By Ian Taylor
This article is the first in the Way to Grow Urban Farms series by Ian Taylor highlighting six hosts from the 2015 Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour.
Folks in Seattle don’t know how lucky they are. Really! Many cities across the USA do not allow residents to keep any chickens at all. Not only can Seattle residents keep chickens and other livestock in their backyards, they also have the annual Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour to showcase many of those places so we can all share in the adventure and joy of urban farming.
This year’s Tour took place on Saturday, July 11 and featured 25 “farmettes” of all descriptions. We’ve put together a sampling of six of the sites, starting with Yummy Yard Farm.
Yummy Yard Farm
Ann and Joel have been keeping bees at Yummy Yard Farm for 2 years, but it hasn’t all been easy. Ann explains “The first year the bees—which were Italian Whites—abandoned the hive. We replaced them with Carnelians and this year we’re hoping for a honey harvest!”
The beehive at Yummy Yard Farm looks different because it is a Warre Hive, designed without frames “to give the bees a more natural environment,” says Ann, “and it makes the beekeeper’s job easier, too.”
Ann and Joel started their urban farm four years ago. “I’ve always wanted to be a farmer,” says Ann. “I’ve grown vegetables for a long time, and when I went on the Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop Tour I saw what was possible. After that I took classes at Seattle Tilth on raising chickens and beekeeping and that got me started.”
There are six chickens in a walk-in run of 8’x 8’. “We let the chickens out into the garden,” says Ann, “but it’s important to fence off any plants you want to protect from the chickens, because they love them as much as you do!”
“We’d love to have goats,” says Ann, “but it’s not possible in this limited space. We do plan to grow more fruits and vegetables, though, wherever we can fit them in. We built raised vegetable beds out on the parking strip to extend the growing area. Our goal is to remove all the grass growing on the property and replace it with edibles. We also have a plot at the Picardo P-patch and we can provide almost all our own produce during the summer. Then we freeze and can the surplus for the winter months. It’s a ton of work but it’s so much fun—and so satisfying!”