Sunday, March 29, 2009

Planting for Us -- And Our Animals!

While I plant the majority of vegetables in my garden for myself, I admit to planting with my pets in mind as well!

The geese are so curious about what I do in the garden and are usually right by the fence, hoping that I am bringing some tasty tidbit out for them to sample. They don't always wait for me, however! Last fall, Syd stuck her head right through the fence and ate my chard plants down to the ground! They never did recover, but she certainly enjoyed herself in the process!

Obviously, the geese enjoy greens of all kinds. In particular, I have noticed that Phoenix prefers red, curly leafed varieties, while Sydney prefers hers green. Neither likes spinach. But, their hands down favorite is -- drum roll, please -- dandelion greens! I am not talking about the common yard variety with the yellow flowers, although they enjoy these, too. What I am referring to are the commercial varieties that are still cut-leafed but much larger than the nuisance variety dandelion. My girls will literally drop what they are doing and run -- even fly over to me -- to get to these morsels as if they were the ambrosia of the gods or something!

My choice of seeds is called Dandelion Ameliore, ordered from The Cook's Garden out of Warminster, PA. I should be able to start planting this and other greens next week!

While my cats are not big fans of vegetables, my dogs are! In fact, my garden will take on greater significance for them, as I recently started feeding them a home-made diet. They had been eating a commercial food, Royal Canin's Venison and Potato, because they have had dietary issues. About two months ago, my vet informed me it would not be available for a while. So, following guidelines from The Whole Dog Journal, I began to cook for them. I rotate their proteins between lean beef, chicken, fish, or lamb, have continued to use potatoes rather than grains as their starch, and add in a variety of vegetables (no onions, though, which are toxic for dogs). Both dogs are doing very well with this lifestyle change!

Dallas and Riley will definitely share many of my vegetables with me, but in particular, I am planting a type of bush bean, Contender, for them. Green beans are not necessarily one of my favorites, but they like them. So, I will plant them...

I know I am not alone in planting for my, I want to hear everyone's stories in that regard! What do you plant for your pets? What do they seem to like?
(P.S. -- The photo above is Sydney the Goose, with the early spring skeleton of my garden in the background!)

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