Search Results for: gardening with chickens

Gardening with Chickens: The toolbox

Let me share with you my tried and true chicken garden “tool box” full of accoutrements. Every gardener with a free range flock must have several devices to protect delicate prized plants from potential destruction.  Edibles are a high priority in my garden, however the girls have full access to the space year round which helps keeps pests in check…I just have to cut them off at key times throughout the season as crops are getting started and are ripening.

First up in the toolbox~
1)  Wire seedling barriers: Most small gauge metal fencing scraps will work fabulously. I bust these babies out when I direct sow any seeds throughout the growing season. I also keep it over my greens and other plants I don’t want chickens walking over the top of.  Always keep several chunks of wire meshing handy, and be sure to fit them to your garden bed size, but still  be able to twist, bend, adjust, and shape to your needs.  See page 48 in the book.

2) Bird Netting: This cheap, easy to find, practically invisible barrier will protect your plants and can be used over and over again.  I drape my berry crops and plants such as tomatoes when they are ripe for the picking, and birds steer clear of it. I’ve even used it draped loosely on a fence railing which worked great because chickens don’t want to get tangled up in it. Magic! See my blog post where I use it for my tomatoes.

3) Rocks! It doesn’t get any easier than this.  For any plants that get dug up while the ladies search for grubs in the soil — which is almost anytime we plant something new — ring these around the plant until it’s roots are firmly established. This is especially great for plants that need a little warmth as the rocks are a great heat sink.

And last but not least,  for your toolbox pack some patience.  These little birds are just doing what they know best: scratching soil and eating grubs.  It is up to us to make sure we are not setting ourselves up for failure. As you will read in my book Free Range Chicken Gardens, it all depends on your garden,  the number of chickens in your flock, and your routine.  With this in mind and by using some of these plant barrier tricks, you can keep your chickens natural behavior in check so that your garden will thrive.

The Book- Gardening + Chickens

For anyone who doesn’t know, I am currently writing a book for Timber Press and I am thrilled to say it is almost done!  The finish line is right around the corner and it is coming together perfectly.  The book is tentatively titled “FREE RANGE GARDENS: A guide to creating a beautiful chicken-friendly space” and is a mix of garden design, permaculture, chicken keeping 101,  and lots of plant information.  I can’t wait to share more details in the coming months as the book goes to marketing and print!  Be sure to look for the book in Timber Press’ Fall 2011 catalog and follow my events page which I update regularly.   This Feb I will be speaking at the NW Flower and Garden show about designing urban homesteads and a special seminar on gardening with chickens called “What the Cluck?!”

Sneak peak - the photographer Kate taking photos at a special chicken garden

The process of writing has been so much different from my daily work as a business owner, landscape designer and farm girl-mama.  One of my favorite  things about it has been meeting a bunch of like minded chicken owners who have great gardens!  Normally when I go to someone elses garden I am consulting and answering questions, but the roles have reversed and I’ve loved it!  I’m the chicken garden reporter!   I have also been ecstatic to be working with a professional photographer.  Kate of Kate Baldwin Photography is fantastic to work with and when I look through her gorgeous photos I have a permanent grin and will often laugh out loud at some of the moments she captured.  I wish I could always work with her on every project!

Gardening with Deer – a seminar & book giveaway!

I spend a lot of time thinking about animals and gardening – together!  Not just chickens, ducks, dogs ..but deer too!  Many of my design clients have issues with deer in their area and it is my job to help them design, build and maintain their landscapes in spite of that.

So! I am excited to tell everyone that I will be teaching a seminar at Molbaks in Woodinville WA on Sept 24th and giving away my secrets about gardening with deer -come join me!

AND-I will be giving away a copy of this new Timber Press book written by Ruth Clausen the day of the seminar on Sept 24th – just comment here and random winner will win!

Comments will close at 6pm on Sept 23rd and a random name will be picked~~good luck!

DRUMROLL…………..

and the winner is: BETH ANN DAYE!!

Many thanks to everyone who entered!

 

Free Range Chicken Gardens: The first reviews are in!

