I’m getting a better early start this year than I did last spring but I’m still two months behind. I guess it-is-what-it-is but I do soooo disapprove of lateness. Just this past weekend I (with the help of wonderful friends) was able to get my market garden plowed for planting and build out my duck breeding yards. I’m way behind on my spring duck production! I’ve currently got my Welsh Harlequins and my Black Cayuga ducks sectioned off for breeding. At this point, it looks like my Cayuga harvest won’t be until the end of July *bleh*. I should have had them in their yards by the first of February instead of the end of March. *sigh* Next year…
The Muscovy will be a staggered harvest this year since one of my hens couldn’t decide if she wanted to set that giant clutch of eggs she’d laid or not. Little Miss Queeny went broody in December but I wouldn’t let her brood any duck eggs until February (so she wasn’t trying to raise warm weather Amazon waterfowl babies in January). I replaced them all with infertile chicken eggs instead. By February I think she was just tuckered out and sick of being inside all the time. I’m crossing my fingers now… she’s gathered herself a clutch of 15 eggs in a new nesting spot and for the past two days has been more committed to them than the last batch. If this is the real deal then I’m looking for babies in 35 days.
Permaculture is the word here at Moose Manor: chickens, ducks & geese are all welcome in the garden at the appropriate time for each of them to do their happy little jobs.
Chickens first. They scratch, scratch, scratch at the soil. Dump in the spring cleaning from the poultry houses and the chickens will spread it all around for you. They'll also scratch up weeds, eat weed seeds and bugs; all the while depositing nitrogen rich fertilizer right where you need it. You can use a chicken tractor or just fence them in.
What's good for the goose is... good for the lazy gardener! It's also unnecessary to weed if you bring in a few geese. They'll eat up your weeds for you. Careful with your cabbages and lettuce though... they'll scarf that up too. Just herd the geese to the pasture once your strawberries start to ripen so they don't ruin your plans for pie!
I reckon the agenda for this weekend is to move the chickens into the garden plot, clean the duckbarns so I can spread all that nutrient rich composted manure and straw around for the kickin' chickin's to till in, and get my farm-stand signs made for the Moyaone Market (3rd Saturday every month at 2311 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD).
I’m very excited about the veggie selections I’ve made. I hope Mother Nature cooperates and that my California green-thumb has accompanied me the 3,000 miles to the mid-Atlantic! I’ll keep you posted.