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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chickens Take Baths!?

I’ve come home early from speaking at IACP in New York City….ehh….to be clear, that’s International Assoc of Culinary Professionals…..NOT Intl Assoc of Chief of Police. The week prior was Food Blog Forum Orlando (come see Diane’s post!), so I’ve been a little busy. PLUS the book manuscript is due in a week. So far, I haven’t freaked out in public, but I’m waltzing on what seems like fishing wire – it’s got a little give to it but could snap at any moment.

This morning was the first time in a couple of weeks that I really had a chance to spend some time in the garden. While I was gone, Spring had arrived with some good, hard rain to jumpstart the growing season.

Two weeks ago, the corn and sunflowers were just a couple of inches tall. Now….

In that raised bed above, I’m growing what is called, “The Three Sisters” – Corn, Beans and Squash, along with peas and sunflowers in the back. The sunflower and corn grow tall – giving the peas and beans something to grab onto and climb. The beans provide nitrogen to the soil and also help the corn stalk become a little more stable in the wind. The squash grow at the bottom, its big wide leaves provide shade to the soil preventing weeds and discourage evaporation of moisture in the soil. Everyone is happy. The Three Sisters combo is traditional native American gardening.

The herb garden is happy too – 4 different types of basil, 3 different mints (though if I’m not careful, the mint could overtake the entire bed), green onion, dill, parsley, cilantro, chives, tarragon, thyme and lavender.

More squash:

I had forgotten how fast tomato grows – I had poles set up but hadn’t had time to run the twine around them, so the spindly tomato vines are crazy spilling over the sides of the Earthbox.

A few weeks ago, Scott spent the weekend installing an irrigation system for the Earthboxes as well as the raised beds and chicken coop. We have a well on the property and so he dug dug dug to install PVC pipe to each box. Love that man. He deserves an award!

All morning, I practiced the art of bondage to corral the vines in.

And look! Beans!

A couple of things that help me in the garden: stinky fish fertilizer and food grade diatomaceous earth.

Oooh YIKES! look who I found!

The diatomaceous earth is 100% natural, derived from the fossilized remains of algae shell, and is for the chicken coop – I sprinkle this white powder all over the pine shavings (there’s a good 4 inches of pine shaving here) and it helps the chicken poop dry up and harden fast. Plus, it’s safe, natural and non-toxic (just make sure you buy food grade) and actually good for the chickens as it keeps away mites. You can even sprinkle it in your garden to keep the bugs out.

Oh speaking of chickens, here’s our hens today taking a dust bath! This is one of their favorite things to do. Chickens don’t take baths with water, they take baths with dirt! The dust bath is actually very important – it keeps the mites and lice off of them.

The hens will find a nice shady, dry place, kick up the dirt and shake it through their feathers. Sometimes they’lll roll around in the dirt too. Wanna watch!?

Today’s harvest:

Lots of beans, a yellow pepper and 3 eggs -laid by Frenzy (white egg) Olivia Superstar (green egg) and Fireflapper (brown).

And oops….we’ve walked in on Oreo. Sorry, girl!

20 Responses to “Chickens Take Baths!?”

  1. Sharon T — 4/2/12 @ 11:40 am

    Your garden is beautiful! It is so amazing to me that you have produce already. Here in Colorado, my plants are barely peeking above the dirt!

  2. Your garden looks awesome! And I love watching our chickens take their dust baths. So cute.

  3. Pingback: Mayhem and Chicken Dust Bath | Steamy Kitchen Recipes - diatomaceous-earth

  4. Gorgeous spring produce!

    That’s one scary looking spider. wowser!!

  5. Amelia — 4/2/12 @ 6:30 pm

    My mint plant is in a separate pot. It’s almost like a weed and will take over everything around it. Garden is looking great!

  6. Randi — 4/2/12 @ 7:18 pm

    You have such a fantastic garden! I wish I had that much land to do what you have done :)

  7. rita — 4/3/12 @ 3:27 pm

    that is one fabulous garden! i think i have a garden-envy now. AHAHAHAHA! i live in an apt so a garden will not happen.

  8. Vickie — 4/3/12 @ 7:53 pm

    I like to gardening and did research on 24 hours light treatment on my garden outside. Day is sun night I have lights with lamps run by solar power at night. Plants grew faster and bigger and insects stay away due to they like to come out at night. Since no night due lamps light no bug.

  9. Tina — 4/4/12 @ 2:57 pm

    If you want to plant mint in the ground without it taking over the entire bed, cut the bottom out of a fairly deep, wide plastic pot or bucket, dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the pot so that just the last 1/2′ to 1′ is above ground, and fill it in with soil and your mint plant. That will keep it from branching out, but still allow a nice deep root system to grow. This also works well with oregano or any other herb that likes to spread with wild abandon!

  10. Betty — 4/4/12 @ 5:23 pm

    Love the garden. Amazed its producing already but with the weather changing so much Im not surprised. A tip on putting twine /string to tie tomato’s or anything that vines..you can take old hoisery stockings cut them and use. They have some stretch in them that prevents the plants from getting to tight,etc. Great way to use those that have runs/holes in them and no longer use. Also someone mentioned apt. no room..well, I noticed…not sure where…but someone had a Apt and on the balcony made a garden using pallet. Not sure if I saw here or somewhere else. You fill the back of pallet with soil fabric. lay flat and pack in the potting soil in each open space. Put in the bedding plants..and it can be propped up against a wall. The wooden pallets can be gotten free. ….so a good idea for those herbs.

  11. Maryann — 4/4/12 @ 7:47 pm

    Birdies luv dirt!!!

  12. Christine — 4/5/12 @ 4:02 am

    you can use a shoe hanger with pockets to plant smaller herbs or flowers, just fill pockets with dirt and hang up. great space saver.

  13. Jessie McLaughlin — 4/5/12 @ 7:15 pm

    Your garden is wonderful! Coco was so funny with the chickens!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. You never fail to inspire me! But, after seeing the Taj Ma Hal chicken coop…(in another post) now Scott has me inspired as well. Actually, I’m going to hope that Scott inspires my hubby. I suck at power tools. ;)

  15. Chickens don’t literally take a bath with water. But they always take a bath with dusts. But if you want your chicken to be clean, well, its up to you if you really want to bathe it.

  16. Gina — 5/26/12 @ 8:00 pm

    I want to see what your chicken coop looks like. We have chickens and it wouldn’t hurt to update their home a little.

  17. Bonnie N. — 6/30/12 @ 8:31 pm

    What does Coco do with the chickens when you’re not around with a camera? Doggie looks mighty suspicious!

  18. Leah — 7/6/12 @ 1:12 pm

    Jaden…what on earth type/kind of spider IS that thing??!! OMG…I’d have a heart attack…no, I’m not kidding! Scared me when I scrolled down and saw it. You deserve a medal for standing close enough to take a picture of it.

  19. alanaa — 10/9/12 @ 6:04 pm

    my dream garden. so nice to have organic veggies and chicken:)ur amazing!

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