17 March 2010

Protecting the vegetable plot from free range chickens

The weather's getting better and we've had quite a few sunny, warm days. It may be because we've had more chickens than usual this winter or because there's been very little growth of grass and weeds around the house
but the chickens have really pecked down every single thing that they can find to eat and the vegetable garden looks like the aftermath of an atomic attack !

If I don't do something to protect the perennial vegetables and self seeded Parsley and Coriander coming through they'll be destroyed, so covering everything has been the priority for the past few days. I can normally just lay a few sticks across the seedlings but the chickens aren't finding much to eat elsewhere so they're particularly determined and a light hand just won't work.

To protect larger plants like Rhubarb and Artichokes I normally use old fruit boxes or make bamboo criss-cross frames but last year we cut down a lot of trees suffering from Horse Chestnut Canker and so this year we've loads of Chestnut whips growing from the stools. I decided to use them to make lots of plant supports and for weaving around raised beds and they're perfect for making cages for protecting the new growth and certainly more aesthetically pleasing than old wooden boxes.

Our friend and lodger, Laetitia has started her new job just a few kilometres from here at Montagnac la Crempse just next to Villamblard. She's hoping to start learning how to make chestnut furniture and garden supports with the association "Les Enfants du Pays de Beleyme" so she got a bit of practice at the weekend and gave me a hand into the bargain.



Update two weeks later....

9 comments:

Tim said...

Even the utilitarian parts of your garden are beautiful!

Rosie said...

They are so lovely. Any ideas on keeping them off new grass seed??

La Ferme de Sourrou said...

Thanks Tim !

Rosie, you can try covering it with chicken wire or anything to stop them scratching that will let the light and the rain in but if the seed's exposed they'll eat it.

Laura said...

love the use of waste wood around the place looks great and is a good practical solution to what would be waste. I make all sorts of things with our wips including woven gates.
P.S I changed my blog to a new host and the url you have for me is the old one. It would be great if you could update it http://masdudiable.com thanks

La Ferme de Sourrou said...

Sorry Laura, I've changed it now !

Thanks.

Heather said...

What a beautiful way to protect your plants. I'm going to try that with our fruit tree prunings when we get our chickens.

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

Oh I so love those Chestnut "cages". I have been making the willow style ones we learned during the filming of my time with the Willow furniture maker. but these! I am inspired to try a few of these with thin saplings and branches. maybe even with some grapevines.
I enjoy seeing your place so much through your site. Always a pleasure to come visit.

su said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
daharja said...

Beautiful way of dealing with chicken attack.

We're trying to work our heads around the same issue before our first planting season - how to keep the chooks on free range, while setting up a new veggie plot. All we can think of to date is a Really Big Fence!

And maybe guard dogs. And sentries on duty 24 hours. LOL.

It's a problem. Thanks for sharing your solution.

Leanne over at Cluttercut

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