Monday, January 17, 2011

Gardening with chickens

In 2009 I started gardening with a companion chicken named Cinnamon. I borrowed her from a good friend in Fairfield who identified her as not fitting in with the rest of the flock. I was unable to keep her over the summer but received a different Cochin this January. Elizabeth named her Sugar.

Sugar stays in a large rabbit cage when at at home and travels in a cat carrier in my car to my gardening jobs. I like gardening with cochin chickens because they are quiet and calm birds with determined yet friendly dispositions.

She love to eat weeds and gets the occasional worm for her efforts. The forage she gets from a days work helps to enrich her lovely brown eggs. In my family we view Sugar as a pet and treat her as kindly as our family dogs.

Having Sugar work with me helps to encourage my colleagues and clients to consider keeping chickens and fosters a better understanding of perma culture and the need to treat farm animals humanely.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Salvia conferiflora (red-velvet salvia)

A native from Brazil that will reach 4-6 feet in height and width in one season. It has large dark green leaves, with a yellow undertone, with serrated edges, and with velvety red-brown hairs on the petiole and stem of the new leaves.

Flower inflorescences reach up to 2 feet long and are covered with velvety red-brown

hairs, with the stems of the inflorescence and the calyx also having a red-brown color. The .5 inch flowers are orange-red, and very profuse, explaining the epithet confertiflora, or "crowded with flowers". The plant grows so large that it needs staking and protection from wind in gardens.

Hummingbirds love it and it blooms year around in San Francisco.