry bush that I had transplanted into the area seems untouched.
2. add more fencing. I have a small row of fencing on the west side of the area and this seems to have deterred the chickens well. Two years ago I had chicken wire covering the straw and this worked ok, as long as I had heavy branches on top of it. But I removed the chicken wire last year to put in the new plants. I didn’t want them growing up through the wire.
Perhaps if a fence of some sort around the whole area will keep them out. Perhaps, with the fence installed I can fill the area with mulch and be a lovely little garden plot ready for the next stage of development.
This will “kill two birds with one stone” as they say (and no I’m not referring to the demise of the chickens). I will be filling in the corner of the property, 1) making it an official garden bed and less haphazard than its current condition and 2) I will send the chickens off to another area of my gardens to do their scavenging.
-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)