Cleaning up the garden the other day was a delight, as so little was wasted, now that we have chickens.
This sunflower quit being beautiful weeks ago, then poured the rest of its life energy into producing these sunflower seeds – a major treat and excellent nutrition for the chickens. I pushed the outer leaves back to expose more of the seeds, and left a bit of stem on it so I could wind it in the fencing to support the flower head for aggressive pecking.
The scores of sunflowers in our yard are not only beautiful, but they also add essential (and in NM too rare) nitrogen to the soil, and then they produce this otherwise-costly treat for the hens.
Other excellent nutrition from the garden all summer – and continuing – includes dandelion leaves. We eat some of them, but give the majority to the birds, which seem to crave them over all other treats. The roots, of course, are an excellent medicinal – just wash, dry, and put in a jar for later.
We also pulled up all the stickweed – which goes by many names, but most recognize it as the one with bothersome seeds this time of year. We left it in the garden until now because the flowers are pretty, and also because the herb, I’d heard, is a good medicinal.
However, I find there are many plants with the name stickweed, so I’ll have to do more research before I report on this. Anyone want to help?
One site I read said that poultry loves it, but my birds didn’t; either it doesn’t compare to the other food we offer, or else it’s the wrong stickweed.
Also hanging today are catnip trimmings to give the cat in the winter or make relaxing bedtime tea (with flowers – a little late in the season for perfect tea, but still useful). And a little Russian sage that had become bent and broken from hanging in the walkway. I usually wrap it as a smudge stick before hanging, but dried as is for a dry flower arrangement later.
Finally, we harvested the last of the red flame grapes:
Now, to relax, sit with the cat, eat some grapes, and share some with the hens – who LOVE to eat all those that we’d otherwise compost directly. Now, they’ll go through a bird first.