An Accidental Garden

sunflowerWe’ve been planning to put in raised beds this year, but that project keeps getting bumped by others. Time is running out – soon, cold weather will arrive and the window of opportunity will close to grow veggies without cold frames or hoops.

You can imagine our surprise when we noticed some green weeds coming up where the rooster tractor had been. These weeds were different from the other vegetation that grows in the pasture, so it piqued our interest. The plants looked like some kind of flowers, with thick stalks. We’ll call this group 1.

Even stranger, another group of weeds that looked a little like thin stalks of corn was growing in the same field. We’ll call this group 2. We knew it wasn’t corn, but what in the world could it be?

As we pondered this mystery, we realized that the growth pattern followed the rooster tractor boundaries. Periodically, we’d fed the roosters black oil sunflower seeds and whole oats as treats. It’s conceivable that they may have missed a few in the grass. Could this be what was growing?

The answer came fairly quickly. Group 1 grew heads that, one day, opened to reveal sunflowers. Cheerful and brightly colored, the flowers followed the sun across the sky. What a surprise to have them appear.

oatsGroup 2 continued to grow green, cornlike stalks, then put forth a different stem that had a structure at the top that looked like a grass seed head. Upon closer inspection, it was clearly a grain. Oats!

The roosters had apparently missed some of the sunflower seeds and whole oats we had tossed to them. We’ll just watch these plants continue to grow and if they mature, we’ll happily feed the sunflowers and oats (v2.0) back to the chickens. Who can complain about a no-maintenance garden?