By Penny Woodward
Lizzie and Jane feeding on their microgreens
A variety of green feed is essential to chook welfare and happiness. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, ranging from allowing your chooks to free-range to supplying all their greens in the chook pen. My girls don’t free-range, their pen, though, does get moved every few weeks to a new position. I provide them with fresh green leaves every day, usually just dropped into the pen. Alternatively they can be hung in a bunch, or placed into a basket. Keeping them off the ground helps to keep the leaves clean and prevents contamination from chook poo. Plants that can be harvested from the average garden and fed to chooks are weeds like dandelions, milk thistle and cleavers; vegie leaves such as brassica, lettuce and silverbeet, and herbs including borage, comfrey, lemon balm, nasturtiums and chicory. Some of these can also be grown in pots, placed in the pen and then removed to re-grow. Comfrey is a particularly important green for chooks as it is high in protein, potassium and calcium, as well as several important amino acids. I try to make sure my hens have a little comfrey every day. Read more
Article and photos by Penny Woodward
Marigolds, garlic chives and basil with tomatoes and sweet corn
I’m getting my garden bed ready to plant sweet corn. I know its early but it is so much warmer this year that I am putting everything in a bit earlier.
In brief Sweet corn (Zea mays) is a native of Central and Southern America. There are three main types: standard, sugar-enhanced and super sweet. They are all annuals that can be grown in most climates and should be planted in late spring in temperate regions, September to January in the sub-tropics and all year in the tropics. The prefer soils pH of 5.5 to 7, like nutrient rich soil and copious water during cob production. Space plants 25cm apart in rows 50 cm apart, harvest 3 months after sowing, and you will know they are ready to pick when the silk turns brown and the cop angles away from the stem. If you want to know more then keep reading! Read more
Organic Gardener’s Essential Guide: Vegies A – Z
Rising costs have combined with anxiety about food security to create a critical moment for people considering growing their own food. Right on cue is “Vegies A-Z”. It’s the third OG special (after Getting Started, $10.00, and Fruit, $10.00). Vegies A-Z combines new material with recent OG articles from reliable writers. My quibble with this third volume is that there is not more on soil preparation, which is crucial. Perhaps that’s in Getting Started? Perhaps the three volumes need to be read seriatum, and would make a great gift, possibly to yourself. PW is a major contributor. — AMS.
Note: There is more on soil preparation in Getting Started which is unfortunately currently out of print. A reprint is planned for later this year
Borrow a copy from your library, buy one from your local newsagent or go to the store on this website and buy a copy online