Before planting the chicken coop roof, 6 months ago
After 6 months of growing through the winter and little water
The hens getting in to mischief in the planting beds
It has been about 6 months since I planted the green roof on our backyard chicken coop in San Francisco. The mixture of drought tolerant succulents and ornamental grasses went in at the end of September in the shallow 4″ depth of soil, where they have endured some very cold winter nights and little rain. Considering how neglectful I have been these past 6 months, I am happy with the results and look forward to seeing it grow in. After the first month I rarely tended to the roof, except to look at it from my home on the second story. I lost a few succulents to the cold, and the Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’ has grown leggy from from the drought I’ve put it through, but I couldn’t be more amazed at the ability of these plants to survive.
The Americauna and Rock Island Red hens are in their teens and steadily producing two to four eggs everyday. These four girls produce tan and spotted eggs that are delicious with bright orange yolks. Since I’ve never had chickens before, it has taken some getting used to. First, they love to eat almost everything in the garden. When we let them out of the coop, they have ‘free range’ of the garden. They dig up planting beds to make room for dirt baths, devour the veggie beds, and sample and nibble every plant in the garden, including weeds and succulents. They have humongous poops that I know have amazing fertilizer capabilities for our garden, but the poops are gushy and attract hoards of flies! I can no longer go barefoot in the garden. Despite these drawbacks, they are gentle and friendly girls that provide really yummy eggs. The racoons can’t get to them because they are locked up at night in the fortress of a coop my brother-in-law built. Our first set of chicks got devoured by a raccoon early on because we accidentally left the door open. It was a horrendous sight the next morning which we will never forget and we diligently check to make sure the doors are locked at night.
Here are some pictures from 6 months ago and now. Enjoy!