I have been procrastinating on a weedy bed for several months now and I have no desire to dig up this piece of troublesome dirt to turn it onto productive ground. Grasses and oxalis are rife and now even thistles are setting up shop. I’ve been putting it off for months, and every week that goes by the weeds become more established and gnarly.

But the solution has been right in front of me. I can’t quite believe that I overlooked the most convenient and effective roto-vator tool that I have to hand – my chooks!

Stubborn weeds can be a bugger to dig out

Blinded by my old ways

I guess I was still tormented by thoughts of my the last bed clearance. The adjacent bed was cleared by hand to prepare the soil for my asparagus. Those guys don’t like root competition! So I had painstakingly sifted through the soil to filter out pernicious roots and bulbs no less than three times so the apara-guys would be happy. I obviously wasn’t meticulous enough though, as the oxalis and grass continue to persevere.

The simple thought of having to do it all again for the next stretch of garden had paralysed me into inaction . Funny how you can get stuck on a way of doing things, thinking it is the only way, even when there are other solutions literally at your back door! Big lesson there. I was blind to the chicken solution until a recent visitor suggested letting the girls loose on the patch.

Mobilising the Chicken Tractor

So on Friday a small area was fenced off and yesterday the girls were relocated in there to do there business. Already you can see that have made their mark, stripping the surface greenery and exposing the soil. It will take them at least a week of scratching to get up most of the roots. Hopefully they can get deep enough to reach the oxalis bulbs, although the tap root of the thistles will be another challenge.

Chicken Tractor

Those chickens are wily besoms though. They have been escaping containment regularly. I found all three in the neighbour’s garden this morning. I regathered and secured them but once again Lyra made a break for it when I wasn’t looking. I’ve now laid ti kouka leaves across the top to discourage them trying to fly out. Let’s see how long that lasts!

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