Ducks have proven to be a critical part of the garden. Allow me to encourage you to add some to yours.
They eat slugs; many, many slugs. They waddle to and fro destroying very little. Watch out for your flower bulbs (they eat them) and your lettuces (they trample them) but all around the laughter that fills the yard is quite pleasant. When the pond gets crowded, ducks are yummy with rice pilaf and spinach salad and the down makes a lofty pillow (how resourceful!).
Ducks also devour pea seeds and sprouts. The floating row cover renders useless to the nature of the wriggling duckbill; functional for ranging chickens, F.Y.I., but futile under the influence of Quackers. Because of the pricey lesson last year, this winter the peas go to the front where the ducks are unable to roam. We instead will have to chance it with crows, weasels, voles and cottontails.
When the native Indian Plum (oemleria cerasifomis)begins to show its leaves, it is time to begin the pea crop. We planted today and will plant in two weeks, twice over, to ensure a longer harvest. Varieties this early season include ‘Sugar Star’ (snap) and ‘Oregon Sugar Pod II’ (snow). As the weather warms we'll use warmer tolerant varieties.
English peas classify as legumes- a nitrogen fixer into the soil. The deep taproot pulls nutrients up from the hidden layers of the terra firma and deposits them for shallower rooted plants. Peas will get the first crack at this bed and the season shall finish out with summer and winter squash.
Fall nursing included tilled green and horse manure to replace weakened nutrients last garden season.
In the garden we are at the mercy of the weather systems. In terms of expectations, a casual wave of the hand with “we shall see…” is our best outlook! However, let's anticipate, somewhere around Easter, our first picking.