I have been very involved in creating and developing an organic schoolyard garden at my son’s elementary school. This is the first of it’s kind in our town and we have been working steadily, seeing our visions come to fruition. In mid April, we built 30 raised child sized planting beds. Slowly, we have been filling those with compost and soil.
Last week, as the children began to plant seeds in the classrooms, we were given some beautiful seedlings from our local organic farm. Several parents and I began to plant the beets, swiss chard, thyme and lettuce. As we planted in the earth, another parent called us over to look at some bugs she had found. They were termites and they were already eating the wooden side of the untreated wooden raised bed. Ugh! What an upsetting moment. As we discussed treatment options with our soil team, it was difficult to determine what we could use to treat the beds organically and not affect the produce grown in it’s soil.
|These are worker termites like the ones we found.|
Feeling disappointed, I came home and returned a call to my friend with the farm. I told her of the situation and she said to me, “Why don’t you just bring down a few chickens for a couple of hours to do the job?” Genious! With that said, we are going to bring an enclosure that will fit over the affected raised bed on Monday morning. As we sit and sip our coffees, the chickens will be hard at work discovering tasty termites for their voracious appetites. I was thrilled with this solution to say the least, the chickens will be removing unwanted bugs and fertilizing our soil at the same time. What a great learning experience for the students and grown-ups alike. Somehow, I always seem to forget and underestimate the power of the backyard chicken.
Photo Credit: http://www.dpughphoto.com/