Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Square Foot Gardening–soon but not yet

Okay.  So I wanted to do a post on how to start your square foot garden.   I went outside to clean out the gardens.  I had great intentions.   But, guess what I found?
Chickens.  They were taking a dirt bath in the garden.  Did you know that they do that?  Have you ever seen it?  It was pretty enlightening. 
Chicken Dirt Bath
I had dirt in my hair after taping this.  They can really throw the dirt up.
Supposedly they do this to keep bugs off of them.  Bugs don’t like dirt so they fill their feathers with it and it keeps the bugs away.
Isn’t it amazing that God gave animals the intelligence to know how to keep themselves clean?  Even chickens point me to God’s intelligent design.
I did get lettuce and carrots planted.  I planted them about 10 days ago.    It has been so beautiful here that it only took about 4 days for it to come up. 
I think in only a couple of days we will be able to start eating out of this.  I planted heirloom seeds.  I am going to do totally organic plants this year.  I am really excited to see how this works for us.   These are about 2 inches tall already.  I’m going to plant about 3 more squares this week so we will have an ongoing salad bar in the garden.   With David being vegetarian, we’re going to need it. 
Have you priced lettuce at the store lately?  I don’t mean a head of lettuce.  It’s fairly inexpensive.  I mean the organic leaf lettuce?  At Kroger the other day it was $4.99 a pound and of course thDSCN0236ey water it so I would be paying for the weight of water too.  What’s up with that? 
The carrots have even begun to come up.  They aren’t as impressive as the lettuce but I can see em.    The kids are watering them because the soil is looking a little dry.
Now, back to the chickens.  I have to admit that I love them.  They are so pretty.  I love looking out in the yard and seeing them forage for worms and bugs.   DSCN0241
This one is in the edge of the woods digging in the leaves.  (His sister was in the coop laying an egg.) It is so entertaining because everything I see them they have a worm in their mouths. 
Chickens are so educational too.  The kids are doing chickens for 4H so they are learning so much.  They’ve learned all about the crawl.  Did you know that there are people who eat it?  Gross.   The crawl is where everything the chicken eats gets stored.  They eat pebbles and rocks so it gets ground up.  Their stomachs don’t work like ours do so they have to have the crawl to digest the food.  That’s where the rocks are.   If not, I’m pretty sure you would see everything they ate whole in their poop.   Chickens that are kept in cages and are not allowed to graze are fed oyster shells because they don’t have access to pebbles.    Some feed has the shells in it.  Our local feed mill lets you pick if you want them or not.
A couple of things that I don’t like about the chickens.
There is a lot of it.  And because we let them out in the yard whenever we are home, it is all over the yard.  This in turn gets on my shoes.  Yucky.  
The other thing is that they seem to love our front porch.
Which in turn produces poop on the porch.  Again, Yucky!
I guess that is just one of the things I have to endure for fresh eggs.
David says it will take us 15 years to break even on our chicken investment.    We paid $300 for my dad to build it (that was materials only), $20 for the chickens, $20 for the food.  I’m thinking he’s a little off on his calculations.  I had Griffin figure it up (one of the great ways to incorporate meaningful math into our day).  If we compare it to the cost of organic, free range eggs, we will totally be in the clear in 9.3 years.   Winking smile
Here is some of the ways we use chickens to add to our schooling:
Math – calculating cost of coop compared to the cost of eggs.
Math -  Figured how much food we need for 2 chickens for one month – you’re not suppposed to keep it longer than that and we want to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
Science – learned all about chicken crawls
Science – checked out the chicken poop to see if food is digested completely (it isn’t)  I’m thinking we could sell this to other homeschoolers so they can dissect it.  You know, kind of like they do owl pellets. 
Home Ec- cleaning up after the chickens is quite enlightening.   I guess it could be under science too cuz they get to mix bleach and water to clean it off the porch.
Science – we have learned that chickens really do go to their coop at dusk. 
Physical Education – chasing them before we didn’t really believe that they would get in the coop at bedtime
Science – learned all about dirt baths.
Science – we have first hand seen the difference in eggs from the store and eggs from chickens at home.  Wow, there is a huge difference. 
Math – the kids calculated how much paint we would need to paint the coop and still have enough left over to touch up later if we need to. 
I love showing the kids that school really is used in everyday life.  It makes it all make sense to them when we need to use these skills on our own little homestead.
Until next time. . . . . ..
Happy Homeschooling.


Jenn said...

We still have two months to go before moving to the country, but my family is really looking forward to chickens. A friend used to bring us eggs before his flock was eaten,and you are so right, there is no comparison to store bought. Organic free-range aren't even an option in my small town stores, so I don't have a price to compare to.

I somehow never thought about poop being everywhere. I was looking forward to having something eat the ticks that have infested the yard. Trading one yuck for another yuck. Yucky. But worth it.

Loving learning at Home said...

Thanks for stopping by. The chickens are great. I have no idea why but they love my front porch. I would think the concrete is cold but I can't keep them off. LOL I have cleaned it with bleach water at least 3 times a day this week.

SFG Foundation said...

Hey, we'd love to see pictures of your SFG once you get it going! Send them to - he always loves to hear from potential SFGers!

Kevin from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation

donna Madden said...

Lori, Just found your blog, while trying to search for mine. I too have just started square foot gardening, and enjoy my chickens--except when they get in my garden and dig up my plants. They are now gated out. We are homeschoolers enjoying life together also. Stop by my blog--just got it started- and have never done this kind of thing before-would love your feedback.


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