Saturday, March 1, 2014

Poop and Soil

It was time to clean out the chicken coop. Again, I had been procrastinating about cleaning it since the weather had been icky and, in truth, it isn't one of my favourite things to do. But I admit, I love getting the wonderful fertilizing poop out of it and getting it into the new garden beds. I have a couple of months before I start seriously planting into them so I will put a layer of raw poop under the soil and let it do its work of amending the soil!

I try to use a deep litter method for the coop, it allows me to be lazy about cleaning the coop. Basically, you add bedding every few weeks and this gets scratched up by the chickens and the poop on the lower levels compost and the poop on top works its way down as time goes by. Due to the composting action of the poop and bedding it keeps the coop warmer and more comfortable for the chickens. Occasionally, I help the process along by stirring up the bedding with a rake. So then that means that I only need to clean the coop quarterly. Some will say you would only have to clean the coop once or twice a year, but I like the coop clean and the chickens seem to, too.

The chickens will be happier in their clean coop, my neighbours will be pleased that the waft of chicken manure into their backyards have ceased for now and my garden will be happy to have the nutrients hidden within the lovely chicken poop!

And so, the poop lays at the bottom of the garden beds, rotting and mellowing for the next month or so and when I am ready to plant, the soil should be rich in nutrients and sweet for the vegetables.

The large pile of dirt in the back yard is being slowly sifted through to clear out rocks, hyacinth bulbs and seashells. It is being transferred to the front beds since, once screened, it is awesome soil.

The pile is about 1/3 smaller than when I started this morning and I have only filled one bed fully, I still have another bed to go. This pile is where my patio is going to be expanded into, so the sooner I am able to get it moved, the sooner I will be able to have a patio for this summer's BBQs.

The screen is borrowed from a friend and is, definitely, a godsend. It makes the process go so much faster and at the end of the day, I have lovely crumbly soil for the garden.

The soil is leftover from a tree removal and a dig out when we remodeled the shed you see behind it (yeah, yeah... we still need to put the siding on it). It's coming along, and spring is almost here so I am feeling good about where it is at at this point even if the rain drove me inside.

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