Monday, October 26, 2009

Growing Your Own Fresh Greens

"Does growing your own vegetables save you money?" Some of the up front costs may offset any savings you get from growing your vegetables for your rabbits. However, I personally like knowing where my vegetables come from and what goes into growing them. Just like it's nice to see a foster rabbit blossom to trust humans and expose their real personalities, it's nice to grow something from a seed or a small plant.

So what plants are easy to grow? Lettuce, basil, and parsley. These are very hardy plants, can withstand a late season frost, and rabbits love them!

I started 24 lettuce plants half way through July in these,
Once they got large enough (4 weeks) to withstand transplanting we put 6 in a large pot and 4 out in the garden. The 6 in the large pot exploded and produced well. The 4 out in the garden did well at first. They did best in large pots. I am poor at protecting them in our garden with a fence. I had 4 lettuce plants get chewed to nubs out in the garden because of my fence. Turns out wild rabbits and deer find the taste of lettuce irresistible. Next year we will grow them closer to the house and properly protected.
6 good lettuce plants helped curb some of the costs, but they didn't feed 3 rabbits every day. We still had to buy some lettuce. Next season we are hoping to have 12-16 lettuce plants in two plantings. One in the early spring, and one mid-summer. I think this number should be able to feed 2-3 rabbits.

We planted 5 parsley plants this season. 1 was started as a seed and 4 were plants when I bought them. The plants I put in the garden were eaten by wild animals. 2 of the potted plants are still going strong indoors now. Parsley is easy to grow. Our rabbits love parsley. Next year we are going to plant a few more plants for the rabbits. 5 parsley plus lettuce and basil will be sufficient.
We bought 3 basil plants this year. To say these plants did well is an understatement. The plants were 3 feet tall and we did everything we could to feed the rabbits a lot of basil to keep up with how fast they grew. Wild animals didn't eat the basil. The perfect plant!
It was nice to have a rabbit with less discriminating tastes. Our foster rabbit Buddy is not picky about his food, so any small parts of these plants that were dying or falling off, he ate. This made pruning the plants easy. I don't put any weed killer on my lawn either so I get a lot of dandelions and he loved those as well.

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