Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 3, 2013

Second phase of town centre roadworks begin

The transport scheme is designed to reduce traffic using Billington Road and improve the route for pedestrians, cyclists and residents from Sandhills by building roundabouts, taking away traffic lights, reducing speed limits and landscaping is to be constructed.

The works will use similar ideas to those used on Leighton Road, Linslade, and West Street, Leighton, and will include some traffic calming, traffic signal removal, carriageway narrowing and protected parking.

The end result is expected to be a free-flowing and safer town but Central Beds Council has put up notices warning drivers to expect 28 weeks of mayhem. Roundabouts are going in, traffic lights are coming out, speed limits are being reduced and landscaping is to be constructed.

In October it was announced the works would take over six months to be completed. Speaking then, Councillor Budge Wells, spokesman for the authority’s sustainable communities services, said: “Earlier in the year around 150 residents came along to an exhibition on these plans which will hopefully make a massive improvement to Lake Street, Billington Road and the surrounding area.

“There are substantial improvements to be made, which have to be implemented in stages and with the minimum disruption to road users, residents and businesses.

“We have, of course, planned the works with our contractor to minimise the inconvenience to the public and will use both diversions and traffic signals at different stages when appropriate.”

Phase two of the Leighton Buzzard Transport Scheme works are to commence in January 2013 and aren’t expected to be completed until May.

The full list of works are as follows:

– Street lighting upgrade throughout the scheme.

– Leston Road/Lake Street junction: Conversion of the existing t-junction to a mini-roundabout.

– Construction of a central island on Leston Road.

– Lake Street – Duncombe Drive to Old Chapel Mews: Footway surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side of Lake Street (including drainage works) with blocl paved edge sdetail and some landscaping works.

– Lake Street – Old Chapel Mews to Grove Road: Conversion of existing signal controlled crossing to a zebra crossing on a raised table and associated footway resurfacing/kerb line ammendments and drainage works.

– Lake Street – Grove Road to Lindler Court: footway widening (into the carriageway) and surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side.

– Lake Street – Outside Magnon Court: Conversion of the existing signal controlled crossing to a zebra crossing.

– Lake Street – Junction with Morrisons/Lindler Court: Conversion of existing signalised junction to a mini-roundabout.

– Lindler Court/Lake Street junction: raised courtesy crossing.

– Morrisons access: Conversion of existing signal controlled crossings to zebra crossings.

– Lake Street – outside Morrisons petrol station: New zebra crossing on a raised table, including drainage works.

– Lake Street – Lindler Court to Grovebury Road: Footwy widening (into the carriageway) and surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side, associaated draignage works and some landscaping works.

Grovebury Road: relocation of the existing zebra crosssing and footway resurfacing.

– Stanbridge Road – lake Street to Linwood Grove: Upgrading the existing central island and adding a second central island to assist pedestrains crossing, footway resurfacing, associated drainage and landscaping works.

– Ammendments to some of the drainage signs on Lake Street, Stanbridge Road and Grovebury Road.

Article source:

Guest House enhancements mulled – Fort Bragg Advocate

An informal workshop Dec. 11 to discuss options to make more and better use of the Guest House Museum hatched several ideas, including possible changes to the lawn and the appointment of a part-time director.

The City-conducted workshop in Town Hall was held to solicit ideas and develop a community vision for the museum and grounds, to be incorporated into a master plan. Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. was hired to prepare the plan, which will “provide guidance regarding future improvements to the Guest House facility and grounds and will identify opportunities for enhancing the museum operations,” according to the City’s meeting notice.

Michael Garavaglia, AIA, Principal, Preservation Architect and Becky Urbano, with Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. gave some history of the site and explained that when it was conveyed to the City, there was a requirement that it be used for cultural purposes. Urbano said the vision was to include all aspects of the site’s use, including possible landscaping, features, exhibits, programs and uses.

Land Use Planner Amy Wynn said she had interviewed several people involved in the museum, who were all passionate and had several ideas.

Commenting on the site’s strengths, Urbano said Historical Society members care deeply about the museum and work hard to keep it open and the museum is prominently located to attract visitors. It was also noted that the giant crosscut redwood log on the south portion of the property, attracts visitors

to the museum.

