Hawthorne Urban Farm
UPDATE: In Jan 2013 we moved to NYC! While we are excited about our new home here, it did also mean we had to rehome our little flock. We were lucky to find a lovely family to take all 5 of our girls so they got to stay together. By all accounts our girls are very happy with the new family who will clearly dote on them, perhaps even more than us! I am leaving this collection of chicken related posts up for anyone interested and I hope we get to keep backyard chickens again one day.
We decided that yes, we do want it all! We want all the culture, excitement, diversity and resources of a big city AND the sustainable and enriching benefits of growing some of our own food. It began when we moved to Silicon Valley a little over a year ago and were mesmerized by all of the fruit trees dripping with fruit growing everywhere you looked in our urban neighborhood. We live smack in downtown, yet almost every yard, not matter how small, has some type of fruit or olive tree thriving. Amazing. So when we decided to rework our very spare backyard, we took every opportunity to add edible plants, from a fig tree to blueberry bushes to grapes to herbs. Now expanding on that theme, we have decided to keep a small flock of backyard chickens! With the addition of chickens, the Hawthorne Urban Farm was born. I will chronicle our adventures and learnings as we city people try to make the most use of our little urban backyard.
Our Backyard Chicken Adventures
Follow our journey as we embark on keeping chickens for eggs and outdoor pets.
- The HUF hens are 1 year old!! (Apr 12, 2012)
- The HUF girls are 4 months old! (July 14, 2011)
- Fresh Air, New Homes and Names! (May 10, 2011)
- Escape! and cute chick pics (Apr 14, 2011)
- Chick Update: Week 2 (Mar 31, 2011)
- Babies are babies and moms are moms (Mar 27, 2011)
- Chick Update: Week 1 (Mar 24, 2011)
- Our chicks are here! (Mar 21, 2011)
- The Coop (Mar 14, 2011)
- Chickens? In our small backyard? (Feb 22, 2011)
Our Research, Planning and Buying Guide
Thinking about keeping a few chickens? Well, I love to research and tend to be fairly exhaustive, so here is a collection of articles I have written on important topics for those, who like us, are new to the concept of urban chicken keeping. I’ll continue to add and edit as we learn more with our little flock.
Other Backyard Chicken Keeper Blogs
Chicken forums I belong to
Our Edible Garden
It was about a year ago that work was completed on our landscaping project when we added a number of edibles to our yard. Having just moved from the Boston area I was fascinated by all of the fruit trees in our neighborhood and the possibilities for our own yard. I soon decided that if we were going to plant something new, why not make it edible! I’m now trying to see if we can find a sunny enough spot for some container gardening in our front year, mainly for veggies. I tried for a community lot near our house since our yard is small and pretty shady but apparently there is a long wait.
- July 14 – So far we’ve had 5 lemons, 2 blood oranges and 10 blueberries from the yard! I know it may not sound like much, but we are delighted. We have a very small and shady yard so production will never be very high, we appreciate everything we get. The chickens have also loved all the clover, we used to pluck it out as a weed, but now that they love it we leave the roots in and just pluck the tops for them to enjoy. I did find husk cherry plants! We planted two in different spots to see where might work better. One had died, the other is still kicking, though growing slowly. Ah…what I wouldn’t give for more sun in our yard. My husband jokes about needed a mobile garden that will move around on its own seeking out the right amount of sun. Wouldn’t that be nice?
- Excited for year 2 of our edible garden (Mar 14, 2011)
Citrus plants are starting to bloom and leaves are forming everywhere else in the garden!
Fruit Plant Inventory
Cherry Tree (Espalier with 6 varieties), Moro Blood Orange Tree, Meyer Lemon Tree, Dwarf Black Mission Fig Tree, Himrod Grape vine, Blueberry Bush, Raspberry Bush, Strawberry plants, Husk Cherries
Oregano, Chives, Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Genovese Basil, Thai Basil, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Spearmint (he variety for Mojitos!), Bay Laurel
Hoping to find a spot to add
Sungold tomatoes, Green zebra tomatoes, more strawberries, millet (for the chickens)