Category / Gardening

Chickens Gardening Plants Stories from Our Nest

Nasturtiums

 

Nasturtiums are wonderful, easy to grow annuals that your chickens will love.  Officially known to those in science to be in the family of Tropaeolum, this entire plant is edible, even the beautiful golden yellow, burnt orange and blazing red blossoms.  The plant has a slightly peppery taste as it is a relative to watercress.  These plants have long been used by people to attract beneficial bugs to their gardens and also ward off unwanted pests, such as squash bugs, cucumber beetles and some caterpillars. High in vitamin C, even their seeds, when pickled, are likened to capers.

There are many varieties.  Planting climbing varieties along the outside edges of the run, they will gracefully climb up the hardware cloth or chicken wire around your run.  As they climb, they offer tasty snacks for the girls.  They also offer some welcome shade and some protection from the elements as they form a blanket of beautiful leaves and flowers.

My girls have been sampling them this Spring and cannot get enough.  It truly is a frenzy.  They twist and tilt their heads in all directions, even upside down, to get a nibble of the leaves and flowers.  They jockey for the best position, especially when I push the leaves into the run.  As expected, the girls at the top of the pecking order are the ones involved as I near the coop.  Tilly, Oyster Cracker and Sunshine are all there.  There was also a surprise; Dottie Speckles.  Yes, apparently, she has surpassed all of the Silkies in the pecking order and is now one of the big girls!  She too, timidly got in on the action and the other three could have cared less.  In fact, although they noticed her little beak between theirs, they did not seem to mind.

This weekend, head over to your local garden center.  It’s not too late to plant them, and your girls will love you for it!

Yes, did you notice that the two best friends, my Buff Orpingtons, made a heart with their faces?

Chickens Gardening Tours

Summer’s Gardens at Tilly’s Nest

The warmth of summer is upon the gardens of Tilly’s Nest.  It seems as though we have had a late start this year as compared to last.  The coral bells greet you at the gate as you begin to enter the gardens.

Early hydrangea blossoms begin to bloom and are dotted amongst the gardens.  Our soil tends to be quite acidic, so all of our hydrangea blooms have tinges of blue.

 

Subtle garden sculpture accents the blooms, such as this immortalized shell sculpture.

 

I am particularly fond of succulents given my Southern California roots.  Every chance I get, I incorporate them inside and out.

 

I love mossy clay covered pots and keeping a natural feel to the gardens.

 

In my succulent container garden, a bunny hides amongst the leaves.  At least, this one doesn’t steal nibbles.

 

With the rain we have had the last few days, tiny clumps of mushrooms have popped up in the lawn.  I like to tell the children that fairies live amongst them.  Next month, we are going to create a fairy garden.

 

An oak leaf and pollen were dancing in the bird bath, as the daylily’s leaves reflected in the water.

 

The foxglove has the most gorgeous little speckles peeking out from it’s trumpetlike blooms.

 

The bees too are happy the rain is over, they have been very busy today.

 

Finally, as we make our way through the garden we reach Tilly’s Nest.  The fennel and marjoram are growing nicely and the lovely flowering tree by the coop is done with its show of beautiful white little flowers.

I enjoy gardening very much and love the addition of backyard chickens to the gardens.  I believe that gardens and backyard chickens compliment each other beautifully.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Health Issues Plants Projects

Fresh Herb Garden for Chickens

 

 

Summer is almost upon us.  My daughter and I today took a trip to the local garden center to purchase more herbs for our herb garden and our chickens.  This year, we have decided to place the herb garden in the mulched beds around and near the chicken coop. We thought it was great idea to plant an herb garden for the chickens.

Chickens Findings Gardening Stories from Our Nest

Chickens to the Rescue

I have been very involved in creating and developing an organic schoolyard garden at my son’s elementary school.  This is the first of it’s kind in our town and we have been working steadily, seeing our visions come to fruition.  In mid April, we built 30 raised child sized planting beds.  Slowly, we have been filling those with compost and soil.

