The Portland non-profit Growing Gardens is raffling off a brand-new, fully built Garden Ark chicken coop. This mobile coop was lovingly put together by myself and the participants of a chicken coop building workshop I led for Growing Gardens earlier this year. We took great pride and care in building it, and if I may say so, it’s really a sweet little coop! (more…)
Posts tagged with ‘Growing Gardens’
In September, my son and I led a chicken coop building workshop put on by Growing Gardens of Portland. Twelve or so people came out to Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply to take part, I’m sure setting some kind of record for the most hands working on a chicken coop at once. We had a great day in the sun and put together an awesome coop. Read on for more details and pictures.
I hadn’t built one of these in several months, so I found myself having to relearn a few things as I went. Whenever I’d get stuck on a step, my daughter would gently remind me to “read the plan, Dad.” Now there’s an idea.
I can’t get over how much fun it is to build this coop. Everything happens in clear, logical steps and comes together nice and neat. By the end of building one, I want to move in.
This Garden Ark in particular was a full family effort. My son worked with me through the whole process. I may have more strength to work the tools, but he’s a natural builder. It won’t be long before he’s doing these on his own. He can still fit in tight spaces too, which came in handy a couple times.
My daughter got in on the coop project too, helping to keep me grounded, building the nesting box, and taking a turn with the power driver any chance she could get. And my wife came up with the color scheme and spent a few afternoons painting the henhouse siding and doors.
If you’re thinking of trying your luck in the raffle, here are a few details about this Garden Ark: It measures about 3′ wide by 6′ long by 4.5′ tall. It’s sized for three or four hens. It comes with a nesting box and perches, inside and out. It’s enclosed on the top and sides with 1/2″ galvanized hardware cloth. The lumber is treated with a non-toxic, eco-friendly wood preservative, and it’s got three coats of really nice exterior paint on the siding. The white polycarbonate roof panels are virtually indestructible and let through a beautiful glowing light. Pause for air. . .
The egg door and the double doors are barrel-bolted and lockable. There’s a sliding door for the henhouse access opening if you want to seal your hens in the henhouse at night. If you’re starting with chicks, you can use the henhouse as a brooder (the roof can be removed to make way for the heat lamp). There’s a pair of 6″ wheels on the back, so you can tilt and roll it fairly easily. And last but not least, it fits in the bed of a small pickup.
You can see this Garden Ark — and buy as many raffle tickets as you can afford to try to win it — July 17-24, at the Urban Farm Store (2100 SE Belmont, Portland). With every ticket, you help Growing Gardens as they try to raise even more $$$ than last year. In the meantime, save the date of the tour (Saturday, July 24, 2010) and tell your friends to do the same. And if you just can’t wait to have a Garden Ark all your own, you can always build one yourself!
Great post at Growing Gardens’ blog on how they prepare vegetable beds for their garden installations. They use a combination of double-digging, a method that loosens the soil to a depth of about two feet while incorporating rich compost, and sheet mulching, which involves layering newspaper or cardboard with compost, leaves, straw, and the like.
We’ve used both methods separately and together in our own veggie gardens with great results. What’s more, the abundance of composted chicken manure we get from our hens makes a super fertilizer to mix into a newly prepared bed. That’s right, it ain’t all about the eggs.
We took part in Portland’s Tour de Coops again this year, and the turnout was incredible. A few hundred people streamed through our yard on a hot Saturday in late July to see our two coops and our (now) eight hens and to ask questions.
We saw several familiar faces, including a few past customers who stopped by to say hi and show us pictures of their coops. Visitors spanned all ages and types. If you ever hear someone say that keeping chickens or growing your own food is an ‘elitist’ endeavor, send them to me.
Better yet, send them to Growing Gardens. This is the non-profit group that puts on the Tour de Coops each year to raise funds in support of its mission: to help Portlanders grow their own food, especially those without the resources to get started. (more…)