My spouse and I have been helping out on our friend’s organic farm in Carmel Valley, harvesting vegetables, planting cover crops, making compost, and getting everything ready for winter. While we are clearing out garden beds, instead of weeding by hand, we have been weeding by chicken, letting the resident poultry help us to cultivate the soil.
Chickens are very useful when it is time to dig up beds; not only do they eat noxious weeds, pests and withered plant matter, their pooping, foraging and pecking really improves the tilth and fertility of the soil. The farm chickens have even developed a special fondness for poison oak. They also work tirelessly, don’t complain, and are always happy to get their feet dirty.
Peter clears the heirloom tomatoes that got withered by last week’s snowfall.
The chickens are very eager to help cultivate the garden bed, even before any of the tomato plants have been removed.