I remember a little over a year ago I turned in the manuscript, pictures and drawings for my book about gardening with chickens, and while it was this huge sense of relief to meet such a monumental deadline, it also made me very anxious.  I told my editor at Timber Press that I imagined it is how I would feel if I was sending my child off to boarding school or college — I did the best I could to prepare it for the world ahead, and it was in their hands to groom, critique and  prepare for publication.. which ultimately means be judged by the public.  What will everyone else think of it? My baby, my hard work?  The idea of gardening with chickens has been laughed at before.  I am no stranger to having someone judge my work, especially when it comes to my garden design skills, that I can handle.  But I was not a trained to be an “author”.  I just wrote from the heart and wrote what I would want to see in a book like this.  And with a huge sigh of relief the first few reviews that I have seen are good!  People like it!!

From  Publishers Weekly

“Through personal experience and in-depth interviews with other backyard chicken farmers, Bloom, an award-winning garden designer, takes you from her early chicken-raising days, which she recalls as about ‘as easy as herding cats, to the ultimate goal of maintaining a flock that will contrast and co-exist with a backyard garden. She gives tips about keeping the backyard from becoming a barnyard; selecting from a diverse palette of poultry from Rhode Island Reds to Easter Eggers; growing the plants that will benefit from hens and beautify a lawn; keeping ‘a simple chicken emergency kit; regulating coop temperatures; and keeping predators away. Noise reduction ideas will also help keep neighbors’ potential annoyance at bay. The presentation is enhanced by detailed charts — how many square feet of yard for how many chickens, the chicken lifecycle, feedings from egg to chick to pullet to hen — for help in creating a chicken-inclusive environment in a variety of settings. Bloom offers a comprehensive guide from mating to medicine that will particularly help beginners, and vivid color photography by Kate Baldwin helps Bloom make a persuasive case.” 

From Booklist:

“Award-winning landscape designer Bloom states that “the heart of this book has you look at your garden as a habitat for your flock.” Chickens and gardens work together synergistically since chickens reduce weeds and pests, aerate the soil, produce fertilizing manure, and provide food. Bloom’s guide to these “pets with benefits” includes comprehensive information applicable to both small urban and large rural lots pertaining to landscape design, fencing and hardscape materials, chicken-friendly plants, garden and coop designs, and predators. Details on fence fastenings and coop kits, along with numerous illustrations, full-color photos, charts and tables, garden layouts, and useful tips (“Cut Miscanthus plants in late winter and use the dried grass as bedding”), offer a wealth of practical advice. Beyond that, this how-to presents an ecofriendly, holistic view of human-animal relationships while addressing self-sufficiency and food issues, core motivations for the burgeoning organic, homegrown movement.”

A long blog post review here:
http://spinningalpacayarns.com/chick-lit-review-of-free-range-chicken-gardens.html

From someone on Goodreads:
This book is quite extensive in the information that it gives and it is perfect for any gardener who wants to bring chickens into their garden. There are beautiful photos of gardens with chickens, many plant pictures to illustrate the points that are made in this very useful book. This book displays the symbiotic relationship between chickens and gardens, if done properly, and how the two aspects of your backyard can benefit one another.

If you know of a gardener who has been toying with the idea of having chickens roaming around, this is the perfect book. Not only does it go into what types of gardens are chicken friendly, it also touches on the different types of chickens, which would be best for the purposes of the owner/gardener, but there are many useful tips about plants and garden design that will assist in creating the perfect habitat for your free-range chickens. Coop designs and elements necessary are also touched on, as well as natural habitats for the chickens. Plus the author touches lightly on plants that are harmful to chickens, as well as diseases and how to prevent a few of them.

I know that I will be purchasing this book, once I have a place to have both my own garden and a few chickens for those fresh eggs. There is plenty of information for the newbie chicken owner, and it does suppose some basic garden knowledge on the reader’s part, though does have a short section in the back in regards to the different ‘zones’ for gardening. This book has been well-researched and put together in a very pleasing manner.

MEDIA KIT: Speaker/Author

Speaking engagements:

Jessi Bloom does speaking engagements whether it is industry events or conferences, tv or radio appearances, schools and/or garden clubs, where she promotes and encourages all to be involved with sustainable gardening practices and environmental issues to preserve our natural resources. See below for topics and previous clients. To check her CURRENT SCHEDULE for teaching and to inquire about having Jessi speak for your organization contact us here.

Any organization hiring Jessi to speak would be required to fund the following related to this appearance: All transportation and lodging costs, meals or appropriate per diem, all technical or A/V equipment related to any presentation and an honorarium.  If there are requests which are book related appearanc or include book sales, please contact Jessi’s publicist: publicity@timberpress.com

Common topics for Jessi’s seminars:

  • Creating Sacred Space: Design & Ceremony (full day workshop with site case-study collaborative design)
  • Water Wisdom: A permaculture approach to hydrological literacy
  • Perma-what?! How to design your own Permaculture Paradise
  • What the Cluck?! Chickens in the Garden (3 separate workshops in this series to choose from) Integrating animals into gardens and creating habitat.
  • Top 10 Homestead Hacks, Wisdom and Tips
  • Mindful Gardens – Finding Zen and Peace in your garden
  • Easy Peasy Edibles: Perennial Food Plants
  • Rewild the Child (class for children – herbal, plant magic, face painting)
  • Sustainable Garden Design 101 & 201 (this can be geared towards homeowners or professionals in industry)
  • Food Forest Garden Design for the Homeowner ~ The low maintenance edible landscape
  • Permaculture 101 for the Gardener ~ How to achieve abundance and build resiliency!
  • Have your Garden and Eat it too ~ Designing your Urban Homestead!
  • Rainwise Gardening – How to Manage Stormwater Beautifully; from Raingardens, to cisterns and more!
  • Water Smart Gardening – Low Impact Design
  • Deer Proofing your Garden
  • Careers in Horticulture & Permaculture
  • Leadership in Permaculture – Why it is needed and How-to

BIO FOR MEDIA USE:

(short version) Jessi Bloom is a best-selling author, award-winning ecological landscape designer, and speaker. She owns N.W. Bloom EcoLogical Landscapes, based near Seattle, which is known as an innovator and leader in the field of permaculture, sustainable landscape design, construction and land management. Her work has been recognized by government agencies and industry organizations, and makes headlines in national media. She lives near Seattle with her two sons on their permaculture homestead, which is full of functional gardens and rescue animals.

(Longer versions)

Amazon Author Page

Timber Press Author Page

NW Bloom Team Page

PHOTOS for MEDIA USE: download by clicking on the image and “save”

jessi bio small

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Some previous clients and locations:

  • Permaculture Voices, San Diego CA
  • Walt Disney World, Florida
  • Mother Earth News Fairs: Washington, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconson & Kansas.
  • Cascade Water Alliance, WA
  • Department of Ecology, WA
  • Washington State University Extensions, WA
  • University of Washington
  • Seattle Public Utilities, WA
  • Green Gardening Program, WA
  • Cascadia Consulting Group, Seattle, WA
  • NW Flower and Garden Show, Seattle, WA
  • San Fransisco Flower and Garden Show, CA
  • City of Renton, WA
  • City of Mill Creek, WA
  • City of Port Townsend, WA
  • Snohomish Conservation District, WA
  • Snohomish County
  • Skagit Conservation District
  • Woodinville Water District, WA
  • Numerous Garden Clubs including Mill Creek, Mukilteo and Redmond.
  • Northwest Perennial Alliance
  • Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association
  • NW Eco Building Guild
  • Brookside Gardens, MD
  • Molbak’s Nursery & Home Center, WA
  • Lake Washington Technical College, WA
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers, WA and Nationwide
  • Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD

 

2014 NW Flower & Garden Show

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is here and there are some inspiring gardens on exhibit, and fun vendor booths to visit, as usual.  This year’s theme is “Art in Bloom” showcases local art pieces integrated into the gardens, in all sorts of forms.  The #NWFGS offers a huge concentration of free seminars and this year they range in topics from landscape design principles to different types of edible gardening to reusing scraps for garden art.

