Sunday, November 22, 2015

What am I doing?! Oh making gardens for chickens.

I've been thinking a lot about life recently for various reasons. As in what am I doing with my life?
You also get asked that a LOT when you go off grid and a really focused Simple Life.
I find that a little confusing. Did I prefer constant headaches and contributing to a system I find silly better to fresh air, being surrounded by plants and seeing a visible, real output to my work? Why is that a question?

Yeah they don't ask me like that, but still.

What if I go on holiday, or want to work on an interstate contract?
As I get older, especially assuming I'm alone, how can the Gardens look after themselves and me?
So much of what I do with life also affects the Gardens.
Yet also I consider the idea I can start again on new land. Every garden I make gets edible and pretty faster.
But really the garden is really a very direct connection and part of my life.
What I do with my life affects the design of the garden.

and the end practical point of a lot of that is....

How can I design garden beds for chickens to be able to free range through them freely?

Big chook resistant plants surrounded by rocks.

The theme of the Wallaby's Rock Garden is Relax. Enjoyment of the gardens is a huge part of it. It is supposed to be easy to look after. It is supposed to be for animals and wildlife as well as humans.

Right now most garden beds have fences. These are to protect against cows, rabbits and chickens. Very few beds don't have a fence and very few plants or trees don't.

I want the chickens to be able to completely free range.
Foxes make that tricky.
I want the gardens to feed the chooks so I don't need to.
I want the gardens to protect them.
I don't want the chickens to destroy the garden.
I don't want to step on chicken poop.
A chook friendly garden is likely a wild bird friendly garden.
I want chickens and especially ducks to eat slugs.

The View Bed. Fence dug into ground. 
So I need a few garden bed 'types'
  • Fenced chook, fox, rabbit and rat proof
  • Fenced chook and rabbit proof
  • Unfenced and chook friendly.
Cow proofing is generally a larger than garden bed fence.

Also much of this will be succession planning.
A young garden may not be able to handle chickens kicking the mulch around but a garden with larger mature herbs could.
The 'View Garden' I want to be unfenced in future but for now the plants need to grow up without chickeny, and especially bunny, attentions.
As the plants get bigger I can put more rocks around to protect them and the chickens can scratch freely.

Chickens would be fine under here.
I'm looking at my various garden beds and considering fencing changes.
Some places would be fine without but I'm also using them to help shelter less resilient plants. Maybe just fence around the weak little annuals?

As the gardens are all new I'm still a little wary of opening them up but it will happen more.

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