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Take a Course at Forested! First of all, I must let you know about my friend LincolnSmith’s workshops series at his forest teaching garden, Forested, this spring – here’s the link!  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox/14cd4a6cf3709800

Flowers for Chickens? Why? This idea is totally stolen from an inspiring website I looked at and have not been able to relocate.  But search “chicken garden” and you find this subject is on flockster’s minds.  Because chickens benefit enormously from grass, yet this is what lawn looks like after a winter under the tender mercies of my 13 chickens:

IMG_0239_crop

(It took them about 2 weeks FYI.)

The lady whose great website I cannot find plants her chicken run with living forage, grass, but things beautiful as well as tasty to peck.  What an inspiration! A run could be something other than a wasteland? She is constantly on the lookout for plants which co-exist happily such as ROSES(!) – given how prone to being buggy roses are, this could be a real source of nourishment.  She sets large rocks or pavers to protect roots from scratching claws. Beware the long list of chicken toxic plants – http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/627282/comprehensive-list-of-poisonous-plants-and-trees – Also listed below).   So, thank you lady!! wherever you exist in the blogospere. You have changed the way I am going to manage my chickens this summer.

Oh-Oh!

Oh-Oh!

Edward and I had already planned to add living forage into and around the run this year – and here’s what we have so far:

IMG_0235 (1)_crop  IMG_0235 (1)_crop_crop2

A Mulberry sapling – we are growing a mulberry bush into the run. The first step was to a convince Edward not to kill it, since he considers mulberries invasive, water-stealing, horrible plants.  MULBERRIES are a very nutritious food, easy to grow and tough (yes dear) and voila! free food that our chickens can feed themselves.  You can see that despite Edward’s dislike, this plant is very happy.  Sadly, he says, it probably will thrive.  I have the roots outside the run wire, so it’s roots are protected most of the time,  and leaves outside the run roof get tons of sun.

Berries – one of the areas the chickens will be guided toward is under the brambles, to clean up the fallen fruit.  IMG_0240_crop

 

 

I have JUST hatched an idea to grow Black Raspberries (black caps), a plant that loves us, ACROSS a small wire paddock, so the chicks get fruit from under it and we can harvest from the top.  I will post photos soon.

 

 

Less impressive at the moment is the beginning of our Vegetable Garden Tower beside the mulberry (yes, you unbelievers, I will prune the mulberry heavily! so that the tower is not shaded!).  This is an idea I got from Ben Friton of Can Ya Love.

IMG_0265

The fabric cloth will hold dirt in, and plants can be inserted to grow and hang out all the way up. Chickens can harvest their side, plus the lower regions of front when they are in Paddock 1. We can harvest the upper section.  I’m going to try cukes up there.  I threw this together using some old fencing and row covers from last summer.  Learn more about Ben’s work from his website at  www.canyalove.org.  A grower friend of mine, Lincoln Smith of the teaching garden Forested (http://forested.us/), introduced me to Ben and his book Can Ya Love? which describes the creation of his vertical garden concept, and shows how he has used it to help hungry communities around the world grow their own greens.

Swiped from his website, Ben’s vegetable pillars:

Have fun in your gardens this weekend!!

HERE’s the Evil For Chickens List:

Backyard Chicken’s Comprehensive List of Plants Toxic to Chickens:

ARUM LILY

AMARYLLIS

ARALIA

ARROWHEAD VINE

AUTUMN CROCUS

AUSTRALIAN FLAMETREE

AUSTRALIAN UMBRELLA TREE

AVOCADO

AZALEA

BANEBERRY

BEANS: (CASTOR, HORSE, FAVA, BROAD, GLORY, SCARLET RUNNER,

MESCAL, NAVY, PREGATORY)

BIRD OF PARADISE

BISHOP’S WEED

BLACK LAUREL

BLACK LOCUST

BLEEDING HEART OR DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES

BLOODROOT

BLUEBONNET

BLUEGREEN ALGAE

BOXWOOD

BRACKEN FERN

BUCKTHORN

BULB FLOWERS: (AMARYLLIS, DAFFODIL, NARCISSUS, HYACINTH & IRIS)

BURDOCK

BUTTERCUP

CACAO

CAMEL BUSH

CASTOR BEAN

CALADIUM

CANA LILY

CARDINAL FLOWER

CHALICE (TRUMPET VINE)

