The "helpers" when I turned the soil for the third garden. Note the fence!
Modern produce has been drenched in pesticides (consumer friendly marketing word for poison) and forced grown with questionable fertilizers that strip the vegetables of both flavor and nutrients.
What can you do?
Organic gardening! Turkey manure is a natural fertilizer can be used on your own back yard garden with surprising yields & bring back flavor lost in today's hydroponics.
I have to admit that my wife and I are opinionated on the subject of flavor- I grew up in Missouri and she in New Jersey---Both states renown for the flavor of their dirt grown tomatoes. So we are always disappointed when buying a beautiful tomato from the market and there is NO flavor when we both know what a tomato should taste like.......
Why own turkeys?
If you have reviewed the various web pages, you might have grasped both the headaches and rewards of owning back yard turkeys.
Obviously we push the benefits of pet turkeys & and early on I listed many reasons “Not” to own turkeys.
To be fair & give equal time, here is a short list of the benefits of owning turkeys:
Social animals: These social creatures are interesting and educational to watch; they commonly interact with their human companions and turkeys have a pre-hardwired societal orientation that drives them to be social with whatever birds or animals are in your backyard/barnyard.
Daytime guardians of the chicken flock. Did I mention the snake Alarms?
Companionship, interaction, (some even loving)- please read the story of Bobbles.
Lastly: Organic gardening: The amazing turkey manure. By March the winter tomato plants were 12' tall. Spring tomatoes put in the ground on the first day of spring. --Late by Florida standards however we had a scary late season near freeze.
Morning stroll to check on the birds..
Disclaimer: I am not so sure that I can call our produce “organic” when we use modern seed and feed our turkeys “modern” feed. I suspect it cannot be labeled organic.
However I know for certain that we use NO fertilizers or pesticides and still produce far more vegetables than we can eat. Of course it is the flavor that stands out.
June sunflowers, turkey manure, no poisons!
East coast of Florida: The environment here on the east coast grows giant brackish water mosquitos and palmettos. The soil.... is simply beach sand with a few leaves tossed in.
Before we had turkeys we attempted gardens and they failed miserably.
Until we discovered the outstanding growing properties of turkey manure.
Letting the poults in the garden, but not mom--yet
Florida east coast soil= Sand just plain old sand. Approximately 100,000 years ago, give or take a plethora of millennia:
The east coast of Florida was under the Atlantic ocean, consequently our soil is mostly beach sand, shells and whale fossils (and some shipwrecked Spanish treasure). The result of this salt water dunking--is often stunted oak trees, weak but tall pines and horrible gardens.
Interesting note, Before the benevolent European conquest:
The people living on the east coast of central Florida-healthy and giant-if mosquito bitten did not practice agriculture because---corn would not grow in this beach sand. What they needed was...... Turkey manure!
Memorial Day sunflower & honey bees
The turkey manure is collected daily and buried in 3-4 separate gardens. After the manure is buried- nothing planted within 15' for several months.
We prefer burying the manure over a compost pile, because we live close to the St. Johns River watershed and our hope is that the daily burial of the manure keeps it out of the river. (not that our few turkeys can ever compare to the giant fish kills caused by the cattle living on the flood plain AND the ever growing use of yard fertilizers) however we attempt to do our small part.
Adult turkeys love fresh garden greens, especially tomato leaves. Turkeys will voraciously assail your garden unless a three foot tall fence is installed to keep the birds out.
We have to install fencing around our organic gardens to keep the hungry turkeys out. (However we always leave a gap in the bottom of the fence for small turkey poults to forage for garden pests & to escape the fence).
For us, the fence is a small price to pay to have both our entertaining
turkey flock and organic gardens.
An interesting take on chickens and gardens. About the same a turkeys however the turkeys will do more feasting on the leaves.
Tomato Leaves "My favorite!"
Avoiding the use of pesticides (poison) has its downside.
Tomato worms. I have to physically pick the worms and feed them to the turkeys as snacks.
Well I just learned that! And I was admiring a humming bird moth the other night!
Protein snack of garden pest
The benefit? Free range chicken eggs and home grown tomatoes!
Turkey manure applied to the Mulberry, Guava & Grapefruit trees.
Little hunters patrolling the garden for pests
When the garden plants grow high enough not to get 'trimmed' by the baby turkeys, the fence is lifted to allow the little hunters into the garden to hunt pests. Eventually the hens are allowed in also.
The garden serves other purposes, -shelter from the prying eyes of raptors and shade as the spring progresses to summer.
Did you forget the fence?
Bad or old tomatoes eagerly pecked at by the little ones.
Above: NASA Poster
Photo I took at Kennedy Space Center. Not sure if they are going to use Turkey manure
Why I do not like store bought fertilizers: The slow death of the Indian River Lagoon system
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