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I love gardening and have had vegetable gardens for the dogs in the past. But I'm not great at it. It's the weeding that I have to do at the beginning of the season plus maintain through the summer – it sucks. I'm a terrible planner too. I get over excited and buy everything and end up with a messy, crowded garden when things begin to grow.
Over the years, I've learned from my mistakes and my gardening has become easier and a lot more fun. It's still a lot of work, but I look forward to April because that's my planting season.
I have two gardens, a flower garden and a vegetable garden. For flowers, I like pretty things, lots of color, and plants that repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes (rosemary, lavender, citronella, marigold, and catnip). I also prefer perennials so that I don't have to replace all my plants each year. And roses for the scent and blueberries for the birds.
For my vegetable garden, I chose dog-safe veggies for my vegetable mix and a few vegetables for myself (I love artichokes).
Easy Raised Vegetable Garden for Dogs
I nearly got suckered (by myself) into buying a Facebook ad this month. It was for a product called Lettuce Grow, an all in one (plant starters, plant food, water, etc.) in a futuristic white tower that is marketed to people who want to grow fresh vegetables, but don't have the space.
It's a cool product, but outside my budget. So, I walked away from my computer, grabbed my car keys, and headed to the stores.
What I Purchased for the Raised Garden
- 2 feeding troughs (we drilled holes for drainage)
- organic garden soil
- organic compost
- artichokes (for humans)
- bell peppers
- cabbage (red and green)
- cauliflower (for humans)
- kale (three kinds)
- parsley (two kinds)
- tomatoes (for humans)
This is the start of my garden and spent less than $300 for everything (the biggest purchase being the troughs). I shopped around for what I could use for the raised garden and the troughs were the most affordable – they'll last for a long time, they look nice, and they're huge.
I prefer to buy starters because they're easy to grow, but this year I couldn't find green beans anywhere (I went to four locations), so I purchased a few vegetable seed packets and plant starter trays to try something new. These are the seeds that I'll be working with this year:
- collard greens
- green beans
- wheat grass
Choosing Vegetables for Dogs
I would love to say that I put a lot of thought into each vegetable and then rattle off all of the nutrients that they bring to my dogs' diet, but I'm not that complicated.
I prefer vegetables that are easy to grow, dog-safe, organic, and low glycemic. That's it.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber (great for gut health), antioxidants, and additional nutrients. Some people question if the nutrients in vegetables are bioavailable, and some question if the small amount of vegetables we add to our dogs' diet (5-10%) really makes an impact. I can't answer these questions. I just know that what I'm doing for my dogs is working, so I'm keeping at it.
Next Steps in My Vegetable Garden
This weekend I plan to work on the seeds and crossing my fingers that I can create starts. And I'll continue taking care of my garden and watch everything grow, and transplanting things as needed. When my vegetables reach the right height, then I'll start harvesting them once or twice a month (depending on speed of growth) and mixing up small batches of purred, mixed vegetables for the dog.
I'll return and update this blog post with anything I learn. Wish me luck!
If you're reading this and bummed that you don't have the space for a garden or the funds for one of those futuristic things being marketed – no worries. Farmer's Market season is coming soon and when I can't grow my own vegetables, I love to support local farmers and you can do the same!