Finally, for just about everyone, warmer weather has arrived in the US. Time to get those veggie gardens going if you haven't already done so.
Sometimes our minds swirl with the many reasons we can't do something, instead of focusing on the reasons why we can and should do something. Many think that growing fresh healthy organic vegetables and greens for your bird is a whole lot of work. Well, there is going to be some work involved, but you got this. Maybe you don't have room for a large in-the-ground vegetable garden. No problem, there is a perfect planter, bucket, or flower pot for everything. Maybe you don't want to spend your free time getting rid of all those weeds you envision trying to commandeer your dream garden. Think smaller, think container gardening and those pesky weeds will be easy-peasy to control. Maybe you don't feel like you have that "green" thumb you hear people speak of. That's the great thing about gardens, try new plants or seeds, change it up, experiment, out with the old, and in with the new.
So let's put all those negative thoughts away and dig right in. If you have land to plant a big garden, awesome, but if you don't, join the new generation of container gardeners. Containers do not have to be expensive, garden variety flower pots, any old, or new, plastic container will do. Depending on the plants you choose to grow, containers can vary from a plastic shoe box, to a big storage tub, or anything in between.
Take your container, drill a few drainage holes in the bottom if it doesn't already have some, add a 2-3 inch layer of pine cones, rocks, or recycled cans to help hold the soil in the container. Add some good vegetable garden soil, and then add the vegetable seeds or plants. Purchasing plants rather than seeds will help get your garden growing quick and easy. Most home improvement stores, local co-ops, and even many farmers' markets, have healthy plants for your garden at very inexpensive prices.
Some great plants to try if you are a newbie, are romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and radishes. They don't take much room, grow fast, and your birds will probably go crazy for them. Just rinse and serve and watch the fun begin. Rinse well and weave romaine leaves through cage bars for foraging fun. Both carrot tops and carrots can be rinsed and fed to birds, and if you only cut the tops to feed, the carrot tops will continue to grow for all summer long healthy eating. Cut the leafy tops off radishes and discard, rinse the radish bulb well, and give whole or cut into pieces. You do not even have to wait until cabbage plants grow into a round cabbage ball, rinse and feed at any time during the growing cycle.
Since you are feeding these healthy goodies to your bird, it's best not use any type of chemical pest control on the plants. A few bugs never hurt a garden anyway and some are quite beneficial. However if the bugs begin to take over by eating more than their fair share of the plants, spraying plants lightly with a mixture of water and a little dishwasher detergent will help deter the bugs for a while. You may have to respray every few days.
If you feel brave and have some experience, try growing a big tub of corn, cucumbers or squash, and some carrots or radishes together. Okra can be grown in a medium size container easily and most larger parrots love the okra pods whole. Watching my cockatoo Cookie open the okra pods and enjoy the okra seeds inside is great fun indeed. I do blanch my fresh corn on the cob (put in boiling water for 3-4 minutes) before feeding.
Pictured are Toby and Grumpy Grey, Cookie Cockatoo, and PJ Amazon
enjoying their fresh corn on the cobs
Most of all have fun, enjoy gardening for your special feathered friend. In fact you may enjoy a few veggies with your bird.
You can also find lots of gardening suggestions for you and your bird on our Pinterest Board Gardening for Parrots.