Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Container Gardening with Dogs #GardeningWithPets

I swear I just told you about starting our container garden and now we're nearing the end of July... how did that happen? As they say, "better late than never," so let's catch up on this gardening business.

Smiling dog with string bean plant

Before I tell you a little more about my container garden, I want to be very clear about a few things.

I am not an expert on gardening or plants that are toxic to pets. I simply enjoy having fresh tomatoes, basil and other vegetables at my disposal.

My dogs do not bother the plants or try to eat them. The one exception was my sweet Lola who got caught - very carefully - plucking ripe cherry tomatoes off the vine on a couple of occasions.

Doberman Mix Puppy with garden

In fact, you may notice a lack of Sophie photos in this post. I have three dogs - a curious Doberman mix puppy who loves to smell everything, a senior Coonhound mix who heard beans make you fart (or at least I think that's why he's laughing in the above photo), and a senior Hound mix who doesn't care at all about plants, as long as they don't block her view from the porch.

I do not have a green thumb and don't put any effort into my soil content or fertilizing. I visit my local chain store to pick up some plants that have already been started (seed packets for the plants I can't find) and a few big bags of potting soil suitable for fruits and vegetables... bring them home and replant into large pots, then water and watch the magic happen.

Sometimes it's not so magical. I've tried broccoli and Brussel sprouts in the past, with no success. I've also had a couple of plants not react well to being transplanted.

So, here's what I've got growing this summer...

Tomatoes
Lots of tomatoes. I have two Patio, two Yellow Pear, and one hybrid variety that was designed to not grow too tall or wide.

Container Garden tomatoes

While the ripened fruit is considered non-toxic, the green parts of tomato plants - including the stems and leaves - contain solanine, a glycoalkoloid. This is toxic to dogs and cats, however a large amount needs to be ingested to result in severe poisoning.

I mentioned Lola got caught gently plucking cherry tomatoes off the vine. I had dropped one while harvesting and my smarty-pants girl caught on quick. She never touched the stems or leaves, however, so I had no problems. I have a feeling Penny just might follow in her big angel sister's footsteps...

Dog sniffing tomatoes on the vine

Basil
For me, if I'm going to grow fresh tomatoes, I'm going to grow basil too. Nothing beats the combination with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. YUM-O! Plus, basil is so easy to grow, you can do it with your eyes closed and it's dog-approved.

Chives
The regular chives are doing well, however the Garlic Chive seeds that I planted are looking like a flop. I'm not sure why, but I'm hoping they'll start sprouting because I was really looking forward to trying these.

Jack Be Little
While searching for a few more plants to round out my container garden, I ended up disappointed with what was left, so I headed to the seed packets instead. I found lots of packs for cute little pumpkins and thought, why not? The greens are doing well, and just yesterday I noticed some orange flowers coming in.

Jack Be Little mini pumpkins

Cucumbers
These were an after-thought and by the time I did think about them, all of the plants were sold out (or dying). I bought some seeds and was pretty impressed with how quickly they started sprouting.

Beans
While I've yet to have super success with string beans, I'm giving them a go once again. Hopefully I get more than a handful this year.

Dog smelling string beans

Bell Peppers
I'm not a spicy girl, but I do love bell pepper. I started with two plants, one purple (yes, because purple) and one which I thought was mini-bells. The purple never took after transfer, and the mini-bells turned out to be giant bell peppers (that's what I get for rushing when grabbing plants - but hey, at least it wasn't a hot pepper).

Growing Bell Peppers in Container Garden

Strawberries
I am throwing in the towel on strawberries. I don't know what it is, but this is the second attempt at strawberries and while the plants are growing like weeds, with lots of leafy greens, my berries are duds.

Gardening with dogs

This is the first time in several years that I've done a container garden, and while I wish I had planted a few more things, this size is very manageable. 

Again, I am not an expert and I am not advocating for what you should or should not plant if you have pets.  Your pets are different than mine.  Your food tastes may be different than mine.

