Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Unexpected Garden

Every year my wife and I buy some seedlings (tomato, pepper, etc.) from the organic farm stand down the road from us.  We don't plant them in the ground, but rather keep them potted and harvest them that way.  Although we patron the same local organic farm stand for the majority of our summer and fall vegetables, it's always nice (and satisfying) to be able to prepare a meal with what you've grown; it sure holds true for the fresh organic eggs from our backyard flock.

This year however we have two gardens and the chickens get most of the credit for our most unexpected one... In preparation for this past winter we moved our chickens closer to the house.  This gave me a chance to reseed areas in the back half of our backyard (the chicken pasture), as well as more easily manage our chickens over the winter.  This of course meant that their main coop, a 4x8x6 bottomless stationary coop, which doubles as our compost pile would have to be relocated closer to the house.  We use their main coop as our compost pile (especially over the winter) because it allows the chickens to do the majority of the aerating (turning over) as they pick through the straw, grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps for bugs or whatever they find appealing while at the same time adding their own special little ingredient to the mix (chicken poop). 

When spring arrived I moved the coop back to its spring/summer/fall location and reseeded the area near the house where the coop sat over the winter.  I moved most of the compost (at the bottom of the coop) along with it, holding some aside for use in our potted garden of course.  It wasn't long until our grass and clover started taking root and covering the area, but in the past month or so we started to notice other things growing in the area where the coop was.  And when I say "other things" I mean corn, pumpkin, tomato, peppers, and some other plants yet to be identified!  This unexpected plot of land is packed with such a diverse variety of vegetables and grain (corn) that we couldn't have intentionally planted such a lush garden if we tried... whether it proves to be a bountiful one remains to be seen, but never the less it's an impressive sight!

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