Regarding the museum’s weaknesses, some people suggested that its signs should be more prominent and that the access sidewalk is shrouded by plants, making it hard for visitors to see how to walk to it.


and ideas

Over the course of the informal three-hour workshop, several ideas were presented and discussed, including a partnership with the Skunk Train to provide museum gift certificates, more signage around the city, re-landscaping the front lawn to include a more visible sidewalk and picnic tables, prominent placement of timber-industrial artifacts, and cutting back of area bushes and plants to dissuade illegal camping and activity. Some suggested that educational programs be implemented through partnerships with local schools.

Weller House Inn owner Vivien LaMothe said she’d recently attended a West Company meeting that discussed marketing aimed at users of mobile devices through QR codes that would connect them to websites, historical photos and more information.

She said she has presented the idea to the Historical Society, Garden Society and Soroptimists, all of which are enthusiastic about the technology. LaMothe explained by phone later that she feels Fort Bragg is well-positioned to implement such technology to get more people interested in local history.

Johanna Jensen suggested that the museum could partner with the Paul Bunyan Days Association to enhance promotion. She also noted that the museum is difficult for people with limited mobility.

City Council member Scott Dietz said pedestrian access needs to be enhanced and made more prominent so visitors know the museum is open to the public. He said that in 36 years on the Coast, he had only been there once.

Group ideas

After breaking into groups for 45 minutes, speakers returned with ideas and suggestions.

Speaking for her group, City Manager Linda Ruffing suggested construction of a sidewalk from the Skunk Train Depot and pavement leading into the west parking areas behind the museum. The group discussed removing some of the vegetation and possibly creating a small plaza by the historic clock and redwood log. The group also discussed having picnic tables on landscaped areas nearby.

Ruffing said the current landscaping is not a historic feature, and suggested a partnership with the Gardens Society to revegetate the area in a way that denotes a connection to the Coast Botanical Gardens.

In response to a previous comment, she suggested fixing the building’s weathered gutters and possibly repainting parts of the building after the original color has been determined.

It was suggested that rather than erect a new Christmas tree on the Guest House Lawn every December, the City could simply plant a permanent one on the lawn.

Ruffing said that planting an evergreen tree on the Guest House lawn would likely detract attention from the museum itself. She suggested the possibility of instead lighting and decorating a large holly tree which is already on the grounds.

For her group, Jensen said the large grass lawn can be a barrier to those with limited mobility and suggested terraced landscaping there. She suggested moving the museum’s sign closer to the street and include changeable elements to inform people of events, hours and programs.

She suggested investigating partnerships with local timber companies to highlight efforts toward sustainable forestry, rather than the logging industry of the past.

Weddings, live music events on the lawn and promotion of tech attractions like geocaching were also discussed.

For her Group, City Community Development Director Marie Jones said the group discussed possible ways to attract those who come to town for the Skunk Train and involve both in promotions. She said her group was divided on the subject of a permanent tree.

Regarding a previously-suggested amphitheater west of the museum, Jones said it would not be appropriate, especially since a large amphitheater is already in the plans for reuse of the mill site.

She said local artifacts could be placed around the site and encouraged the placement of “anything climbable” for kids.

Rosalie Gjerde said her group’s plans were similar to others aside from wanting more pedestrian walkways.

Amy Wynn said her “group of two” discussed having a prominent front path right up to the museum that would be visible from the street. She said the site’s shrubs and bushes are necessary to block the coastal wind and protect other vegetation there.

She suggested creation of connections to other historic attractions in such a way that would not detract from downtown foot traffic.

Director position

Some discussion centered around the possible appointing of a museum director who would be employed by the City.

Jones said the position would not need to be full-time. Ruffing said she would look into the possibility and suggested that a City staff position could be created to take that responsibility.

At the close of the meeting, Urbano said the firm would need to speak with a cost estimator before a draft master plan can be created.

City Planner Teresa Spade said that while a specific date has not been set, staff and consultants hope to have a draft master plan complete for City Council review by February or March 2013.

Article source:

Water Conservation Ideas Offered for Texas Legislature

Using less water is the cheapest way to meet Texas’ long-term water needs. The state water plan envisions nearly a quarter of Texas’ future water supplies coming from conservation. So what could and should Texas lawmakers do to promote the idea of saving water?

