I don’t know if anyone else has had the same trouble I have this year, but I could not locate Jalapeno Pepper plants anywhere. None of my usual garden shops had them, or if they did they sold out early in the season. Going without Jalapenos just isn’t an option in my household since one of our favorite treats is Cheddar Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos. So, I went to my local feed store and carefully read all of the Jalapeno seed packages to see how long it took for the seeds to bear harvestable fruit. The average was 75 days, so I did a little math in my head and if I figured it right, I still had enough time before it got cold here on the East Coast. What did I have to lose?
Over the past couple of years we have been constructing a little raised garden bed “city” at one edge of our vineyard. My little city grows slowly as we can afford materials and have the time to build and fill the beds. I call it a “city” because the perimeter is fenced with 8 foot heavy gauge deer netting. Otherwise there would be nothing left in there except the lumber and a few scraps of weed barrier cloth. Because it is heavily fortified, I love taking a chicken or 2 with me when I go down to work in my little garden city. They not only keep me company and entertain me while I’m working, but they also help control the Grass Spider population.
For those of you that follow Rooster Hooch on Facebook or the Blog, you probably remember baby Charlie that was born earlier this year. She is still young but none of my flock has accepted her really well. Most days she hangs out with me as I work. I nicknamed her Peanut. She is insanely fast. She is always zipping around and always under foot but cute as a button. So on the day that I was planting my Jalapenos, Peanut was in my garden city with me. Some of you may already see where this is going…
Peanut scratched in the fresh compost two beds over. She chipped and chirped about little bugs she found. I set about cutting little crosses in the weed barrier and pushing 2 seeds down in the soft soil in each hole. I went down the rows like this and then went to the second bed to finish off my packet of seeds. Suddenly, a movement caught my eye and I realized without my noticing, Peanut had gotten behind me. She was carefully removing the Jalapeno seeds from each hole and then patiently waiting for me to move to the next hole to deposit her treat. Anyone care to take a guess on where I stand on the subject of Gardening with Chickens?