Tired of the poultry eyeing the tomatoes? How about designing a garden with them in mind. They like a diverse selection of healthy foods, just like us, so why not let them collect the low hanging fruit. Let me explain…
These now aged shipping pallet beds were created in the chicken area, which could be a recipe for disaster, unless you think of all parties in your design. Wild chickens are all around in Hawaii, so everyone thinks about how to keep them out, but few think in terms of working with them in the garden. The pallet garden was the perfect place to plant a sprawling wild type cherry tomato. Dime sized and quite acidic, they make a great cooking tomato, tossed by the handful into curries, stir fry, sauce. They are easy to grow and resist mildews. Prolific enough to share with the barnyard.
The pallets are 4′ tall, so that leaves that entire length of a drop for tomato, and in this case, Mexican Oregano plants also drape the sides of the pallets. This creates a shaded, edible environment, that also gives some protection from the heavy rains that flooded the area just a few days ago. In the photo above, Indigo surveys the area for ripe tomatoes that are at “chicken level.” The ones at the top, are harvested for human consumption, and the ones near the ground become a U pick for the pig and the chickens. The bonus is that they are constantly looking for tomatoes, and in the process, they find all of the snails and slugs and get them too.
Here Red walks the “tomato zone” to see if she missed any. She is just coming through a long molt, so she is happy to be out of the coop and strutting her stuff with the others.
Indigo, the neighborhood rooster enjoys showing the hens the fallen tomatoes after the storm. Everyone wins, everyone gets a share.
2 thoughts on “Creating a U Pick Tomato Garden for the Poultry”
That’s so awesome! I’m not familiar with Hawaii but in CA my grandparents struggle with squirrels and rabbits every day. How does your garden handle other critters?
Aloha Danielle, thanks for stopping by. It is a work in progress, but I have found that some really simple, but continuous efforts can make a great impact on protecting your garden or farm. I just put up a simple bamboo bird perch to allow the songbirds to hunt the pickleworm moth in the squash patch. I put out beer traps to capture our giant slugs and snails, I make fruit fly traps out of reclaimed iced beverage cups, and then bring the poultry through when I turn the compost, so that they keep the fly population to a minimum. Rodents are a tough one, so I taught the farm dogs to track them, then snap trapping them. The owls that hunt above can then take the non-poisoned rodents back to their nest for food. That is how my little farm does it! The pallet gardens would be quite effective against rabbit attacks. Just locate heat treated pallets and wire them together, then fill with compostable materials. Plant. Enjoy!