This is a tricky question, because conservation is generally the domain of local authorities. The nature of water supplies varies tremendously from place to place. Some towns may have fairly stable reservoirs, while others draw from diminishing aquifers. So local groups maintain day-to-day management of their water supplies, including ordering restrictions at times of drought (as many Texas cities have).

But environmentalists and some lawmakers say the state has a key role to play in promoting conservation. Blanket statewide watering restrictions seem politically infeasible, given the unpopularity of mandates. But other options abound. State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, has filed a bill to create a sales-tax exemption for water-saving appliances sold over Memorial Day weekend, and environmentalists’ other ideas (not yet in bills) include requiring farmers to put meters on their water wells and preventing homeowners’ associations from barring drought-resistant landscaping. Improving how Texas measures water use and water savings is also high on the agenda of the Water Conservation Advisory Council, a group that brings together representatives of numerous state agencies.

Texas has passed water-conservation bills in the past. In fact, Texas and California rank first among all states in water efficiency, according to a September report from the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Texas accumulated points for laws such as requiring water utilities to audit their water losses and limiting the amount of water that toilets and urinals can use. (A 2009 measure by state Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, tightened the limits, some of which take effect in 2014.) The Legislature created the Water Conservation Advisory Council in 2007; last month it produced a report filled with recommendations for the Legislature.

But Texas, with its fast-growing population, needs to do more, water experts say. “Even though we’re requiring [utilities to have water conservation plans and] we’re requiring reports on implementation, at the end of the day there is just not enforcement of any of those things,” said Carole Baker, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Water Foundation. Requiring more consistent implementation of water conservation plans is one area where the Legislature could act, she said.

Pasco gardening events

Garden notes

Plants and markets

Fresh Friday Night Farmer’s Market, 5 to 9 p.m. every Friday through April 26 at Railroad Square in downtown New Port Richey (on Nebraska Avenue between Grand Boulevard and Adams Street). Vendors sell produce, plants and specialty foods such as fish, meats, cheeses, bakery items, jellies and jams, honey, nuts, coffee and ethnic foods. Demonstrations, gardening tips and live entertainment. For information visit

Longleaf Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in downtown Longleaf, off Starkey Boulevard and State Road 54, New Port Richey.

Fresh Market at Wiregrass, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. Features produce, Florida-grown plants and locally made jams, salsas, seasonings and sauces, plus the works of local artists. For information, visit

Suncoast Co-op offers fresh, locally grown, chemical-free produce. Register online at to place your order; orders may be picked up from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 4131 Madison St., New Port Richey. The Suncoast Cafe, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the ReStore, serves locally roasted organic coffee, homemade teas and baked goods.

Baker House plant sale and open house, 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 19 and the third Saturday of the month, October through May. The historic Baker House is at 5744 Moog Road, behind Centennial Park Branch Library. Plants for sale by Elfers Centennial Garden Club. For information, call (727) 372-9954.

Hernando County Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at 2450 U.S. 19, Spring Hill.

Spring Hill Garden Club’s Plant Nursery, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Mondays at 1489 Parker Ave., off Spring Hill Drive (four-tenths of a mile from U.S. 19). Local plants for sale; people may also visit the nearby Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, the “best kept secret in Hernando County,” which is open daily from sunup to sundown. For information call (352) 683-9933 or visit


Delicious Tomatoes, 6:30 to 7:40 p.m. Tuesday at Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road. January is the best time to start tomato plants indoors for spring planting. This free seminar, taught by a local Master Gardener, will feature techniques on growing delicious tomatoes suited for Pasco gardens. For information, call Pasco County Cooperative Extension at (352) 518-0156.

Avoiding Common Landscape Mistakes That Cost You Time and Money, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Spring Hill Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive. Has your landscape been failing over time? How can this be when you are spending all that money on irrigation, fertilization and chemical pesticides? This class by Hernando County Extension Services will show you the landscape plant problems commonly experienced in Florida. For information call (352) 754-4433.

