When we planned our garden gate, we wanted the rods to be spaced far enough apart for Rebecca to get through, but not wide enough for a dog’s head to get stuck. What we didn’t account for was chickens.
The new iron gate is attached to a wooden fence, encircling the garden. We have a deer fence running around a good bit of our property, which attaches to the wooden garden fence. It has worked beautifully to keep the deer out and the dogs in (although periodically the dogs find yet another hole the bunnies have chewed in the fence, and Cherisse has to patch it up).
It didn’t take too long for the chickens to find the flower garden, the iron fence, and a bunny hole. And so a brave few have been making their escape.
The first chicken I found in the flower garden I tried in vain to get over the wooden fence. I wanted her to fly over, but she just ran back and forth, between the prickly holly bushes and the flowers; Koa, thinking it was a game, chased her, which didn’t help. Next I put a little table alongside the fence to use as a stepping-stone. She ignored it. Finally, in desperation I dug a hole under the fence, which she went under. Then I filled the hole back up.
By Monday, three more chickens had made it into the flower garden and then through the iron gate. Cherisse and her mother herded them back in. Tuesday there was another breakout, possibly through a bunny hole.
Soon I think we will have even bigger problems to deal with than escapees: it is only a matter of time until they hit the mother lode—the vegetable garden. Since 2007, I have kept a garden journal, recording what is planted in each bed, charting the annual rotation so the same crop families are planted in different places each year, noting when seeds were started indoors, planted outdoors, weather conditions, successes and failures. Without fail, April and May have a lot of information. June was well documented in 2007. July is spotty; but by August, there is nothing.
And yet, so much is happening out there. Some crops are failing, for a variety of reasons: pests, soil deficiencies, too little—or too much—water (this year the eggplant and peppers simply did not grow; I am not sure why). Decisions on what not to plant the next year are made (no giant kohlrabi—they take up too much room in my limited bed space, plus I have picked my first one and am completely intimidated by it…see below!). Recipes are experimented with; old favorites are made and sent to the chest freezer to enjoy in winter months (squash soup, zucchini bread, ratatouille). August in the garden is busy, no matter what my records indicate: keeping ahead of late tomato blight, harvesting, weeding—always weeding.