Suggestions For A 4-H Rabbit Garden

img 0302 225x300 Suggestions For A 4 H Rabbit GardenOne of my favorite things about August is the county fair!  There is nothing I like better than strolling around a local fairground on an August evening with an ice-cream cone, and my family and friends, watching the kids get excited about the pig races, and petting the farm animals.  The one barn at the fair in which I notice the most “can I take one home?” action with kids in general, is always the Rabbit Barn. Perhaps this syndrome is only due to the slightly more portable nature of the beasts, when compared to the true life size of Holstein cows, I’m not sure. But what child can resist all that fuzzy goodness?

If you have ever fallen prey to the twinkling of a bunnies eye (or your children have talked you into buying or adopting one), I want to provide you with my list of Green Bunny Picks, for the best fruits and veggies for your family pet, many of which you can grow in your yard to supplement it’s diet.

Unfortunately, the family bunny knows nothing of winter hibernation, and sends you out all year-round to buy food and supplies at the local pet supply store. While winter can be a tough month to feed your pet natural foods, spring, summer and fall, you can grow the healthy food your pet needs and craves.  For the avid gardener, a true vegetable garden will provide most of the food your rabbit needs in season, for children, or those looking only to supplement a pet’s diet, raised container gardens will grow fruits and veggies up and out of the way of the  local wildlife, who may overly appreciate your crop.  Very often, the more packed a pot or garden space is with veggies, the healthier the plants themselves are. For the apartment dwelling rabbit owners, you too can grow herbs and veggies!  I suggest trying windowsill pots, or an herb gardening system, as a way to provide fresh produce for your pet, and as a joint project to teach kids about growing and raising plants.

Below are two lists of raw fruits and veggies that the average gardener can easily grow, with minimal space requirements.moz screenshot Suggestions For A 4 H Rabbit Garden

Green Gardenista’s 4-H Rabbit Garden Veggie Picks:

  • Alfalfa, or “Lucerne”
  • Basil
  • Beet Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Carrots (greens and root)
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelions (greens and flowers)
  • Lettuce (Romaine, and Greenleaf)
  • Radishes (whole plant)

Green Gardenista’s 4-H Rabbit Garden Fruit Picks:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

img 0048 225x300 Suggestions For A 4 H Rabbit GardenThe Roadside Stand Round-up: When summer and fall roadside stands pop up in your area, support your local growers by purchasing Apples, Melons, Oranges, Papaya, Pears, Pineapple, Plums and Bananas to share with your rabbit.  Fruits, and high sugar veggies, (like Carrots) are a wonderful source of vitamins, but should be fed sparingly, because bunnies will feed their sweet tooth to the exclusion of eating healthfully.

Tip: Even turf grass, and chickweed can make excellent additions to your rabbits diet, so where possible, provide your rabbit with a little time in the yard to nibble on the native weeds you’ve got around.  My own rabbits love the exercise associated with their time out of the hutch too, and will run little laps around their exercise area. Remember, where pesticide is used, do not let rabbits loose on the grass until after the first rain, or two to three days after application.

For those new to vegetable gardening, I’ve found that the “grid system” garden (as pictured above) can be a valuable tool.  Placed over an existing garden, or added to a raised garden bed, or patio box, a simple grid made out of inexpensive lumber scraps, plywood, or even old paint stirrers, can help you organize what you’ve planted.  Knowing exactly where every vegetable you’ve planted is, can help you quickly identify what is a weed and what is not.  Grid systems also can function as a great cheat sheet, for you or your children, when you label with a permanent marker the names of each plant on the grin bar above.  Often kids will enjoy writing the labels themselves, or decorating with stickers the boxes area around the plant they are responsible for.

Young herb and veggie plant are usually available in seedling form early in the spring and summer, but seeds can always be purchased year round from home improvement stores, or from Burpee online.  If you haven’t yet tried your hand at home grown rabbit food, it’s not too late to start.  Many veggies do well planted in late August and early fall, for a mid to late fall harvest.

Your thoughts: Have you tried growing food for the pets in your life?  What worked well, for you?

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Comments

  1. Fern says:

    I grow wheat grass for my cats. I would love to have a rabbit, but my cats would terrorize it if it lived inside and I don’t have any outdoor space for it.

  2. Anna says:

    We have a city ordinance against growing any kind of farm animal or I would have some chickens. This was an interesting read though. I would imagine it does get expensive providing for the bunnies. That 4h program is wonderful and I do go visit when the fair comes to town. Hats off to all the hard work.

  3. Amy says:

    Fern,

    My own cat, although born feral, can seem to figure out which section of the food chain bunnies belong to. He overcompensates for being afraid of them by poking them in the rear through their wire cages when they aren’t looking. Apparently my cat is the pesky little brother of the animal world in general. :)

  4. Amy says:

    Anna,

    I hear Chickens are becoming quite popular even in the suburbs, so who knows, maybe in a few years you will be able to bring home one or two of your own.

  5. Fern says:

    Amy–LOL. My cats were also born feral. I think a bunny would be okay if he acted indifferent to them, but if it showed any level of fear at their curiosity, I think they’d terrorize it. I think rabbits are too big for my cats to intentionally kill, but my neighbor had a bunny that died of a heart attack shortly after she introduced the bunny to her german shepherd.

    I’ve heard bunny droppings are a good fertilizer. Is that true?

  6. admin says:

    Fern,

    Bunny droppings are good fertilizer. If only there was a market for them I could retire early! :)

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