Winterize Your Florida Lawn and Landscape, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 11 at Hernando County Utilities Department, 21030 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville. Dr. Joan Bradshaw, Citrus County Extension Services director, will discuss covering plants for cold weather, fertilization, planting and maintenance of winter grass and other seasonal landscaping issues at this seminar, hosted by Hernando County Extension Services. For information contact Sylvia Durell at (352) 540-6230.

Planning Your Spring Vegetable Garden, 9 to 10:30 a.m. Jan. 12 at the Land O’Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd. (U.S. 41). Methods for starting seeds and using transplants will be discussed at this free seminar taught by a local Master Gardener. For information, call Pasco County Cooperative Extension at (352) 518-0156.

Rain Barrel Workshop, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14 (preregistration required) at Hernando County Extension Office, 1653 Blaise Drive, Brooksville. Add a rain barrel to your landscape to provide water to plant beds and vegetable gardens. Diverting potential runoff also helps protect area waterways from potential pollution. Cost is $55 per person. For information contact Sylvia Durell at (352) 540-6230.

Garden clubs

• The Dade City Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the third Monday of January, March, September and November at the club, 13630 Fifth St. (352) 521-6886.

• The Elfers Centennial Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. the first Monday of the month from October to June at the Colonial Hills Civic Center, 3825 Prime Place, New Port Richey. No meeting in December. (727) 372-9954 or (727) 849-8034.

Gaia’s Garden Discussion Group meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at Habitat for Humanity, 4131 Madison St., New Port Richey. Email or visit

• The Hibiscus Circle meets at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month from September through May at the Dade City Garden Club, 13630 Fifth St. (352) 521-6886.

• The Nature Coast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at the Land O’Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd. (U.S. 41). For information, call (727) 849-2335 or visit

• The New Port Richey Garden Club meets at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month from September to May at the Jasmine Lakes Community Center, 7137 Jasmine Blvd. The program features a guest speaker followed by refreshments. Call (727) 863-8881.

• The Orange Blossom Garden Club of Lutz meets at 9:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month from September through June at the Lutz Community Center, 98 First Ave. NW. Refreshments followed by a presentation. (813) 949-1940.

• The Orchid Society of West Pasco meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month at Buena Vista Manor Clubhouse, 5112 Rosada Ave., Holiday. Call club president Greg Sytch at (727) 841-9618.

Article source:

Home & Garden: New Beginnings


We are sorry to inform you that you have been temporarily blocked from this website.

Your IP Address or perhaps someone from the same geographical area as you has been tracked
visiting one or more websites and requesting large amounts of content in a short amount of time.
This has caused your IP Address to be flagged as a possible bot, spider, crawler, spyware, or some other malware.
In general, we do not allow bots, spiders, or crawlers to access our websites.

This is not meant to accuse you of anything.
If you are a legitimate user and feel that you have reached this page in error, please complete the form below.
Our staff will review the information that you provide and determine what options are available.

You are browsing this site with:

Your IP address is:


Referring URL:


Article source:

Niles Rain Garden Gets Regional Award


During last summer’s drought, volunteers from local businesses and clubs were sweating as they shoveled dirt and planted native plants in the soil at the Niles Community Rain Garden.

Their efforts have won a Chicago-wide award. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, and Chicago Wilderness, a regional environmental alliance, honored the Niles Community Rain Garden with one of its annual Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards.  

Chosen due to volunteers, flooding prevention

“The Village of Niles’ Community Rain Garden was chosen…because of its exceptional ecological and educational value. It is a community asset that helps reduce flooding by absorbing stormwater. Additionally, this garden has done a tremendous job of engaging partners, including Chris’ Landscaping and Coca Cola,” said Melinda Pruett-Jones, executive director of Chicago Wilderness.

While the Chicago area hosts many rain gardens, she said Niles’ garden is distinct because it has been so successful in engaging partners, and is maintained almost entirely by volunteers. 

“Additionally, it is an excellent community model in stormwater management, especially given its highly visible location,” Pruett-Jones said. More information on rain gardens is available on the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s website

Awards are for “conservation excellence”

The awards  “are a celebration of conservation excellence: the recipients are inspiring examples of passionate and hardworking stewards committed to restoring and enhancing the health of nature in our region,” said Melinda Pruett-Jones, executive director of Chicago Wilderness. 

