Newman Pastures
A Whidbey Island Pasture-Based Farm
2100 Newman Rd
Langley, WA 98260

Newman Pastures Blog

Goats and birds prepping a garden

Behind our barn we have a lovely field with no trees on it, but since it hasn’t been grazed or hayed in years, it has become overgrown with thistles, stinging nettles, and blackberries. So, I took our mega-sized chicken pyramid and some PoultryNet electric chicken fence (from Premier 1 Supplies) and filled the area with a dozen turkeys, a hundred chickens and two goats (soon to be five goats). So far, they’re doing a great job knocking down the vegetation. The goats are nibbling away at the brush, and the chickens are scratching at the ground tearing up roots, and the turkeys hunt for whatever bugs and vegetation they can find. Once they bring their total destruction to one part of the field, the fence will be moved to another part.


Inside the mega-pyramid, I’m building up a deep bedding pack. There are two primary ways to deal with livestock droppings in a clean manner: 1) run away from it via rotation, 2) bury it in deep bedding. So, on the perimeter of this project, we’ll be doing fence moves. In the middle, I have the mega-pyramid, which I’ll leave in place probably for a couple months. During that time, I’ll be adding fresh wood chips and leaf mulch from my newly-acquired wood chipper to the ground. This will keep things warm and clean. Once spring rolls around, it will hopefully start composting rapidly, and should make excellent fertilizer for our garden.



According to the conversations with the Newmans, that particular field was used for growing sweet corn that was sold at the roadside. I might follow their lead on that and use a large portion of the field for sweet corn next year. Corn is a great “drive-by-and-buy-some” farm item. Anything else you want to see coming from the backyard garden?

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