We did not do very well with winter crops in the garden. By not very well, I mean life caught us in a series of squalls and nothing was planted for winter. But spring is coming and we’ll start up again. Like baseball, everything works well in the spring.
In the meantime, what if there was a way to reduce the squash bug population, aggressively fertilize the earth, till the surface thoroughly, lower overall operating capital and labor while improving our protein machines?
Turns out chickens are good for all that. She is the supreme predator of the pestilent squash bug eggs. Hens are rapid and cheerful tillers, turning over the top soils and integrating top level biomass into the soil to accelerate composting. Free fertilizers with strong nitrogen content are deposited all over the garden. They do all this unsupervised while laying improved eggs daily. It’s a great deal and a fun example of integrative ecological systems benefiting each other.
In all of the tilling work they uncovered more troves of sweet potatoes from rogue vines. These are past a freeze date and not good for people to eat. They are also not part of the hen cuisine in our area.
But they are dynamite for happy piggies going through winter. More on that later.