This garden is a fenced circle about 35 feet in diameter, and it looks like a bit of a jungle right now. We have recently harvested kale, fava beans, onions, garlic, raspberries, lettuce, and parsley from it in the late Spring. The fall and winter garden is close to the house, which is important because you don't want to go too far for some lettuce when it is 40 degrees and raining. Another great thing is that it is fully fenced so that I can let the chickens run all over the yard in the winter. There is nothing more depressing than birds hanging out in a muddy poopy winter run, and it is a pain to keep enough dry (or dry-ish!) straw in there.
For small chickens to be out in the yard, I needed to put up a run cover, or the red shouldered hawks around here would happily carry them off one by one. To do this, I added to the pole in the center with a piece of bamboo I cut from our hedge, strung up cheap mason line from the center pole to the circular fence in a umbrella pattern, and spread the netting over the top.
I ordered the aviary netting on Amazon. It's nylon and it comes in big pieces. I got the 50' by 50'. It was under $70, and was very easy to work with. What a relief! I highly recommend it.
In the past I have used this other cheap stuff from the garden store, which I DO NOT recommend:
It comes in big pieces, like 60x60 because it is for covering fruit trees and... I hate it!! It's the worst! It snags on everything, I mean everything, until you are extremely grumpy. Then there is no way that you can take it down and reuse it without it ripping! NEVER buy this crap! Use something else. For just keeping birds off fruit trees I now use mosquito netting, which does not snag nearly as much, does not damage the trees, and discourages the birds around here just fine. Plus, if you use white mosquito netting from over your bed like I did in desperation one year, it will look like your cherry tree is getting married.
But I am getting off topic! Ah.... yes, chickens preparing my fall planting area. Eating greens, weeding, scratching, fertilizing. I am practically a permaculture genius. Maybe Bill Mollison will be calling me soon to consult on his next book.
Now these chickens will hopefully eat everything leftover in here, scratch everything up and and ahem, fertilize. The winter garden is over in June and needs to be replanted in August. The idea is that when the meat birds in here are ready for the freezer, it will be time to plant the fall garden.
I wonder how many seasons it will take for them to kill the Bermuda grass....
I'll let you know and I'll definitely post when we plant.
Here's one of my favorite hens checking things out. She raised these baby birds for me, and now they are bigger than she is. What a cutie.
Found one last onion! Life if good!