Friday, February 20, 2009

Get Cracking in Your Backyard

The idea of being able to raise chickens in backyards in Richmond has certainly spread. The Richmond News has recently posted an article and we would love to create some dialogue around this issue.

See the whole article here.

Photo by Chung Chow/Richmond News

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Build Your Own Seedling Rack

At the Sharing Farm in Terra Nova, we start a number of seedlings and now that we have access to a work room with electricity, we've decided to set up a seeding area. Karen H., our Greenhouse Social Club Coordinator built these seed racks with the help of her hubby.

Here are her instructions and pics:

Based on the grow racks at

Construction Material

2x4 4 pieces 5 ft
2x4 6 pieces 2 ft
2x3 6 pieces 4 ft
3 sheets 1/2 inch plywood, cut 2 ft x 4 ft
2 lengths of 5 ft 2 inch chain
3 dowels, 4 ft long
4 casters, 3 in diameter
6 flat headed nails (3 inch)
1 box screws (2 - 3 inch long) 3 T8 4 ft utility light fixtures

Other Supplies:

6 32W cool spectrum light bulbs
3 heat mats, 20 in x 48 in
1 power bar (with timer)
1 extension cord

Step 1: Lay the 2x4's on the ground, making 2 rectangles. Screw together (use 2 screws at each joint).

Step 2: You’ll need an extra pair of hands to put your frame together. First, mark the placement of the shelves. We chose to make the lowest shelf have the most growing space, the top shelf the least. Stand up the two end rectangles. Starting with the bottom shelf support, screw two of the 2x3 pieces onto the bottom of the frame. Then, add the middle and top shelf supports.

Step 3: Turn your grow rack upside down. Screw the last two pieces of 2x3’s to the bottom of the frame along side the other 2x3’s to provide a larger base for your casters. Attach the casters. Two of our casters have brakes, to avoid unnecessary runaway plants. You might just want to skip the whole wheel thing if you have a permanent home for your grow rack, but you should use the extra bracing.

Step 4: Turn your rack over. It’ll feel a bit flimsy until you put in your shelving. We chose ½ inch plywood. If you had your plywood cut at your local store, you may need to do some trimming. Don’t screw your plywood in place, you may want to grow really tall plants one day.

Install the chain at each end of the rack, using smaller screws. Your lights will hang on dowels which will hook on to these chains. Todd is hammering in 3 inch long nails to the ends of the dowels. The flat head of the nails will fit nicely onto the chains.

Step 5:
Attach your power bar to the top of the frame. We found a nifty power bar with built-in timer. Four of the plugs operate by switch (for the heat mats) and four operate on the timer (for the lights). Hang your lights. We chose 4 ft long utility lights with an 11 inch reflector, to get the most light for our buck. These are T8 units, running on 32 W cool spectrum bulbs. Place your heat mats on the shelves. Plug everything in and you’re ready to go!

More Chickens in the City

Wow, the buzz around chickens is really starting to grow. Jeff Nield sent this link to a previous article he had written for the Vancouver Courier. Sounds like quite a few people are raising chickens on the "down low" in Vancouver.

Playing chicken

Jeff Nield, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From curbside on a brisk autumn morning on a quiet Mount Pleasant block just west of Main Street, a neatly kept house gives no hint that illegal activity is taking place out back. But, in a city rife with well concealed grow-ops, local residents know that looks can be deceiving. Mary, the retired owner of the property, is as non-threatening as her house, and on first impression she wouldn't fit anyone's stereotype of a lawbreaker.

With a conspiratorial air, she motions to the backyard and introduces Beatrice and Ophelia, the two heritage chickens she raises in her backyard in clear violation of the City of Vancouver's animal control bylaw. The bylaw reads, in part, that a person must not keep in any area, temporarily or permanently, any horses, donkeys, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, pheasants, quail, or other poultry or fowl.

"I would prefer to have the chickens legally rather than flying under the radar as I do now," says Mary from her south facing backyard. "I'd miss them terribly if I had to give them up."

To read the full article, click here

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chickens in the City

Mark your calendars for February 28th. Heather Havens is going to teach us how to keep chickens in the city. Heather was recently featured in an article in the Vancouver Sun (see below).

Date: Saturday, February 28th
Time: 9am-12pm
Place: Barn @ Terra Nova Rural Park, 2631 Westminster Hwy
Cost: $25

Bring pen and paper for notes. Snacks will be served. For more information, please contact Arzeena Hamir, or call (604) 727 9728.

The lowly chicken may get its day in urban Vancouver

By Nicholas Read, Vancouver Sun January 27, 2009