06 November 2010

Nothing like compost turning day to make chickens happy

Today I made a new compost bin with some straw bales and transferred my working pile into it. Every time I work with soil or compost I find I have five helpers underfoot. The other three aren't in this picture because they are at the old pile. They love eating the bugs and juicy bits that are exposed. I didn't add the second layer of bales until I had filled the first, just to save myself some work. The old bin was starting to collapse and I used the decomposing straw to layer with the partially broken down compost. I'll continue to add garden stuff and kitchen scraps until the spring when I'll turn everything in with the winter's chicken litter. The straw bales allow the entire pile to heat up right out to the edges and keep the pile warm for a long time.

The garden is starting to look a bit ratty around the edges, not surprising since we've had lots of frosty nights and lots of rain. Some things, like the kale and carrots are at their sweetest now. I had lots of comments on my instant garden this year. We moved the raised beds, compost and old straw bales from the old house and ordered some new soil. Within a couple of weeks I had tomatoes and pepper plants in and lots of other stuff planted. It was basically time to start planting the fall garden at that point, so I chose things with that in mind. I didn't do any of the season extension things that I was planning to do as we got sidetracked by house stuff, but I did discover that simply planting things midsummer instead of spring allows them to keep going longer into the fall. Easy.


  1. What a great compost bin and the lucky chickens sure seem to like it too. I bet that your cold hardy greens are starting to get a nice flavor to them. What is it that you have growing in the far corner of the bed next to your straw pile in that second picture...cress or carrots?

  2. Those are sweeeeeeet carrots. I have read somewhere that you should keep your chickens out of the compost to prevent them from eating spoiled food or fermented things. I haven't noticed any ill effects from letting them eat what they want but I may be asking for trouble. Still, it gives them such pleasure to scratch around in it.



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