Like Niles-Morton Grove Patch on Facebook

EPA and Chicago Wilderness, an alliance of public, private and corporate organizations focusing on nature and sustainability, made the awards to park districts, forest preserve districts, nonprofit organizations, local governments and corporations.

They were given for exemplary natural landscaping, ecological restoration and conservation design projects, the organization said.

List of award recipients

The award recipients for outstanding conservation, native landscaping and sustainable design projects during 2012 are (project name, project manager): 

• Gaslight Park Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary, Village of Algonquin 
• Nature Trails, Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 
• Henry Palmisano Park, Chicago Park District 
• Sherman Park Lagoon Restoration, Chicago Park District 
• Bergman Slough Land and Water Reserve, Forest Preserve District of Cook County 
• McMahon Fen Nature Preserve, Forest Preserve District of Cook County 
• Iroquois Sands, Friends of the Kankakee 
• Heatherwood Estates Pond, Heatherwood Estates Homeowners Association 
• Red Mill Park Great Lakes Ecosystem Restoration, LaPorte County Parks 
• Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo 
• Loyola Academy Wetland Restoration, Loyola Academy 
• Naper Settlement Stormwater Management Improvements, City of Naperville 
Niles Community Rain Garden and Prairie Plant Project, Village of Niles 
Conservation Developments will be awarded to the following (project name, project managers): 
• Olde Schaumburg Center Parking Lot, Village of Schaumburg

Certificates of Merit will be awarded to the following (project name, project managers): 
• Empowerment through Education and Exposure, Saferfoundation DOE

Get Niles and Morton Grove news in a daily email from Patch. It’s like getting a free newspaper. Learn more. 

Article source:

Boho Farm and Home’s Caroline Van Slyke Offers Tips on Gardening in Phoenix

boho farm.jpgFrom Boho Farm + HomeGrow what you eat, in your yard.

It is a new year, and for many that means resolutions. Recommended resolution for this year: Grow your own food. Yes, it can be done. You don’t have to be a bicycle-riding, Prius-driving, urban goat owner to grow your own food. You too can grow food and Instagram great-looking garden booty.

Never gardened in the desert before? Don’t know where to start? Boho Farm and Home owner Caroline Van Slyke, who recently transformed her own front yard into a fruit-growing paradise, recommends starting small and simple.

See also:
It’s Not Too Late! A Guide to Planting a Late Fall Vegetable Garden in Phoenix
Grown-Up Applesauce with Caroline Van Slyke

“One 4-foot-by-8-foot garden box or a couple of wine barrels and grow things that you like to eat — if that seems too much, plant a fruit tree. A peach tree is easy! This will help you see the success and enjoyment in raising your own food and then you can slowly add more beds,” she says.

Whatever you do, don’t jump in the deep end. “The mistake I see most often is people in their desire to have multiple gardens and beds right away plant too much, and they get overwhelmed and say they can’t garden.” says Van Slyke.

caroline-van-slyke-boho-farm-and.jpgFrom Boho Farm + HomeCaroline Van Slyke in her garden.You want to try to make growing your own food an empowering, not overwhelming, experience. “This journey to sustainability for our family has been one of the most rewarding journeys we have embarked on,” she says.

In other words, it is pretty cool to harvest a salad from your own backyard in your pajamas.

Van Slyke lives a simple, sustainable life in Arcadia and incorporates design, gardening, and cooking into a visually stunning home. But, you don’t need to be quite as glamorous as she is to make a change in the new year.

“There is something very special and healing about being in contact with the land . . . belonging to the land. Planting a backyard garden can change the world!” she says. Or at least your world.

You can put in a veggie/fruit garden now or wait until the early spring. You’ll just want to make sure the spot you pick gets six to eight hours of sun.

“This time of year is one of my favorites to plant because it is bare-root fruit season, from late December to early February is the time in the Valley to plant bare-root fruit trees and roses too,” she says.

Regardless of when you plan to begin your resolution, don’t start with crops that are out of season. Van Slyke recommends visiting a local nursery instead of a big-box store. “They will give you great advice and all the plants they have are for this growing season.”

Location Info



Sweet Salvage

4648 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Baker’s Nursery and Gift Shop

3414 N. 40th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Singh Farms

8900 E. Thomas Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Tips on tools for gardening

Chew Valley Gardening Society members look forward to their first meeting of the new year on Thursday, January 10, when they welcome the return of John Tucker, who will talk about how to buy garden tools.

