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DIY: Miniature Chicken Garden

Oh winter, how do I miss my gardens and hanging outside with my flock as they meander around me. Today, instead of feeling glum, I decided to make a miniature chicken garden. Actually, I got a bit carried away and made a few. Once I got started I could not help myself.  As I planted up these sweet little gardens, I was envisioning being in my gardens with my own flock. I swear I could here these tiny little chickens carrying on, clucking as to which garden they wanted to explore.

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Chicken Coop Tour with Edible landscaping + Chicken Art Giveaway

We had the pleasure of keeping chickens for the past five years. Over those years, I’ve learned a good deal about their overall care, needs, and simple ways to make it easier to care for them. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been busy landscaping around the new coop and run and adding some sweet touches to the inside of the coop. It is still a work in progress, but I thought that you’d like to see what I have been up to! Outside the coop, I’ve planted a garden with edibles and chicken safe plants. Still in their infancy, I love to combine veggies, herbs, berry bushes, and perennials to give the garden a cottage look. Let’s take a little coop tour.

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Gardening with Backyard Chickens

gardening with chickens
Plant containers full of edibles. This container is filled with lettuce, pansies and sugar snap peas.

One of my favorite things in the world is watching my chickens explore their surroundings when they are out during supervised free-ranging. Chickens left unsupervised can devastate gardens and landscaping in mere minutes, especially gardens with new tender plantings. I’ve picked up many tips over the years and today I’d like to share them with you that have made life much easier with the girls and their appetite for exploration and delicious goodies. Gardening with chickens when done correctly, is a wonderful experience.

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How To Add Herbs to the Coop

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Fresh herbs and flowers dry along side mini-potatoes and garlic on vintage flower bulb drying trays.

Like most chicken keepers, I love spending time in the garden. Each year I plant and grow plenty of herbs for the family and the chickens.  In the summer, the girls enjoy nibbling on the fresh herbs. However, as the season begins to come to a close, we harvest what remains in the garden before the first frost. We then dry the herbs prior to future use. We use a few different techniques to dry the herbs and flowers based on their moisture content. Once dried, we use the herbs in cooking and also in the chicken coop!  Adding a sprinkle of dried chicken-safe herbs to the coop helps keep insects, mice, and parasites away. Plus I think it soothes the girls during their egg laying. To learn how to add herbs to the chicken coop read on.

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Sunday Herbfest

Each year I make it a point to plant Nasturtiums, a lovely entirely edible herb, near the chicken coop.  This year, I have had to plant them three times as other little critters beside the chickens have found them to be absolutely delicious.  The chickens love them.  I happen to think that they smell and taste like capers.  It never takes long for the girls to notice when I push the stalks up against the wire of the run. Oyster Cracker, my little piggy, always comes over first to take a nibble. Planting herbs for hens is a wonderful way to keep them happy when they can’t free range and also provide a nice source of shade from the summer sun.

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Top Ten Easiest Plants to Grow for Your Chickens

One of the things I love about living on Cape Cod is that it is full of avid gardeners.  In the Spring, those gardeners love to have plant sales.  I love going to them, because many of the plants you purchase come from other people’s backyards.  They are hardy, prolific and grow well in the areas where we live.  The plant sale that I look the most forward to is run each May by the Thornton Burgess Society.

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Easy DIY Raised Garden Beds

Two years ago, I was enlisted as the Project Coordinator for a new school yard garden project.  It was the first of its kind on school property and was started on a shoestring budget.  One way that we kept cost down was to build our own raised beds.  After scouring various gardening magazines and internet sites, I combined much of what I saw to form simple and easy gardening beds.  This project requires beginning woodworking skills.  Alone, it took me a just a morning to complete, including the time spent at Home Depot purchasing the supplies.