Last week, as the children began to plant seeds in the classrooms, we were given some beautiful seedlings from our local organic farm.  Several parents and I began to plant the beets, swiss chard, thyme and lettuce.  As we planted in the earth, another parent called us over to look at some bugs she had found.  They were termites and they were already eating the wooden side of the untreated wooden raised bed.  Ugh!  What an upsetting moment.  As we discussed treatment options with our soil team, it was difficult to determine what we could use to treat the beds organically and not affect the produce grown in it’s soil. 

These are worker termites like the ones we found.

Feeling disappointed, I came home and returned a call to my friend with the farm.  I told her of the situation and she said to me, “Why don’t you just bring down a few chickens for a couple of hours to do the job?”  Genious!  With that said, we are going to bring an enclosure that will fit over the affected raised bed on Monday morning.  As we sit and sip our coffees, the chickens will be hard at work discovering tasty termites for their voracious appetites.  I was thrilled with this solution to say the least,  the chickens will be removing unwanted bugs and fertilizing our soil at the same time.  What a great learning experience for the students and grown-ups alike.  Somehow, I always seem to forget and underestimate the power of the backyard chicken.

Photo Credit: http://www.dpughphoto.com/

Chickens Gardening

Gardens and Supermodels

 

My poor girls, they are so sick of the rain!  I do have to say I am too!  We have had almost 7 straight days now and I just had to get outside.  So, with dinner cooking and camera in tow, I went to take some photos of the beauty after the rain.  Can I just say that Sunshine LOVES the camera?  Well, she does and loves to pose.  She is so curious and somehow in that little chicken brain of hers, she must know that she was destined to be a chicken model.

 

Mom, whatcha doin?

 

Oh, you have your camera with you!

 

Do you mind if I pose for you?

 

Oyster Cracker in all her beauty. Her beak is healing too!

I always find the garden during Spring incredibly beautiful after the rain.  Everything is green and beginning to emerge from the ground.  Here are some of the beautiful things that I discovered today.

 

Findings Gardening

The Wren’s Surprise

A Rare Glimpse

I had been trying all weekend to capture a picture of the Carolina Wren’s eggs that they have built in the nest of my window box.  This is the third year that they have returned to the same window box on our deck!  Last year, we were deeply saddened to find out that their brood had died because their nest had been predatorized by a female Cowbird.  You can imagine our surprise and dismay when both the Carolina Wren parents were doting on a baby Cowbird triple their size! 

Finally this morning, the mother came off the nest.  Instead of discovering tiny little eggs, I witnessed five small little bobbing heads with yellow beaks open for a treat!  I was delighted and happy to see no baby Cowbirds in the nest. I was lucky to have captured this stolen moment. 

This morning I also found the eggs from our house finch’s nest have hatched. I featured their nest a few posts ago hatched.  Here is a glimpse into their world.



There were 3 eggs.  Do you see three babies?

Sorry for the getting sidetracked.  I just could not help share these moments with you. Now…back to blogging about chickens!

Findings Gardening

The Nest

Catching a glimpse
It’s not only the girls at Tilly’s Nest that are having babies.  We’ve had a few house finches busy in our topiary by our garage.  Today I peered in and this is what I saw; three light blue eggs with brown speckles.  I was so touched by the nest’s tranquil beauty. 
Today, I am spending most of my time in the gardens preparing the beds as they wake from their Winter slumber.  I am also cleaning up around the outside of the coop and reseeding some of the lawn that the chickens enjoyed to death! 
This is my favorite time of the year.  Signs of life are everywhere.  Take time to enjoy life’s beautiful quiet moments.  You’ll find you are surrounded by them.
Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Findings Gardening Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for this year in my life outside of the chickens.  However, I do have a lot to be thankful for regarding the chickens as well.  Our family has been blessed and is incredibly thankful for all of the the wonderful things that the chickens have brought into our lives.  We have had a fabulous times raising them from little chicks and we have learned so much from them since this past Spring.  They have touched all of our hearts and we have learned life’s lessons from them as well. We are thankful for their presence in our lives and are looking forward to many more chances to grow together as a family in our chicken adventures.
Have a wonderful Thanksgving!