One of the best ways families can go green is by growing their own organic veggies. But did you also know that it’s also possible to raise your own chickens so that you can enjoy fresh eggs too? You just need to set up your own little urban farm! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space – you’ll be surprised at the possibilities you have even in a compact city garden. Here are some very useful tips that can help you get started with your urban farm. And remember, even if you decide to just grow a few veggies in pots on the patio, you will be feeding your family with healthy fresh food, with no air miles, pesticides and you had fun along the way!
Split Your Space
If you fancy growing vegetables and keeping chickens in the same garden, you will need to effectively split up the space. That’s because you shouldn’t let chickens onto your vegetable patch as they will scratch it up and could damage the plants once they start to grow. Trust me, I have fallen victim to this a few times! The chickens had great fun though!
So, it’s necessary to allocate some of your garden as a veg patch, and make sure that it is surrounded by a fence or some chicken wire so that all your crops can grow without being disturbed by the chicken! Make sure the wire is strong and do your research how to fox proof your space. Even though chickens can’t fly, they can jump very high. We have one girl who can easily clear 6ft!
Equip Your Shed
You will need lots of different tools once you start your own little urban farm. For starters, you should ensure that you have plenty of gardening equipment that can help you look after all your crops. If you plan on working in your shed and have lighting installed, you might want to go to selectra.co.uk and find out about smart meters. These can help you monitor your energy use and ensure your farm stays within its budget. Fix water buts to your home and shed too, so you reduce the need for using the garden hose. We have 4 water buts in total, which saves gallons of water needed to water all of our veggies.
Use your shed as growing space too. We have attached hanging baskets to our shed. Our shed is huge and in full sun, perfect from growing tumbling tomatoes.
Find A Chicken Coop
You need to find an appropriate coop or hutch for your chickens to live in. If your shed is big enough, you might want to just place some straw in one corner so that they can sleep in there. That’ll save you buying a specific house for them. It is important to remember that you might not be able to let your chickens roam freely if you live in a built-up area. But you can still let them outside – you just need to make a run for them. You can have a go at making your own, but most pet shops stock them. Looking at chickencoopsandhouses.co.uk, you can see that there are runs and coops of various shapes and sizes.
We have a kids wendy house as a coop. I can easily get in to clean and collect eggs, and my husband fitted a drop down steal door to make letting them out in the morning easier. The wendy house was an on-line freebie and works just as well as any expensive coop.
Start by growing just a few things in tubs first or dedicating a small patch of your garden for growing space. Taking on loads as a newbie can be daunting and can be really disheartening when things go wrong. Take time to plan your garden, what you want to grow and do your research when the best time to sow and plant out.
Keep your eyes peeled for a cheap greenhouse for sale. The plastic pop up ones are fab for small sheltered spaces, but glass houses are best. You can buy small ones, and will have far greater success growing in a proper glass house.
Sell Your Eggs
If you find that you have quite a few eggs left over after your family have taken the ones that you need, you might like the idea of selling some. To do this, you should buy some egg boxes (or ask your family and friends for any old ones!) and clean off the eggs before you pack them. Make sure you don’t wash them, though, as this can damage the protecting film that helps them last longer. Don’t say that your eggs are free-range though, as you might be breaking regulations, especially if your chickens can’t get out of your garden. But if you feed your chickens organic food, then you can advertise them as organic eggs.
Enjoy your new urban farm!