Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ann Arbor Eggs

A reader raised a great question about Ann Arbor eggs. If you don't want (or your neighbors are a bit hesitant to agree to let you have) chickens in your backyard, is it possible to get your hands on some neighborhood eggs?

Here are a couple things that might be helpful resources.

Ann Arbor Chickens are on Facebook. Post the question to the group. Might I also suggest also offering a trade as a bit of a carrot? For example, if you've got a garden offer some veggies or better yet to clean out the coop in the spring and haul off the manure for your garden! (Take a look at the Project Grow Facebook page while you're there, too!)

Ann Arbor City Chickens is a web site dedicated to, well, Ann Arbor City Chickens. Check them out for ideas, some reference materials, and ideas for supplies.

Peruse the Ann Arbor (including the Westside Market!) and Ypsilanti Farmers Markets and look for community eggs. There's an ever-growing list of producers present, so it's worth investigating.

And now I'm hoping for ideas from all of you! Any leads on getting your hands on neighborhood eggs? Got neighborhood eggs you want to share? Give a shout and let us know!

Upcoming Class Reminder!

Potato Seeds, Sweet Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Slips
Saturday, April 10
10am - 11:30am
Leslie House at Leslie Science Center

Heirloom Tomatoes and Peppers
Saturday, April 17
10am - 11:30am
Leslie House at Leslie Science Center

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Take Project Grow's Potato Pledge and Plant a Row for the Hungry

While planning this years garden - whether electronically or using pen and paper - don't forget to plant a row for the hungry. It's not difficult (what's one more row, really?) and can provide fresh food that can make a world of difference for a neighbor in the community.

And Project Grow and Downtown Home and Garden are making it even easier! Take our Potato Pledge and pick up two pounds of seed potatoes from Downtown Home and Garden on April 17th and get growing! Potatoes are easy and satisfying to grow, and are a favorite staple of food banks everywhere.

Potato Pledge
1. Find the Project Grow Potato Pledge Form at Downtown Home and Garden, the Ann Arbor Public Library - Downtown Branch, the People's Food Coop, and Whole Foods. (Take the upcoming class Potato Seeds, Seed Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Slips on Saturday, April 10th and pick up the form there, too!)

2. Bring the Pledge to Downtown Home and Garden on Saturday, April 17th to "Potato Alley" behind the store (enter at Liberty Street and exit via Washington Street), and turn that paper into two pounds of beautiful seed potatoes ready for planting.

3. Plant those potatoes! Without a doubt our Project Grow heirloom devotee, Royer Held, will offer some of the best insight on growing potatoes to be found during "Potato Seeds, Seed Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes" on Saturday, April 10th. (Well-timed for Potato Pledgers so sign-up now!)

4. Harvest in late summer or early fall. Details on collection dates, times, and places can be found at this blog, our newsletter, and via email.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fall Bulb Planning Now or Any Excuse to Get Outside

Put those Spring blues at bay for the moment and head out the door. This terrific idea about planning now for fall bulb planting is absolutely the perfect excuse to get out into the yard and to work. No digging or uncovering or planting - all a bit risky for the chilly days still in store for us - but some excellent fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Savor Seva: Not Just a Benefit for Your Tastebuds

Looking for someone to talk over that garden plan with? Hankering for a taste of Spring? Or just looking for a great meal at one of Ann Arbor's great restaurants?

Then come on out and join fellow gardeners and gardening enthusiasts on Monday, March 29th to compare notes over some of Ann Arbor's best vegetarian fare at Seva Restaurant. And remember, twenty-percent of the evening's proceeds will benefit Project Grow Community Gardens!

Savor Seva
Monday, March 29th
5pm - 9pm
Seva Restaurant
314 East Liberty
Ann Arbor

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fowl Play: Enjoying Backyard Chickens

It goes without saying that a garden - large or small, potted or free-range - with a few favorite vegetables, herbs, and flowers is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get fresh food. Backyard chickens are another. Fresh eggs from birds that are surprisingly funny, affectionate, and a fantastic source of fertilizer for the garden make them an instant delight!

Getting Started
While the idea of having chickens is appealing, knowing where to begin can feel a bit intimidating. A good overview on chicken basics is helpful as is learning about different chicken breeds that are well-suited to the backyard are great first steps.

Coop designs range from the traditional coop (stationary chicken house) or chicken tractor (a mobile coop that allows for contained free-ranging in safety). Your final choice will depend on the chicken ordinance you live under as well as the available space in your yard.

Chickens don't require a great deal of specialized care (no need to take them for a walk every night, etc.), but they do have a few minimal requirements. A safe enclosed coop that keeps them sheltered from the cold of winter and the heat of summer, fresh water, a little extra food to augment bugs and grass, and at least an annual cleaning of the coop to keep things tidy.

Classes, Books and Blogs
Our upcoming class on chickens led by Peter Thomason of Thomason Family Farm is full, but here are some other good resources to check out in the meantime.

A good basic primer on chicken-rearing is Christine Heinrich's How to Raise Chickens: Everything You Need to Know (2007) while Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, Third Edition (2010) is perhaps the definitive reference for your shelf. (Check out Christine Heinrich's blog, too!) There's also Martin Gurdon's Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance (2005) to inspire the chicken farmer in all of us.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Savor Seva with Project Grow!

Spring is the time of year when a gardener begins conjuring up images of all the bounty the summer will have to offer. Seed catalogs lie open on the table and check lists abound of what to get and to grow. The path to the garden is already well worn from short visits to see the first rhubarb sprout, the first crocus, and maybe even to do a little measuring for this year's agenda.

Project Grow and Seva invite you to take a break from all that planning to come on out for an evening of fun and food with fellow gardeners (and eaters!) all in support of Project Grow. What better way to spend a Monday?

Event Details
Savoring Seva
Monday, March 29th
5pm - 9pm
Seva Restaurant
314 East Liberty

Check us out on Facebook, too, for more events, articles, and information!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Backyard Chickens 101

Hankering for fresh eggs? Well, now folks living in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti can now enjoy the company of up to four chickens and all the eggs those lovely ladies will deliver. (Sorry, no roosters.)

Not sure where to start? Well, join us this Saturday, March 20th for A-maizing Chickens! to learn the basics about getting, keeping, supporting, and enjoying hens in an urban environment. Come on out to the Thomason Family Farm where Peter Thomason will share his knowledge and experience in fowl play.

A-maizing Chickens!
Saturday, March 20th
10am - 12pm
211 Woodward, Ypsilanti
Registration Required
$15 class fee
(Sorry! This one is full, but check out our other upcoming classes, too!)

Potato Seeds, Sweet Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Slips
Saturday, April 10
10am - 11:30am
Leslie House at Leslie Science Center

Heirloom Tomatoes and Peppers
Saturday, April 17
10am - 11:30am
Leslie House at Leslie Science Center