Awesome Backyard Ecosystem

The dragon and her feeder
The dragon and her feeder

Hi there from Geoff again, long time no see! Wanna know something else that’s awesome about keeping chickens in your backyard? It’s the garden ecosystem it creates!

Now that you have your DIY chicken feeder, (you did make this, right?) you’ve probably noticed that wild birds hang around to pick up any scraps left behind by your chickens. However, the birds leave behind the “food dust” that’s just too small to even bother trying to eat. But where does this food dust go to? It’s there in the evening but gone in the morning…

Mrs Torquington
Mrs Torquington

I’d recommend going out into the garden with a flashlight after dark! 

First off, we have the snails. They are attracted to the smell of the food dust and come crawling out from their hiding places. You can usually see them if it’s been raining. We have around 5 or 6 large snails in our garden, the largest being Mrs Torquington (pictured).

Along with the snails, we have a variety of insects that are also attracted to the food dust. If you were to venture into the garden you would see crickets, cockroaches and beetles munching on the delicious food dust.

Before you screw up your face and say, “ewww” consider this for a moment. The snails and insects are attracted to the dust. This means that they prefer the dust to your plants. So having them all congregate on one section of the garden is beneficial to your veggie garden!

Reginald the Cane Toad
Reginald the Cane Toad

Another benefit to having the invertebrate army in one spot is that predators are also attracted. This is also beneficial to the garden as they love to eat all those crunchy / slimy things that come out after dark. 

My favorite predator is Reginald the Cane Toad. He can be seen stalking the garden almost every night. His favorite spot is to sit right under the chicken feeder and wait for the food to come to him.

During the day we have predatory birds, perching up in the tree just waiting for anything to poke it’s head out of the undergrowth. My two favorite birds are the Red vented Bulbul and the Indian Mynah, both beautiful animals! The insects also attract a variety of lizards including anoles and geckos! The anoles can be seen chilling out, upside-down on the tree, puffing out their colorful throat fans!

Bulbul, Mynah, Gecko & Anole - photos from google
Bulbul, Mynah, Gecko & Anole – photos from google

Having chickens is awesome, you already know that. But if you take the time to sit and watch from a chicken’s perspective, you really do see a whole new world. If you don’t have a chicken, buy some food dust anyway and enjoy your garden ecosystem!

Grow Your Own Awesomeness

Lilikoi flower

Today we are going to be focusing all of our awesomeness on our back-gardens. Have you ever walked into a grocery store, wandered around in the ‘fresh herbs’ section then run out of the store crying because you are poor? No? Well neither have we…*coughs*…but just to make sure that nobody else has to endure this horrible ordeal, please keep reading.

One thing that living on $20 a day has shown us, is to always keep our eyes open for things that will save us money. Wandering round our local home-improvement store one day (as you do, right?), I was struck by an epiphany…Potted herbs are actually cheaper than ‘fresh’ herbs at the supermarket. Literally, a living, breathing, green onion plant was a few cents cheaper than ‘fresh’ herbs at the supermarket! “Aha”, you may gasp, “now I can buy all of my herbs at the hardware store!”. But wait, there’s more! You know if you plant that stuff in the garden, there’s a good chance it will grow right?! So for a few cents LESS than buying some ‘fresh’ herbs ONCE, you can now eat those herbs whenever you want in the future, for FREE!

Habenero Pepper (top), Lilikoi (middle), Thai Basil (bottom)
Habenero Pepper (top), Lilikoi (middle), Thai Basil (bottom)

This doesn’t just apply to herbs, all fruits and vegetables are fair game!

Now, I’m not claiming to be a green-fingered demi-god in the garden, I just plant stuff in the garden wherever I have space and it usually grows! If it dies, so what, you haven’t really lost anything that you weren’t going to spend anyway!

We might have a bit of an advantage, though, due to our location…pretty much anything will grow in the tropics (apart from strawberries it seems)! Right now in the garden we have habenero peppers, lilikoi (passion fruit), Thai basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, lavender, aloe, green onions, thyme and ginger (although the last one is technically a weed).

Even if you live in Alaska, you can still grow things indoors, in a window-box in the kitchen, a plant pot in the bathroom, an old shoe…anywhere! Besides being awesome, it’ll also make your house smell good (you remember how awesome your house smells when you have a Christmas tree, right?). There’s no excuse for spending a fortune on supermarket herbs, you just need to remember to water.

Anti-chicken warfare
Anti-chicken warfare

“But wait!”, I hear you scream, “Don’t you have chicken-saurus-rexes who will eat everything in your garden?”. Good point. I concede that having chickens and herbs co-existing in the garden does pose a bit of a conundrum. Never fear though, chicken lovers can have their herb-cake and eat it, with a little hard-work.

Introducing the anti-chicken herb-box. Using patented anti-chicken material (also known as chicken wire) you are able to successfully avoid herb-rage!

All you need to do is take a plank of wood, cut it into four pieces, screw, nail or glue it together, and cover it with chicken wire! Voila! The chickens will no longer be able to eat your precious greenery! Note that for my version, I actually included a lid that gives you easier access to the herbs inside.

The finished product - note the confused chickens...
The finished product – note the confused chickens…

All this took was to take another long bit of wood (in this case 1″ x 2″ x 10′) and cut the pieces the same size as the pieces that you cut from the plank. Screw, nail or glue them together and connect the lid to the bottom with a hinge. Easy peasy! You can also use the same patented anti-chicken material to build a mini fence around important plants (like my precious Habeneros). At the same time you are simultaneously saving money, time, and the environment. If you aren’t growing your own food, you aren’t being awesome enough!

Grow a pair, and grow a pear!

Peace. G.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...