Actually they were out for hours on Monday and they didn't go into the vegie garden at all. I'm crossing my fingers that they may have got the 'stay out of the vegie garden or you go straight back into your yard' message. At least for a minute.
Consequently, the latest lot of seedlings have germinated and are still in their places. You can see that they are quite happy to push their way through the thin scattering of sugar cane mulch that was on top of the vegie garden.
Once they are bigger I will cull them (for us and for the chickens) and potentially move them around to fill any gaps. I will also over-sow with more seeds in about 2-3 weeks.
Since I tested the pH in the garden and found to my horror that it is only 5.5, I have added dolomite and the pumpkins now appear to be setting. So there you go - plenty of food but the plants can't access it if the pH is wrong. I should have realised, but I didn't think the soil would go acid that fast (it's only a year old). It may be due to leaching from the heavy rain.
I have lots of turmeric and jerusalem artichokes - more still in the ground. Our macadamia is producing - it's so much fun to sit in the garden and eat nuts.
Oh and I realised why there were flies in our garden during the garden visit. I threw some blood and bone on the garden the day before - my apologies, I should have thought. Be assured though, it wasn't the chickens, we don't usually have flies in our garden.