The society meets upstairs in the Old Schoolroom at Chew Magna at 8pm, with a chance to chat with other gardeners over a cup of coffee and biscuits after the talk.

Jumble sale for wildlife

There will be a jumble and white elephant sale on Saturday, January 12, at 2pm in the Old Schoolroom, Chew Magna, in aid of the Avon Wildlife Trust.

Children’s toys, games, bric-a-brac, clothes, white elephant and books can be delivered to the Old Schoolroom from 5pm onwards on the evening before the sale.

For more information call Annie Sewart on 01725 332482.

Spotlight on quarrying

Pensford Local History Group meets on Monday, with guest speaker Robin Thornes, who will talk about the history of quarrying in the Mendips.

The meeting will begin at 7.30pm in Pensford Church Rooms.

For more information call 01761 490670 or 490656.

Article source:

Tips for Keeping Chickens in Your Garden

Helpful tips on getting started with your own home chicken coop, and the problems you may face. I share my experience of maintaining my garden, my hens and my sanity, as I embark on a new found part of living the ‘good life’…


Image by Lambert

I imagine that many of us remember that popular British sitcom The Good Life, and wish we could pull off such a wonderfully sustainable way of living.

Well last year I made my first step into my ‘good life’, by growing as many herbs and vegetables as possible at the end of the garden; sweet peas, potatoes, onions and courgettes have all been a success.

But this year my partner and I, as well as our new little arrival, have decided to take on a new challenge. Keeping hens!


Starting from Scratch

We began by purchasing three rescue hens. These hens were previously caged, partially bald and had never had the chance to roam free.

Having looked over all the posh Eglu houses on offer, we decided instead to build the run ourselves; scrap wood from the tip, hay from a local farmer and reams of chicken wire have all served to set our chickens up in good stead. It took a whole Sunday, but we managed it, and the hens were very content!

As the owner of a dog, we had to be certain that our chicken wire defences were strong enough to make sure we didn’t wake up to a chicken massacre in the morning!


And Then the Problems Begin

Eggs started to arrive quite quickly (with each hen laying one a day); however our garden has definitely paid the price for the eggs. The patch that we had given over to our feathered friends had taken a battering after a relatively short period of time. So, if you are a little obsessive about keeping your lawn uniform, chickens may not be for you.


Finding Solutions

First of all we realised that the worst damage was done to my potted sweet peas and tomato plants on the patio. It turns out that chickens will eat almost anything! These plants have now been rescued by placing them in our conservatory. If you don’t have a conservatory, I recommend that you get a plastic pop-up green house.

Next, I found and recycled some old PVC and used it as a guard along the bottom of their pens. This stopped the hens from escaping and damaging the edge of our lawn, and rescued them from certain dog-related death!

We decided to use old boards of plywood to firm up the walls of their enclosure, with the idea that if the dog couldn’t see the birds, it might lose some interest!

Not too long after the hens moved into their pen, there was a downpour of rain. This turned the floor of the pen into a mud-fest, and so naturally the hens became a state too. But our local farming store sold us a large amount of cheap sawdust that can be thrown down to prevent this, keeping the hens dry and relatively mud free.


The Future Run

We realised that we needed to give some serious strategic thought to the section of the garden that was going to be dedicated to a chicken run. This run can then easily be moved around to other areas of the garden in the future, although you may have damaged your lawns and flowerbeds in the process of setting it up on the first place, so be careful you don’t accidently ruin your whole garden trying to house your clucking companions.

Another thing you will have to think about is supplying some extra bird food or chicken feed as they quite quickly pick the area you have placed them in completely clean!

We’ve decided that it would be best to sacrifice the parts of the garden that were a bit too tough to grow veg in this year, before swapping them over next spring.

So there is my hen filled tale on how I protected my garden. Do you have any tips and tricks on keeping these lovely creatures?


Louise Blake is a new mum and nature lover who is an aspiring writer who dreams of being self sustaining one day. But for now she has to get to grips with the challenges of her blossoming young family and occasionally writing a blog or two in conjunction with companies such as Petmeds.

