Things have been moving along well with the beds, the middle bed now has a deep layer of aged compost and manure, topped with some chicken coop flooring, and finished with topsoil/decomposed mulch from the existing garden. I hardly know where to start planting!
While I was emptying the compost pile to fill this bed, I uncovered another rat’s nest. I knew they were hanging out in there. A couple more wheelbarrows in and a huge momma rat jumped out and ran off. We were too slow to get her. She’s still been too wily to step into a rat trap, but she sure doesn’t like the cayenne pepper I’ve spread around the perimeter of the coop where she used to dig in every night. I’m also putting it into the poultry feed itself.
Technically it hasn’t taken me two full days to get this far along, I’ve only worked a total of about 6 hours and that includes driving to pick up materials. I need more daylight hours!
The first bed is nearly complete, it just needs the triangular bottom board on the far side put in and a couple of bracing boards installed to keep the sides from bowing out. I’ve decided on 2 foot wide pathways between the beds instead of 3.
I have been discovering renegade potatoes as I excavate, as well as a lot of grubs and cutworms, which are quickly dispatched by my two-chicken clean-up crew. I even managed to get 3 or 4 wheelbarrow loads worth of chicken pen flooring dumped in, just the spots that were soggiest and had compacted down. I’m leaving the nice, dry and crumbly earth for a top dressing.
Next I’ll start emptying my overflowing compost pile and dump in most of the fresh stuff consisting mostly of rabbit manure, urine-soaked sawdust and cat litter (I use chick crumble for kitty litter) so it will rest deep on the bottom and continue to break down with the help of the worms.
I’m not concerned about putting cat waste into the bottoms of the raised beds since my cats are parasite free and they’ll most likely use the gardens as a litter box anyway. Heck, the chickens think the clumps of cat pee/chick crumble are special treats.