Sure, this current pandemic may change how we do things but it doesn’t have to stop you from growing yummy things for both you and your dog. You can do it safely and easily.
Growing up, my mom had a HUGE garden. She grew all sorts of things. It wasn’t that she just grew a lot, but it was a very tidy garden. She used a long board to kneel on to plant all the seeds. The board was not just so she was off the ground, but it provided a straight line to plant the seeds. There were no crooked rows of veggies in her garden I assure you. As things started to grow and were ready to harvest, loathed walking up the stairs each morning because at my seat at the dining room table would be a note. If only this note was one that said, “have a great day!” or “Popsicles in the freezer! ENJOY!” Nope, this note listed my chores for the day.
#1 Pick the raspberries
#2 Pick the peas
#3 Shell the peas
#4 Snap the beans
After reading the list I emitted the classic teenage grooooaan, and, while stomping my foot, whined, “this will take FORRREVVEEERRR!”
Fast forward a few years and I am first in line to pick, shell and snap. Sign me up! There is something so satisfying and relaxing about it. Throw in a beer and that is a lovely evening. Now, I am nowhere near the gardeners my mom and grandpa were or my sisters are, but I do give it a go. Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as you think and your tidiness only needs to meet your standards and nobody else’s.
As I was planning on what to plant, I naturally considered what Warren and I like. But then my mind wandered to what the dogs like. . . and the pig, goats, chickens. It can be a garden for everyone!
To start you do not need a huge piece of land. You don’t even need any land at all. You can grow many things in a pot or in a DRAWER! Seriously, I just saw this idea of using an old piece of furniture with the drawers as a planter box. Uhmmmmm yes please!
Be sure to think about where you are putting your garden. Is it where your pup goes potty? If so, think tall. If you are not into building raised beds, try stacking 3 tires up like a tower and plant inside. This way your vegetables will be safe from being trampled, dug up or urinated on. You can get tires everywhere for free. Ask around and someone has them laying around.
I am not a “test the PH balance of the soil” kind of gardener. What I plant, you can plant. I am a no fuss kind of gardener. If it grows, great and if it doesn’t, oh well. My list of what to plant started growing and growing so we decided to expand our garden to twice the size it was last year. We are really having fun with it.
Here is a list of EASY things to grow that are great for dogs and humans alike.
CARROTS: Can’t mess them up. These are a great treat right out of the ground for both you and your dog. These are great for your dog’s teeth and are a cool treat for summer. Why am I explaining the benefits of a carrot here? And, I am moving on. . .
PEAS: Peas can be grown in a pot or in the ground. You will need a trellis or something for them to climb up. You don’t need to get fancy. You can buy a trellis or use whatever you have laying around. You can freeze peas so grow a bunch. Clean them up and arrange on a cookie sheet so they don’t clump together. You will have yummy peas to eat for months and so will your dog.
ZUCCHINI: These grow like a weed. Make bread or muffins for you and give these raw or cooked to your dog. They are low in calorie so great to use as filler for dogs (and people) trying to lose weight. I am not growing these this year because I am given so many from other people’s gardens I can use my space for other things.
BEANS: These, like peas, need a trellis to climb up and are easy to freeze. These are also great to add to your dog’s diet because, like zucchini, they are low in calorie but make your dog feel full. Beans are an antioxidant rich food and who doesn’t like that? You can even make training treats from the beans you grow. Toss in some olive oil, place on a parchment paper lined pan and put in a 170 degree oven for 8 hours. Ta-da! Snacks for all!
PUMPKINS: You will need some room for these, but seriously, why spend the money on a pumpkin when you can grow one for a fraction of the cost. We all know how awesome pumpkin is for your dog and other animals. This one needs no explaining.
BLUEBERRIES: Hold up! I am planting these this year, but keep in mind, you may not get fruit for a few years. This plant has delayed gratification. There is no better time to plant blueberries than NOW! Just think of all the blueberries you could have and freeze. Dogs love blueberries and there are great in granola or yogurt. They pack a bunch in health benefits, but that is not new information. Mine are planted. Now I wait and wait and wait. . .
STRAWBERRIES: Don’t go buy these! Find someone with an established patch and get what are called “runners” from them for FREE! Plant the runner and you have yourself a strawberry patch. This is how I got mine established. I didn’t buy a single one. These grow easy and will grow and grow and grow. Birds love them too so if you want to enjoy them, cover the patch with something so the bird thieves can’t steal them ALL. I know this to be true. Not this year birds! NOT THIS YEAR!
RASPBERRIES: Like strawberries, you can get starts from another established patch. You will have to wait a year or two but once established you are as good as gold. They grow like weeds, literally. They grow like crazy!
My pet edible garden does not contain any pesticides or other yucky things. I don’t want to ingest it and I don’t want my animals to ingest it either. If it needs it, I don’t plant it. Dogs can eat broccoli, but I don’t want to put anything on the plant to keep the bugs away so broccoli is not included in my garden sadly.
Don’t overthink it. Just plant the seeds and watch them grow. You will save a lot of money and your dogs will be so happy having the variety. I also find it therapeutic having my hands in the dirt. I understand many do not share the same feeling, but if you are not sure, I recommend finding out. Mother Earth has a way of hugging you when you need it, even during a pandemic. Have fun with it and remember, even a seed needs to be in darkness before it sprouts. We will get through this pandemic. We are just covered in dirt right now.