Related posts:

Tags: ,

Article source:

Ag Days Program Features Strategies and Tips for Home, School Gardens

Ag Days Program Features Strategies and Tips for Home, School Gardens

Are you an avid gardener, already planning your seed beds for spring, but always interested in new ideas? Or are you a “newbie,” excited about the thought of growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables but unsure where to start? Then this year’s MonDak Ag Days and Trade Show is the place to be!

The 2013 event on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 10-11, at the Richland County Fairgrounds Event Center includes a series of gardening talks to kick of this year’s programming schedule. From 8:30 am through noon on Thursday, you can learn how to use raised beds and limited space to increase your gardening productivity, how to capture rainwater and identify good and bad insects; how to do easy bucket composting, and how to kick off a gardening project at your school. Presenters include local master gardeners and insect experts, well-versed in gardening in this region, along with a Montana Food Corps volunteer helping to connect schools and institutions with freshly grown local foods, whether by scaling up their own gardens or working with area farmers. And finally, “Captain Compost,” aka Mike Dalton, founder of Gardens from Garbage, will also be on hand to discuss composting techniques for both big and small gardens.

Raising More With Less

The gardening session begins with a presentation entitled “Square Foot Gardening and Raised Beds” by Master Gardener George Biebl of Sidney. “Square foot gardening” techniques call for the use of raised beds and soil mixes for your garden which is laid out in a grid in which only the seeds you need are sown. The system allows you to grow much more in a smaller space and is easier for youngsters and adults with limited mobility to manage. According to practitioners, the method uses fewer resources, requires less work, yet still produces a crop equal to a single row garden five times its size. Biebl has used the techniques, particularly the raised beds, in his garden for ten years now and will share his successful experiences and tips during his presentation.

At 9 am, another local Master Gardener Bill Iversen will discuss his own innovative watering techniques in a presentation entitled “Rainwater Capture Strategies.” Iversen harnesses Mother Nature to handle much of the watering chores needed for his large garden, and will share how he does it during his Thursday morning presentation.

Iversen will be followed by Deb Waters, a biological science technician with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Sidney, insect expert and fellow gardener. Waters will discuss many of the problem insects local gardeners can expect to encounter and ways to manage them, along with highlighting the beneficial insects also present in their gardens and ways to preserve them. Her presentation, scheduled for 9:30 am on Thursday, is entitled “Garden Insects: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

“A New Era of Composting”

“Captain Compost” Mike Dalton of Great Falls takes over at 10 am with a wide-ranging discussion of “a new era of composting” and how it can not only aid backyard gardeners, but also schools and institutions looking to improve their meal offerings by establishing their own gardens for raising fresh fruits and vegetables and to dispose of their food wastes in a productive manner. Dalton’s talk entitled “Bucket Composting” will demonstrate how to use a natural “live” compost accelerant called Bokashi in an easy cold composting process with “no turning and no stink.” According to Dalton, the process, which uses essential microbes in an air tight environment (the bucket) to break down organic matter, is ten times faster than regular composting and works with dairy, fats and meat organic waste as well as plant materials.

Dalton has taught the process to fourth graders and other students at several Montana schools that have established their own gardens for fresh produce. He’s also been exploring options for using the process to aid disposal and composting of institutional and municipal food waste that currently is dumped in local landfills. Find out more from “Captain Compost” during his MonDak Ag Days presentation Thursday, Jan. 10 beginning at 10 am.

Gardening in Schools

“Captain Compost” Mike Dalton

The Ag Days gardening program concludes with a presentation by AmeriCorps VISTA Anne McHale, who is serving with the FoodCorps team in Glendive, MT. Montana’s FoodCorps aims to improve access to healthy, locally-grown food for kids, and provide new markets for local farmers and ranchers. As full-time, year-round VISTA volunteers, the FoodCorps team builds and tends school gardens, helps cafeterias serve locally-grown meals, and educates students about how and why to eat healthy, locally-grown food.

McHale will discuss her work in Glendive and with area schools in establishing their own gardens. Her talk is entitled “Gardening in Schools” and is set to begin at 11 am Jan. 10 at the Event Center. We hope you can join us for this interesting series of speakers.

Article source: