Growing your own organic food is rewarding, environmentally kind, and healthier — organic produce contains between 20% and 40% more antioxidants than conventional fruits and vegetables, NPR reports. And if you’re wondering if organic gardening can be both safe and successful with a dog at home, you’re in luck. Creating a dog-friendly organic garden is totally possible. You just need to take some extra care and plan effective ways to make sure the garden’s safe for your dog as well as your plants.
Safe vegetables to grow
There’s plenty of nutritious, delicious fruits and vegetables you can grow organically, which are also safe for dogs. Spinach provides copper, vitamin E, and B vitamins. It grows best in cold climates and leaves should be ready to cut within six to eight weeks. Carrots can be planted all year round and harvested after a couple of months — they’re a crunchy treat for dogs containing beta-carotene and vitamin A. Dogs also love sweet potato, which is high in iron, vitamin C, and magnesium. Sweet potatoes grow best in organic, nitrogen-rich, warm beds. If you plant the sprouts from existing sweet potatoes, you’ll be able to harvest them in three to five months.
Natural fertilizers and pest control
Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are potentially harmful substances to dogs and can cause cancer with prolonged exposure if you often use them when gardening. Organic gardens don’t use these chemicals and are naturally safer for all animals, humans, and the environment. Some environmentally-friendly fertilizers, however, contain animal-derived ingredients like fish byproducts and blood meal — which can cause digestive troubles for dogs if ingested. So, use an organic, plant-based fertilizer instead. Additionally, organic mulch is essential for improving the soil’s fertility. Choose a dog-friendly mulch like root mulch or wood bark, and avoid cocoa bean mulch as it contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and elevated heart rate in dogs.
Smart garden design
Using raised garden beds will ensure your organic garden stays separate from your dog. Raised beds also make it simple to achieve a better quality soil, as well as allow for easier weeding — which also reduces the need for pesticides. Alternatively, you can create paths through your garden, so your dog learns to walk on them rather than your garden soil. Mulch, small cedar chips, or pea gravel work well for garden paths. Establishing a low fence is also a good way of protecting your garden — your dog will quickly recognize the area as as off limits.
Your dog will love spending more time with you out in the garden. However, if you need to stay busy tending to the plants, make sure there are special toys to keep your furry friend entertained. In fact, it’s better to play with your dog first and tire him out and then get on with the gardening while he sleeps. With these tips, you’ll be able to grow a thriving organic garden both you and your dog enjoy.
See Jenny’s article on unsafe lawns for cats here:
Author: Jenny Holt
Jennifer Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two, who loves nothing more than to play, “where has the cat hidden itself now.”