Asparagus & Chickens Natural Companions
We do not garden alone, well organic gardeners do not. They understand that it is the cooperation between the gardener, the pollinators (bees and many others), insects, earthworms and ever smaller creatures,plus the elements, that makes the garden grow.
Relationships and functions are keys to being a happy and successful gardener. The more you understand the functions of the various elements in your garden, the better situated you are to grow healthy plants.
Information and ideas come from many sources and being aware of your need keeps you focused so that when a piece of information that can , for example, help you grow better asparagus or open the door to other gardening possibilities, crosses your path you stop and take a closer look.
I collect gardening books and am very fond of books that were written years back, they often contain forgotten or little heard wisdom.
The other day it was raining and I was looking over my library and spotted Linda Tilgner’s Proven Tips for Lazy Gardeners. Lazy Gardeners, now that is close to what I am saying but I prefer aware to lazy; why do work that is not necessary? It is better to add elements to the garden design that will do the work for you and serve other functions as well.
When it comes to asparagus, Tilgner provides the following advice:
“My Dad had the ideal solution for weeds in his asparagus patch,’ a grower explains. “ He built a fence around the bed, and after the harvest, when the spears had grown up tall and lacy, let his chickens loose inside the fence. They ate all the weeds, kept the asparagus beetle under control and fertilized the soil with their droppings.”
The chickens also provide eggs which is another benefit. This is cooperative gardening at its best letting one garden element do the work that humans would otherwise do. This saves time and energy and frees up the gardener to undertake other tasks.
When you design your garden bed ask yourself what roles the various elements will play and what functions they will serve before you add them. Create a garden that reduces the work you do and you will find gardening is a very rewarding experience.
- Permaculture Landscape Design: Fruit Tree Companion Planting and Animal Guilds
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