Plant what you will enjoy eating, and keep in mind which plants (or plant parts) may be toxic to your pets.  If they like to chew on the plants, you should put them in a spot they cannot reach.  Or, choose only non-toxic plants. 

So... what's in your container garden this year?  Don't have one?  Are you thinking about one for next summer?

18 comments:

Juliet Chelton said...

Thank you for this little peak at vegetables and pets cohabiting safely together in your garden. Your tomatoes look delicious and your dog is gorgeous. Good luck with the rest of the growing season and I'm sure you'll get some yummy meals out of your scrumptious offerings.

Valerie said...

My tomatoes are ruined! I this year was the first time I decided to grow tomatoes, but I obviously failed! I kept them indoors because of the weather, but there was too hot inside and not enough airflow! Maybe I'll do better next year :D

Edie ThePug said...

You have a lovely garden! I had to laugh at Lola eating the tomatoes because our neighbours planted some on the other side of our fence and as they grew they came over to our side. Well Edie had herself a little feast on the tomatoes!

Talent Hounds said...

Love the potted plants, they're great for apartments with balconies!
On the site we compiled a list of poisonous plants to avoid if you have pets, it's pretty shocking. http://talenthounds.ca/news/poisonous-plants-for-dogs/

Ruth Epstein said...

What a fantastic post and we are so jealous that you have the space for potted plants, I do not have any space for them and it is something I miss big time, plus having a porch for Madam to just lie on. One day :)

Ruby said...

OMD, furst, lets me say that Ma has a BROWN THUMB! BOL!!! Yuppers, it's a miracle if anything survives her 'care'. Butts, this year she has peppers of all kinds ~ all the spicy ones.. and I tasted one too, when she wasn't looking! hehehe The tomatoes are doin' okay this year, butts not as well as Ma had hoped. Butts the bell peppers are comin' along! You have to try mint! All you have to do is buy one little plant, and you can plant cuttings from it, and have a whole mint patch! Plus, I likes to take a nibble or two, and Ma doesn't mind that one. Oh, did I mention I likes to eat plants??? yuppers! That's why most of Ma's plants are in jail. I just can't help it! ☺
Kisses,
Ruby ♥

Marjie said...

The boys have not been interested in gardening since their third year of having a garden, sadly. I could do a container garden, but this year we've been up to our eyeballs in house repairs (on the bright side, the slate roofers are here this week). Maybe next year. It's nice that the Lapdogs helped you demonstrate how well yours is going.

Tenacious Little Terrier said...

I'd love one but we don't have any space for one. Some day!

M Dawson said...

I love that with containers you can garden anywhere, even a windowsill. Fresh herbs and some salad - right there! I loved the story about the tomato thief!

Sweet Purrfections said...

For a brown thumb, your vegetables look great!

The Daily Pip said...

We didn't plant a garden this year and I really miss it. I'm laughing at Lola eating the cherry tomatoes.

Daily Dog Tag said...

My yard is too shady for a real garden, but I enjoy having a few potted tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. My tomatoes haven't even blossomed this year, so I'm not sure if we will get any this summer. Theo would definitely try to pluck the cherry tomatoes if he could reach them.

Talent Hounds said...

Forgot to add- I absolutely love basil and tomato salad too- your tomatoes look amazing . I might be stealing them too LOL. I grow basil on my back deck but have had trouble with bugs this year. You have a much greener thumb than me.

Nichole Burke said...

Thanks for sharing that list!

Nichole Burke said...

Ours aren't really getting ripe as they should... I think the heat is not helping this year.

Nichole Burke said...

Ours aren't really getting ripe as they should... I think the heat is not helping this year.

Cathy Armato said...

Well for someone who doesn't have a green thumb your container garden looks fantastic! So lovely. I love gardening, both flowers & veggies. Enjoy all those beautiful edibles!
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

M. K. Clinton said...

I have container plants in the backyard but would love to have some that included vegetables. Great idea.

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