Tag / Gardening with Chickens

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Plants

Luck of the Flock: Planting Clover for Chickens

chick in grass
Discovering clover for the first time.

I absolutely love to see lawns filled with clover.  Did you know that not only does it help to support the lawn but their blooms are well loved by bees? It is not uncommon for me to see the plants’ blooms buzzing with my bees. It is also beneficial to the flock, easy to grow and requires no care. It’s one of the easiest way to start gardening for your chickens.

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Plants Seasonal Care

8 Top Vines to Grow on Your Chicken Coop

I love gardening with chickens. It has been something that I have enjoyed immensely over the years. One of the most beneficial ways to maximize your space in the garden is to think vertically by adding climbing vines. This gardening trick allows you to make the most of the garden space that you have available. The perfect often overlooked place to consider growing vines is on your chicken coop. Vines provide your chickens shade, a bit of protection for aerial predators and a tasty snack that can be foraged through the run. Today I’m sharing my top 8 perennial and annual vines that are chicken safe, hardy, and delicious for both you and your flock. 

Chickens Findings Gardening Gardening with Chickens Plants Projects

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.

Gardening Plants Projects

Adding Raised Garden Beds in the Fall

As most of you know, late this summer we moved across town. One of the most difficult things that I had to do was leave behind what we designed and grew from nothing 13 years ago. Over those years, I turned a vacant lot into a lush oasis, filled with perennial walking gardens, blue stone patios, a fabulous chicken garden, a honeybee apiary and a lovely area of raised garden beds. My heart still pines for those gardens, wondering how they are growing without my daily tending. Weirdly, I miss my plants. I had no idea they were such a part of me.  But with change, comes new opportunities and I got a head start on next year’s vegetable garden at the new place.

Chickens Giveaways

Chickens as Organic Garden Helpers

Have you thought about gardening with chickens but just don’t know where to start? Today, I’m sharing with you some terrific tips to get started and also a fun DIY gardening project to recycle your flock’s eggshells into seedling starters.

Original Melissa Caughey -oyster cracker in garden

Sometimes I compare my backyard to an oasis. My kids spend hours playing in the grass and the garden provides fresh vegetables for my family. It’s a place where I go to clear my head, a place where all my worries drift away. Because my family and I love my lawn and garden so much, I have given a lot of thought into keeping the backyard healthy. One of the best helpers I’ve found? My flock of backyard chickens – and, in turn, the feed they eat. I feed my chickens in the morning, let them free-range and forage throughout the day and then bring them into their coop at night. Not only does this keep the chickens happy, it also helps my plants keep growing! The chickens eat insects, aerate the lawn, love eating weeds and even produce fertilizer!

Ready to add chickens to your backyard? Here are four steps to get started!

Chickens DIY Projects Gardening Gardening with Chickens Tours

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.

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Plants Seasonal Care

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.

Gardening Tours

Blooms: The Boston Flower and Garden Show

We got in from vacation two days ago and it seems that I have so much that I want to share with everyone! We have so many wonderful things coming in the days ahead including a huge giveaway starting April 2nd. You will not want to miss! But first, we have some catching up to do.

A couple weeks ago, I made the trek to Boston for the annual flower and garden show. Over the past few years, this show has had a rocky existence. A few years back, there was no show. It was a huge disappointment to many of us who looked forward to the show each year. However, despite the struggling economy and times, I am happy that the horticultural society revived the show continues to make an effort. Gardening is timeless. It is therapeutic and always trendy. Whether it be grand or quaint, it can make a huge impact. Much of my inspiration for the Spring and Summer seasons ahead come from gardening shows.

Of course, I am always searching for chickens at these shows, because they are the heart of my garden. They are the personalities that make the garden come alive amongst it’s splendor and color. They are the humor. They are the moving composters and exterminators who flit quietly and sometimes quickly across the scene.

There were plenty of beautiful blooms.

 

Fun sitting areas
Gorgeous floating staircases over water
Exotic birds from Australia
Yet the only place I found chickens was in one of the lovely miniature gardens.
I did however find these adorable succulents in ceramic egg containers.
I just had to have one.
This season, I am looking forward to waking up my gardens again from their winter slumber and creating a garden just for our chickens. Here is what I did last year. The girls absolutely loved it! Even if you don’t garden, try creating a few portable container gardens for your chickens that you can introduce into the run. They take up little space and don’t require free-ranging to partake in the fun.
Update: Our sponsor, My Pet Chicken, has just announced the April 2nd giveaway that I eluded to in the first paragraph of this post! It has been so hard to keep under wraps. We are giving away a chicken coop! Click here for details and be sure to come back on April 2nd and enter to win.

Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest

Gardening Tours

Rhode Island Flower Show 2012

I was so excited to to make the hour long trip to Rhode Island for this wonderful annual flower show.  This show always helps me get over the Winter hump to Spring.  This year’s theme was Simple Pleasures.

Woodland Retreat
Simple garden trellises save room by growing vertically

 

Herbs and lettuce take up little to no space at all.

 

Fido’s doghouse has a green roof!
Every year the sand sculptors wow the crowds.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Garden

 

Garden whimsy flying a kite

 

Woodland fairy garden.

 

Classic New England gardening shed

The only thing that would have made it better, would have been some backyard chickens tucked away in one of the gardens.  To me, they are the simplest pleasure you can add to your garden.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens

Book Review: Free Range Chicken Gardens

A little over a week ago, I was sent a copy of Free Range Chicken Gardens to review by the publisher, Timber Press. I was so excited and could not wait to dive into this book that involved two of my favorite hobbies, gardening and chickens.
This book is wonderful. Right from the start it is clear that the author, Jessi Bloom, loves her flock and is not only incredibly knowledgeable about chickens but also about her full-time landscaping profession. She share tips and tidbits along the way that help to steer newbies away from potential pitfalls. The book covers all the bases and could easily be a place for people to start off when they are considering adding a flock to their landscape. She covers it all.
Landscape design/planting suggestions
Protecting plants and gardens from the flock
Growing worms for your flock
Poisonous Plants
Composting
Creating chicken tractor and coops
Urban and Rural chicken gardens
Predators
Introducing a dog to a flock of chickens
Chickens relating to other livestock, game birds, and bees.
Health Issues

Things I love about the book:
It is thorough and innovative.
It gives ideas and examples along the way and makes it “real” by sharing personal vignettes.
It has gorgeous photos (photographer Kate Baldwin)
It has several blueprints.
It covers yards and spaces of various sizes.
Where my opinion differs:
Feeding and encouraging your chickens to eat slugs.
This book is well-written and would be a true asset to every chicken owner. Even if you never plan on creating a garden oasis, in your backyard, you would be remiss if you did not purchase this book. If you keep a flock in your yard, large or small, this book will help you optimize your set-up for healthy happy chickens.
This book has now become one of my favorite chicken books. Thank you Timber Press!
I have not received any compensation for my review other than a copy of this book.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest