New Book: Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, and while I’m admittedly biased in this case — that’s a real-life Garden Coop chicken coop in the background of the cover shot! — garden designer Jessi Bloom’s new book Free-Range Chicken Gardens is as lush and inspiring as the chicken paradise featured on the front.

The premise of the book is simple: how do you best integrate chickens into a backyard vegetable or permaculture garden. Bloom does a wonderful job of showing you how, drawing not only from her own experience as a garden designer and chicken keeper, but also from the experiences of a diverse group of chicken gardeners she profiles throughout the book.

Topics covered include all the basics of keeping backyard chickens plus how to create a plan for a chicken-friendly garden and what plants to include/avoid in your chickens’ day yard. The illustrations are clear. Kate Baldwin’s photos are gorgeous.

Seriously, if I were a chicken, I’d want to live in this book — or at least in one of the gardens featured in this book — one of which is the handiwork of horticulturalist Alana Meyer. Alana’s sumptuous Washington State garden adorns the book’s cover along with the chicken coop she built using The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop plans and her own two hands.

Have you read Jessi’s book? Follow her blog? Leave a quick comment and let us know what you think, what you’ve learned, and what you’ve been inspired to do with your garden and chickens.


3 thoughts on “New Book: Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom”

  1. I love this book. In fact it is where I first saw and learned about The Garden Coop. The book is full of great information covering just about everything a backyard chicken rancher like myself needs to know. I raised chickens as a kid but that was back in the days when the chickens stayed in the coop and you tossed them some cracked corn and fresh water each morning and night. Now, living in the suburbs and raising free-range chickens who have access to my serious landscaping, chicken ranching has taken on a whole new meaning and life of its own. From plant suggestions (good ones and toxic ones) to coop building suggestions and locations to diseases and much more, this book is a tremendous wealth of information. And, of course, with a cover photo featuring The Garden Coop, how could you not like the book! I got my copy from the library and even having finished reading it well before the loan period is over I can’t bring myself to return it. I will buying my own copy to keep on hand at all times!

  2. Hi, I have a spouse that would prefer that we not have chickens. So I will be building a coop on my own. Do the directions give exact dimensions to cut the wood? And can a plain Jane build it if all she knows how to do is swing a hammer? jking…

    Thanks for your help, wish me luck too. I have wooden pallets, and I was wondering if I might be able to use the scrap wood for building the coop with.

    Linda Moore

    • Linda, the directions in our chicken coop plans do give exact dimensions! There are plenty of pictures, diagrams, and explanations to go along with that as well. I wrote the plans for beginners. So if all you know how to do is swing a hammer, you’ll learn a lot, but you can do it. Check out many of the “Make It Your Own” profiles on this blog, and you’ll find that it’s a first project for a lot of people, and their coops look great. As for the pallets, the best reuse of that wood in your coop may be as siding, perches, nest boxes, and the like. Could add a lot of character.


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