Sunday, May 13, 2012

Garden Fresh for your Pets

Once the weather starts getting warmer I begin to plan my vegetable and herb garden.  As I decide what to plant I keep in mind the likes of family, including my pets. Both dogs and cats will enjoy and benefit from the vitamins and antioxidants that garden fresh produce provides. Pet friendly plants can be grown in the garden or in containers on a deck or windowsill.  Some plants to consider:

For the herb garden


Many cats love catnip!  An attractive perennial plant with beautiful lavender flowers, the catnip plant will provide years of enjoyment for both you and your kitty. The plants grow to approximately 2 - 3 ft. in height and can be planted in containers or as an edging to a flower garden. They will do well in full sun or light shade and are drought tolerant. Dried catnip can be used to make toys that your cats will enjoy.


Rosemary is a  perennial  herb that produces beautiful blue, white or pink flowers. It can be grown your flowerbeds or container garden in full sun or part shade. Plants will grow to approximately 3 - 6 ft. in height.
Dogs love Rosemary and, since it is a natural breath freshener, it is beneficial when added to homemade dog treats. Your pup will enjoy and it will help keep their breath smelling fresh!

In the vegetable garden


Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, are high in fiber, and dogs love them. Easily grown from seed, carrots need approximately 10 weeks from planting to harvest.  Before planting, dig deep and loosen the soil to give the carrots soil that is free of clumps and rocks that will block their growth. Plant seeds in full sun and thin sprouts to approximately 2" apart to give carrots plenty of room to grow.

Green Beans

Another healthy vegetable your dog may enjoy are green beans. Easily grown from seeds, plants can be grown in full sun in your garden, or in containers, and take approximately 6 weeks from planting to harvest.  Grow plants approximately 6" apart (thin the seedlings soon after they sprout). Your pup will enjoy them as a fun, healthy treat.

Please be aware that there are some vegetables and herbs that can be hazardous to your pets including garlic, onions, and avocado.

For more information on growing and using herbs I recommend the following books

The Ultimate Herb Book by Anthony Atha
The Herb Gardener, A Guide for All Seasons by Susan McClure

I recommend planting and keeping an organic garden for added health benefits.  Feeding your pet natural foods is an important part of a healthy diet and what could be better than fresh food from your own garden!

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