Friday, May 14, 2010

The best soil on my property

I am very excited. I found some leaf mold on my property - in the air conditioning unit!

Apparently leaves have been falling and landing in the air conditioner. Since the air conditioner has never been cleaned, these leaves were free to decompose into the richest soil I have ever put my hands on.

There is more awesome dirt under the bark mulch near my rose bushes. Fallen leaves and bark slowly decomposed and found a moist home under the mulch. Since there is a weed cloth under the mulch this beautiful soil can easily be harvested.

I wonder where else I can get my hands on this magical stuff?

Slug Patrol with Chickens

I have been unable to grow any plants due to slugs eating them before they can fend for themselves. Of course, the weeds do not seem to have much trouble surviving.

Here are some ways I have learned about to control slugs:

1. Poison. I chose not to go this route because a poison that will kill slugs will also kill my earthworms and other beneficial creatures.

2. Dichotomous earth. This product is spread over the ground and slugs get cut as they creep over it. I decided not to use this because it will need to be replaced after it rains, and possibly after being watered.

3. Copper strips. This may work for containers, but not so much to keep slugs out of a new bed unless the bed is raised and has a place to put the copper. I put slugs on a frisbee that had copper wire attached around it, and the slugs seemed to have no problem slithering under or on top of the wire. Perhaps wider copper strips would work - if I could find them.

4. Chickens. This is the method I am attempting now. I got some baby chicks, and hope they will eat enough slugs for me to grow vegetables.

I purchased the chicks at a farm supply / feed store. I am looking forward to these chicks growing and tending to my garden. In addition to eating slugs, they provide nutrient-rich manure, the mix the soil, they eat other insects and leftover foods, and hopefully they will eventually provide healthy eggs.

The best part is enjoying their company. They are quite cute and I am noticing their distinct personalities. They are a welcome part of my garden and my life.