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:
(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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
AUSTRALIAN UMBRELLA TREE
BEANS: (CASTOR, HORSE, FAVA, BROAD, GLORY, SCARLET RUNNER,
MESCAL, NAVY, PREGATORY)
BIRD OF PARADISE
BLEEDING HEART OR DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES
BULB FLOWERS: (AMARYLLIS, DAFFODIL, NARCISSUS, HYACINTH & IRIS)
CHALICE (TRUMPET VINE)
CHINA BERRY TREE
CLEMATIS (VIRGINIA BOWER)
COFFEE BEAN (RATTLEBUSH, RATTLE BOX & COFFEEWEED)
DATURA STRAMONIUM (ANGEL’S TRUMPET)
DIEFFENBACHIA (DUMB CANE)
ELEPHANT EAR (TARO)
EUCALYPTUS (DRIED, DYED OR TREATED IN FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS)
EUONYMUS (SPINDLE TREE)
FELT PLANT (MATERNITY, AIR & PANDA PLANTS)
GRASS: (JOHNSON, SORGHUM, SUDAN & BROOM CORN)
HEATHS: (KALMIA, LEUCOTHO, PEIRES, RHODODENDRON, MTN. LAUREL,
BLACK LAUREL, ANDROMEDA & AZALEA)
HEMLOCK: (POISON & WATER)
IRIS IVY: (ENGLISH & OTHERS)
KY. COFFEE TREE
LANTANA (RED SAGE)
LILY OF THE VALLEY
LOCOWEED (MILK VETCH)
LOCUSTS, BLACK / HONEY
LORDS & LADIES (CUCKOOPINT)
MILKWEED, COTTON BUSH
NIGHTSHADES: (DEADLY, BLACK, GARDEN, WOODY, BITTERSWEET,
EGGPLANT, JERUSALEM CHERRY)
PHILODENDRONS: (SPLIT LEAF, SWISS CHEESE, HEART-LEAF)
POISON OAK: (WESTERN & EASTERN)
RED SAGE (LANTANA)
ROSARY PEA SEEDS
SAND BOX TREE
SPURGES: (PENCIL TREE, SNOW-ON-MTN, CANDELABRA, CROWN OF THORNS)
STAR OF BETHLEHEM
SWISS CHEESE PLANT (MONSTERA)
WHITE CEDAR, CHINA BERRY
…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.