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    Members and their Gardens


Photographs by Michelle Bond


Michelle has her garden on the San Francisco Peninsula, in Sunset zone 16. Described as one of California's finest horticultural climates it is a mild Mediterranean-type climate with a few days of light frost and the occasional searing day of heat in the summer.

Her garden is planted with low water use plants.

And benefits from her own flock of chickens !


In her own words;

Chickens in the suburbs? Actually, this isn't as crazy as it sounds.

I have a small flock of hens in my garden for pleasure and also to help
keep garden pests at bay. They provide many benefits to the garden in
addition to fresh eggs.

First, they absolutely adore slugs and other garden pests. When let out to roam the back yard in the mornings, they devour any slugs they find still out in the morning dew (in the spring and early summer - that's a lot of slugs!). Also, all I have to do is to tip up my pots and any slugs or earwigs hiding underneath are quickly devoured.

Another delicacy on the chicken's menu is dandelions. These seem to be some of their favorite greens, and the hens love to pick at them while they are out or wait for me to toss them into their run.

Of course, you do need to keep the hens out of your vegetable bed if you don't want them to help them-selves, but I find a short fence of chicken wire does the job well.

People may not think of it immediately, but one of the best benefits of owning chickens is 'black gold'. Their aged droppings make for absolutely one of the best fertilizers you can find. I add the droppings from their hen house to my compost pile along with spent hay from their nests, and always have a supply of rich, fertile compost for the garden.

All in all, keeping chickens in your backyard can be a move towards a more fertile, organic, and pesticide-free garden, in addition to the liveliness they add to the scene.

Please be sure to check with your city about whether it is legal to keep chickens in your area first, and remember your neighbors, you don't need a rooster to have a group of happy, productive hens!

Michelle Bond


Here are the girls !




Western Horticulture Society
PO Box 166, Mountain View, CA 94042
(650) 948-4614 or (650) 941-6136