CHERRY TREE

CHINA BERRY TREE

CHRISTMAS CANDLE

CLEMATIS (VIRGINIA BOWER)

CLIVIA

COCKLEBUR

COFFEE (SENNA)

COFFEE BEAN (RATTLEBUSH, RATTLE BOX & COFFEEWEED)

CORAL PLANT

CORIANDER

CORNCOCKLE

COYOTILLO

COWSLIP

CUTLEAF PHILODENDRON

DAFFODIL

DAPHNE

DATURA STRAMONIUM (ANGEL’S TRUMPET)

DEATH CAMUS

DELPHINIUM

DEVIL’S IVY

DIEFFENBACHIA (DUMB CANE)

ELDERBERRY

ELEPHANT EAR (TARO)

ENGLISH IVY

ERGOT

EUCALYPTUS (DRIED, DYED OR TREATED IN FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS)

EUONYMUS (SPINDLE TREE)

EUPHORBIA CACTUS

FALSE HELLEBORE

FLAME TREE

FELT PLANT (MATERNITY, AIR & PANDA PLANTS)

FIG (WEEPING)

FIRE THORN

FLAMINGO FLOWER

FOUR O’CLOCK

FOXGLOVE

GLOTTIDIUM

GOLDEN CHAIN

GRASS: (JOHNSON, SORGHUM, SUDAN & BROOM CORN)

GROUND CHERRY

HEATHS: (KALMIA, LEUCOTHO, PEIRES, RHODODENDRON, MTN. LAUREL,

BLACK LAUREL, ANDROMEDA & AZALEA)

HELIOTROPE

HEMLOCK: (POISON & WATER)

HENBANE

HOLLY

HONEYSUCKLE

HORSE CHESTNUT

HORSE TAIL

HOYA

HYACINTH

HYDRANGEA

IRIS IVY: (ENGLISH & OTHERS)

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT

JASMINE (JESSAMINE)

JERUSALEM CHERRY

JIMSONWEED

JUNIPER

KY. COFFEE TREE

LANTANA (RED SAGE)

LARKSPUR

LILY OF THE VALLEY

LILY, ARUM

LOBELIA

LOCOWEED (MILK VETCH)

LOCUSTS, BLACK / HONEY

LORDS & LADIES (CUCKOOPINT)

LUPINE

MALANGA

MARIJUANA (HEMP)

MAYAPPLE (MANDRAKE)

MEXICAN BREADFRUIT

MEXICAN POPPY

MILKWEED, COTTON BUSH

MISTLETOE

MOCK ORANGE

MONKSHOOD

MOONSEED

MORNING GLORY

MTN. LAUREL

MUSHROOMS, AMANITA

MYRTLE

NARCISSUS

NETTLES

NIGHTSHADES: (DEADLY, BLACK, GARDEN, WOODY, BITTERSWEET,

EGGPLANT, JERUSALEM CHERRY)

OAK

OLEANDER

OXALIS

PARSLEY

PEACE LILY

PERIWINKLE

PHILODENDRONS: (SPLIT LEAF, SWISS CHEESE, HEART-LEAF)

PIGWEED

POINCIANA

POINSETTIA

POISON IVY

POISON HEMLOCK

POISON OAK: (WESTERN & EASTERN)

POKEWEED

POTATO SHOOTS

POTHOS

PRIVET

PYRACANTHA

RAIN TREE

RANUNCULUS, BUTTERCUP

RAPE

RATTLEBOX, CROTALARIA

RED MAPLE

RED SAGE (LANTANA)

RHUBARB LEAVES

RHODODENDRONS

ROSARY PEA SEEDS

SAND BOX TREE

SKUNK CABBAGE

SORREL (DOCK)

SNOW DROP

SPURGES: (PENCIL TREE, SNOW-ON-MTN, CANDELABRA, CROWN OF THORNS)

STAR OF BETHLEHEM

SWEET PEA

SWISS CHEESE PLANT (MONSTERA)

TANSY RAGWORT

TOBACCO

UMBRELLA PLANT

VETCH: HAIRY/COMMON

VIRGINIA CREEPER

WATTLE

WEEPING FIG

WHITE CEDAR, CHINA BERRY

WISTERIA

YEWS

YELLOW JASMINE

 

…I hope you’re still here and read through the list.

 

I know that as I typed it, I was reminded of many very common

plants that I had forgotten were unsafe for my flock.