We will not have an exhibit or booth, though Jessi will be teaching at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in the Rainier Room, which if you haven’t heard her speak, you shouldn’t miss it!  Here are some pictures to help inspire you to brave the masses and attend this awesome event.  It will be worthwhile, we promise!

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photo 4 (640x480)

 

 

 

 

It’s Garden Show time!

Here we are again about to plunge into the fun and chaos of the NW Flower and Garden Show!  This year we are doing something totally different and we’re gonna have a booth in the Plant Market! That’s right, we’re selling the best, tastiest and most functional plants for our Pacific NW gardens.  Be sure to stop by and visit us at Booth #2626 we will be giving away free plants – just be sure to visit a kiosk for details.

Perennial edible plants have arrived!

Also, Jessi will be teaching two seminars both followed with book signings:

  • Easy Peasy Edibles  Plant Once & Enjoy the Harvest for Years  Thurs, Feb 21 at 9:30 am/Hood Room Join landscape designer Jessi Bloom talk about her favorite low maintenance edibles for the Pacific Northwest – all perennials! Plant them once and enjoy the harvest for years to come, plus arrange them beautifully for a gorgeous edible landscape!
  • What the Cluck?! Everything You Need to Know for Chicken Gardening Sat, Feb 23 at 12:15 pm / Hood Room  Join best-selling author and designer Jessica Bloom as she helps you master the basics of how to integrate chickens into your garden, starting with chicken raising myth busters, to designing habitat for them and you to benefit from; Jessi Bloom, author of Free Range Chicken Gardens will also share her favorite top 10 chicken garden plants!”

To see our involvement at the show over the years, be sure to check out these links for photos and recaps: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012.   Keep an eye on our facebook page if you want to follow what is happening at the show including cool finds & great garden ideas!

Virtual Book Par-tay!

It has been a little over 2 months and I am thrilled to say that my little baby book Free Range Chicken Gardens is growing up and is in its FOURTH printing already!  Holy hen manure! I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. I am just elated that so many gardeners are enjoying the book and learning how to provide habitat that can benefit us and our flock and how to utilize chickens for their natural behaviors.

Since I never had a proper book release party (I was recovering from surgery at the time of release) and spring has hit in full force for me already, I didn’t want to miss out on celebrating the book’s success in a way that everyone can join in!  So, it is wonderful that my publisher Timber Press is offering a special giveaway for two great books: Free Range Chicken Gardens  AND The Fresh Egg Cookbook with many of my favorite bloggers who are all fabulous gardening/chicken keeping/foodie rock stars and if you are not already following them, you should be! Be sure to check out their websites below to have multiple chances to win! I am also including the opportunity to win a subscription to Chicken magazine from my blog along with the books- the party contest will end on April 12th!


Erica at NORTHWEST EDIBLE LIFE
Theresa at LIVING HOMEGROWN
Angela at MY RUBBER BOOTS
Annette at SUSTAINABLE EATS     
Kylee at OUR LITTLE ACRE 
Gen at NORTHCOAST GARDENING      

Willi at DIGGIN FOOD

To win here you have a few options and multiple ways to be entered – I will pick three random winners on April 12th!

  1. Comment here and mention which prize you’d like to win and why.
  2. “LIKE” the book’s Facebook page Chicken Garden and comment there about which prize you’d like to win
  3. If you already “LIKE” the page, post a photo of your hens enjoying your garden *or*
  4. “SHARE” this blog post on Facebook or Twitter, but be sure you comment here that you did so I can track it! or cc @jessibloom

My favorite photo in 'Free Range Chicken Gardens' by Kate Baldwin

UPDATED: A big huge thank you to everyone who entered this contest and made the virtual book release party a success!! And congratulations to our winners Lorna, Meghan and Regan!  I hope you enjoy the good chicken reads.

