Yep, If I had chickens in my backyard I'd call one Aunty Linda. It's all Bronson's fault though! In that great Australian kids TV series "Round the Twist" Bronson finds a baby in the cabbage patch and his sister becomes "Aunty Linda". That's a great name for a chook I reckon! But I don't have chooks. I like the idea of chooks but I think the reality would be a vastly different. At night driving home I often see a fox scurrying across the road and I don't fancy encouraging them into the yard. Also my big brave pussy catto "Pilchards" is scared of his own shadow so I think he would be pretty put out with chickens roaming around in his domain! A friend of mine in Victoria has just made the tree change and got four chookies today. Her 5 acres is filling up fast with talk of sheep, beef cattle and alpacas!!! My 1/4 acre might hold a couple of goats, but there isn't enough room for much more. Definitely not for a pack of alpacas anyway!
I have turned over part of the yard to production though. My one 1200x900mm Hills Adda Garden raised veggie bed has now become SIX veggie beds. I have read up a little on companion planting and crop rotation and even keep a veggie bed book, so I can easily look back on what worked and what didn't. I'm planting veggies that are more resilient to bugs as I don't use any pesticides or herbicides. Large African Marigolds are my only line of defence. So I don't grow cabbage because you cant see the bugs inside until the crop is complete, picked and cut open. Instead I grow broccoli because the bugs eat the leaves not the heads and they are really easy to pick off and throw to the local birds as a treat.
At the moment I am growing sugar snap peas, red emperor beans, dwarf french beans, brocolli, brussel sprouts, 3 different kinds of cucumbers, 2 kinds of chillies, silverbeet, spring onions and herbs in pots. Just the usual suspects thyme, mint, chives, parsley and rosemary. I have a dwarf lemon tree too, which has good sized fruit, but it seems hesitant to ripen. I don't use much by way of fertiliser, rather I treat the soil between crops with worm wee and my own compost. That one compost bin just wasn't enough, I now have 5 on the burst!
At times there is an excess and I'm happy to be able to share it. Couple a chicks at work do keep chookies, so from time to time I get eggs in return. 6 beds will not mean I can avoid trips to the fruito, but it does mean that I get super fresh veggies to supplement the bought stuff. How many more beds would I need to be self sufficient? Probably more than I have room for. Another 3 or 4 would mean greater variety and, naturally, more produce, but the backyard would begin to look a bit....... a bit less like a backyard I suppose.
I took some pics with my new toy camera today, so here they are.