PLANT A BUNNY GARDEN
by Judith Pierce
07:33 PM, Wednesday, July 18
Scooter, “Heaven’s Cutest Bunny.”
Scooter, “Heaven’s Cutest Bunny.”
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Looking for a bunny-friendly summertime project?  Why not create a Garden of Earthly Delights for your rabbit? Cultivate herbs, vegetables and leafy greens, and you can harvest fresh, healthy foods for your rabbit throughout summer and fall.

Best plants for this time of year are those that enjoy the sun.  Be sure to use organic pesticides (marigolds, nasturtiums or lady bugs, for example) to protect your rabbit from exposure to toxic pesticides.

Plants your bunny will love to munch

BASIL: Summer annual herb; requires full sun. Comes in several varieties with the most common being sweet basil.

BORAGE: An annual herb; requires sun or shade.  

BROCCOLI: A biennial, grown as annual; requires full sun and regular, deep irrigation. If your bunny is prone to intestinal gas, pass on this one. (Same goes for cauliflower.)

CARROT: A biennial, grown as annual; requires full sun; maintain even soil moisture.  To limit sweets (carrot have a lot of sugar) just harvest the tops, leaving a few behind to sprout.  With just a few carrot plants you can have a season’s worth of carrot tops.

CILANTRO: An annual herb; requires full sun and regular water. Also called coriander or Chinese parsley.

DANDELION: A perennial; requires full sun and regular/moderate water. A weed in lawns and flower beds, the dandelion also is cultivated as an edible-leaf crop and is good for digestion.

KALE: A biennial vegetable; requires full sun to part shade.Plant in fall or winter. To harvest throughout summer, keep lower leaves well picked and remove all yellowing leaves.  Rabbits love all kinds of kale.

LEMON GRASS: A tender perennial; requires full sun and regular water.

MINTS: Perennial herbs and ground covers; require full sun to partial shade.Grow almost anywhere but prefer light, medium-to-rich, moist soil; partial shade; regular water. Caution: Mints spread rapidly by underground stems and can be very invasive. Best to contain them in pots or boxes. Replant every three years.

NASTURTIUM: A perennial; requires sun to light shade and regular water. Climbing types trail over ground or climb to 6ft.; dwarfs grow to 15" tall.

OREGANO: A perennial herb; requires full sun and little water. Not fussy about soil type. Shows best in rock garden, container or hanging basket.

PARSLEY:  A biennial herb treated as annual; requires sun to partial shade. Best grown new, each year from nursery plants or seed. Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting. Italian parsley is prolific and easier to cultivate than regular parsley and bunnies love it.

SWEET MAJORAM: Tiny, oval, gray-green leaves; spikes of white flowers in loose clusters at top of plant. Blooms in late summer. Keep blossoms cut and plant trimmed to prevent woody growth. Grow from seeds, cuttings or root divisions. Tender perennial grown as annual.

SWEET PEPPERS:  Many rabbits enjoy munching on slices of sweet peppers.  Varieties include red, green or yellow.  Get the large, crisp, sweet peppers; remove the seeds and membranes and slice thinly.  Add a few slices to bunny’s salad plate.

RED LETTUCE VARIETIES:  Red lettuces give an added boost to bunny’s nutrition because they are packed with vitamines, minerals and amino acids.  Including them in your bunny’s “salad mix” is a great way to ensure they are getting a well rounded diet.  Various types include Red Salad Bowl, Yugoslavian Red, Red Oakleaf, Raddichio and more.  Check sites such as Burpee.com for a wide variety of lettuce types.

Rabbits cannot tolerate any foods from the onion or garlic family, and “gassy” vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts) should be kept to a minimum to prevent digestive upset.  They also should not have access to the growing vines of tomato, potato or eggplant.

The herbs, leafy greens and vegetables listed can be grown in garden plots in your yard but if you’re short on room, you can also create a container garden on your patio.  Just be sure your plants are getting plenty of sun and water. Once they’re ready to pick – enjoy.  Your bunny will thank you!

  

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