Educate

Consultation services:

The majority of our projects start with a consultation: We send you surveys to fill out that cover your personal preferences and site constraints as well as a contract that goes over our fees – most consultations run around $200.  This small fee can save you thousands of dollars. We use decades of experience to help you with your project.  We share the necessary knowledge and resources for renovation projects and finding solutions to problem areas in your landscape. Topics often discussed in consultations or ongoing garden coaching are:

  • general design ideas
  • plant health assessment
  • recommendations for weed and pest infestations
  • pruning suggestions and training
  • plant identification and basic botany
  • site and soil analysis
  • transplanting and other gardening tips
  • overall property management suggestions
  • to-do task list creation for the do-it-yourselfer
  • And much more

Speaking engagements:

Jessi Bloom does speaking engagements whether it is industry events or conferences, tv or radio appearances, schools and/or garden clubs, where she promotes and encourages all to be involved with sustainable gardening practices and environmental issues to preserve our natural resources. See below for topics and previous clients. To check her CURRENT SCHEDULE for teaching and to inquire about having Jessi speak for your organization contact us here.  Any organization hiring Jessi to speak would be required to fund the following related to this appearance: All transportation and lodging costs, meals or appropriate per diem, all technical or A/V equipment related to any presentation and an honorarium.  If the appearance is book related, contact Jessi’s publicist, publicity@timberpress.com

Common topics for Jessi’s seminars:

  • Creating Sacred Space: Design & Ceremony
  • Water Wisdom: A Permaculture Aprroach to Hydrological Literacy
  • Perma-What?! Designing Your Paradise with Practical Permaculture
  • What the Cluck?! Chickens in the Garden (3 separate workshops in this series to choose from) Integrating animals into gardens and creating habitat.
  • Sustainable Garden Design 101 & 201
  • Food Forest Garden Design for the Homeowner ~ The low maintenance edible landscape
  • Permaculture 101 for the Gardener ~ How to achieve abundance and build resiliency!
  • Designing your own Paradise – create a great space with permaculture ethics & principles!
  • Easy Peasy Edibles!
  • EcoPRO Training – Ecological Principles & Practices for Professionals
  • Have your Garden and Eat it too ~ Designing your Urban Homestead!
  • Rainwise Gardening – How to Manage Stormwater Beautifully; from Raingardens, to cisterns and more!
  • Water Smart Gardening – Low Impact Design
  • Mindful Gardening – Finding Zen and Peace in your garden with sustainable practices
  • Purposeful Plants – Loving plants for ALL of what they offer!
  • Easy Peasy Edibles: Perennial Food Plants
  • Deer Proofing your Garden
  • Careers in Horticulture & Permaculture
  • Right Plant, Right Place!
  • Leadership in Permaculture – Why it is needed and How-to

Jessi Bloom speaking at the Mother Earth News Fair 2012

Previous seminar clients and locations:

  • Cascade Water Alliance, WA
  • Department of Ecology, WA
  • Washington State University Extensions, WA
  • University of Washington
  • Mother Earth News Fairs: Washington, Pennsylvania, North Carolina & Kansas.
  • Seattle Public Utilities, WA
  • Green Gardening Program, WA
  • Cascadia Consulting Group, Seattle, WA
  • NW Flower and Garden Show, Seattle, WA
  • San Fransisco Flower and Garden Show, CA
  • City of Renton, WA
  • City of Mill Creek, WA
  • City of Port Townsend, WA
  • Snohomish Conservation District, WA
  • Snohomish County
  • Woodinville Water District, WA
  • Numerous Garden Clubs including Mill Creek, Mukilteo and Redmond.
  • Numerous Master Gardeners Associations throughout the US and Canada
  • Northwest Perennial Alliance
  • Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association
  • NW Eco Building Guild
  • Brookside Gardens, MD
  • Molbak’s Nursery & Home Center, WA
  • Lake Washington Technical College, WA
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers, WA
  • Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD

New Garden Portfolio

Several times a year I put together portfolio books of our latest projects and maturing gardens that we’ve designed, built and some of which we maintain and I thought I would share the latest one online.  There are some special gardens including a veterans memorial, several rain gardens, some chickens, a couple of show gardens and a peek into my garden.  Although the pictures are small -I think you get the idea.

Click here to view this photo book larger
And if you ever wanted to look closer at some of these projects from the “before” photos, during and after feel free to take a look here:  N.W. Bloom EcoLogical Landscapes Project Album