Chicken’s and Making Beautiful Soil!

A very co-operative butterfly having breakfast on my Drumstick tree flower

I just could not imagine my garden without my chicken’s. They have been so valuable over the years in so many ways. From their delicious eggs, to the free fertiliser, to the sheer enjoyment of just being around them. Having said that they can be very painful when you are trying to keep mulch around your trees and garden! I have recently gone from letting mine out all day to only late in the afternoon. They have a very big run to peck around in all day long, and plenty of shade, so it’s not such a bad compromise. In this heat I need to have mulch around my trees and gardens to lock in any moisture I can, so for now this is the plan. The geese and ducks are free to roam around and the guinea fowl, however the guinea fowl seem to want to be with their chicken friends!

I like to make my own dirt for raising seeds etc. by having a layer of mulch/hay on the floor of my chook pen all year round. Then when I clean it out, it all goes to a large compost pile that we turn with the tractor every now and then, as well as my small one right outside the chook pen door.

Dirt in the making!

After a bit of time you will end up with a layer of dirt and hay when you clean it out, the dirt layer will depend on how often you do it and the weather. I throw scraps in here for them too, which encourages them to scratch around and turn it over. Whatever they don’t eat will break down in here or in the compost. Even giving it a rake and stirring it up is good to do occasionally and gives the chickens some excitement!

My small drum outside the chook pen door
Beautiful soil ready for me to use

This takes time, but it is well worth it, when I dig down there are so many worms, it’s so much better than anything you can buy from the shops. Every know and then I throw in my bucket of kitchen scraps and I always wet it down when I go in and clean their water. This will be used in raising my next lot of corn seeds and topping up pots etc. All those little jobs, I’ve already taken some to use in other little gardening projects. So once this is empty I will start again and in 3-4 months it will be looking good again.

I have been enjoying a passionfruit everyday lately. I will start making Passionfruit cordial in the next day or so. It is a favourite around here, the recipe I use is very simple.

  • 1 cup passionfruit pulp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid

Combine the ingredients in a pot and mix well, heat but do not allow it to boil, you just want to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Take it off the heat and leave to cool.

Strain through a fine sieve and pour into sterilised bottles, seal straight away. This will keep for a year and makes around 400ml.

To make a cool drink dilute one part syrup with 4 parts water, lemonade or soda water.

Or you could use it as a syrup over your icecream! Yumm!! I do that with my homemade mulberry and rosella jam. My husband always comments, “You wouldn’t get this at any restaurant” or “You’d have to pay a fortune to eat something like this at a restaurant”. It always reminds me of that Australian movie the Castle, so funny!

I hope you have a lovely weekend, I will be mulching, watering and catching up on jobs in the house and in the garden. It’s supposed to be pretty warm here over the next few days, hopefully the heat might bring some rain or storms. Some rain days would be very welcome! Rain, a good book, a cup of tea, and a little treat, yes please!! : )

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