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Urban gardens - vegetables, chickens, bees

After picking and sharing our lettuce and rhubarb with a friend, eating fresh raspberries and a Victoria plum, making gooseberry jam and watering David's radishes and beets, I think I'm building up to chickens - From the Wall Street Journal -

It is a warm summer's day and Sara Ward is busy making a new batch of Camembert-style cheese in her exposed-brick kitchen in west London. On the stove sits a tray of freshly baked rolls. Eggs in an array of colors—speckled brown, light blue and snow white—are piled high on a steel rack, ready to be turned into a lemon meringue pie later that day. Outside, four immaculately kept beds nurture enough fruit and vegetables to feed her family of four for the entire summer, with everything from garlic and chilies to tomatoes, radishes and asparagus. A row of lavender bushes accommodate honey bees from neighboring gardens, and pecking away contentedly in a nearby run are eight chickens, which provide the family with as many as 12 eggs a day.

Ms. Ward is part of a growing trend of city dwellers seeking to live sustainably in an urban environment, while remaining stylish. In response to this demand, companies are producing a range of products from beehives to bird houses that look good and are easy to use in small gardens and even small apartments.

Ms. Ward, who now teaches chicken-keeping courses in her home (www.hencorner.com), became interested in chickens eight years ago. Her epiphany came when she started reading up on the dangers of pesticides and questioning where her food came from. "Once I knew it, I couldn't un-know it and not respond to it. So I started growing vegetables," she says. "Then I wanted chickens. . .

And after keeping chickens, bees. . .all this takes quite a bit of time and is not for the faint of heart. Luckily there are plenty of instruction manuals, since one of many British joys is to write about gardens.

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