Chickens are great for gobbling up the bugs, and I'm sure they had a great time investigating the restricted area! My hubby said they used to allow the ducks to clean up the bugs in the garden, as they didn't peck at the veggies like the chickens would.
I've pulled all my plants, spread the unfinished compost over the bed, and now that the leaves are falling, we've chopped them up with the mower, then went over the area again and bagged them and put those on the garden as well. Haven't tilled it in yet, since we've been getting rain frequently (wish it had come in June and July, but better late than never!). Have lots of dropped sticks and bush trimmings to burn in the outdoor firepit, and I will scatter those ashes on the garden as well afterwards. It's been either too windy or too rainy to do that yet, but supposed to be clear and not so windy tonight, so hopefully that chore will also be done soon.
Need to relocate my strawberry bed, so hoping to figure out where to put it and get it ready this fall so I can transplant them early in the spring.
When we had the big garden, we'd pull everything up and let the chickens in. They are such a hoot to watch as they attack the area they've been fenced out of all season!. They finish up any leftover or rotting stuff and have a ball with the worms and grubs. Later, we rake leaves and pile them on top and add some of the wood ash from the stove throughout the winter.
Now that I only have a couple of raised beds and no chickens, it's different.
After I remove the plants, I sprinkle my raised beds with some blood meal and bone meal and a little wood ash. I top that with shredded leaves and let it sit for the winter. Early in spring I add compost and turn everything into the soil. Its worked great for years.
Fitness Minutes: (19,501) Posts: 2,571 10/11/12 3:38 P
Cow, sheep, rabbit, horse, and chicken manure are all great! You want to stay away from manures from animals that will eat meat, like dogs, cats, or pigs. I had fish tanks and would always add the water, etc, from cleaning them to the garden or compost pile (or use the water to water my plants and add the solids to the garden).
Adding manures in the fall lets them mellow enough so that they don't burn the plants in the spring. And if you can get some well aged horse manure, it may also be loaded with earthworms! That's what I did, and even added a bucket of it to my compost bin so I would have lots of earthworms. Had them for years until shrews decided to nest in my compost bin and ate up all my worms. Now I have to find another stable in the area that will let me come and get some manure from them so I can have earthworms all over again.
I take out the old plants and lay them on top of the garden soil along with compost from a tumbling composter that I have, Them I let them lay out for the winter and turn them into the soil before I plant next season , I currently don't use any fertelizer but was thinking about using cow manure.
Fitness Minutes: (19,501) Posts: 2,571 10/11/12 3:27 P
After I pull all the plants (and any weeds that I find), I empty the compost bin and put the unfinished compost on the garden, then dig it in (I will do this again first thing in the spring before planting). I then take my chopped up leaves and grass clippings and put them on top of the beds and leave them until spring to be tilled in. If I have lots of leaves, I will put up a chicken wire fence around the garden to keep them from blowing away. I also put the kitchen scraps directly on this "pile" throughout the winter instead of putting them in the compost bin, especially if the bin is pretty full anyway. I chop up the leaves by first mowing over them in the lawn without a bagger. Then I put the bagger on the mower and mow in a different direction. This allows some of the leaves to go down to the roots of the grass, to feed it as well. Chopping them first helps them to break down better. If I leave them whole, they tend to clump and don't break down at all, which makes it harder to dig them in come springtime, and also means the ground takes longer to dry out enough to actually till.
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