How to Grow a Pet-Friendly Tower Garden

Your home, your time, your affection, and maybe even your bed — you share a lot with your pets. But should you share the food that you grow in your garden?

The answer depends on what you grow.

In this post, you’ll learn which plants are safe for dogs and cats to eat (and which aren’t). Because keeping your furry family members happy and healthy is important.

Stay strong — resist the sad puppy eyes.

21 Plants Pets Shouldn’t Eat

If consumed, some of these plants may cause your pets only mild discomfort. But others could result in an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

So if you have curious pets and are growing any of these plants, make sure they’re out reach.

  • Borage
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Coleus
  • Epazote
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Leeks
  • Lemon grass
  • Lovage
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Morning glory
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Sorrel
  • Sweet peas
  • Tomato plant (and unripe fruit)
  • Watercress
  • Yarrow

See any plants you didn’t expect?

For me, catnip was a surprise. (After all, it’s famous for mesmerizing felines.) But according to the ASPCA, it may actually cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cats.                                                                                    

The more you know!

Determined pets may require a little deterring.

How to Keep Animals Out of Your Garden

If you’re growing any of the plants above, you may be wondering how you can prevent your pets from eating them.

Or maybe you’d just like to keep animals away from your garden in general.

In either case, Tower Garden — as a vertical growing system — naturally provides some protection, as most plants will be too high for pets to reach. (Plus, there’s no dirt for dogs to dig in!)

But should you find that your garden needs extra guarding, here are a few ideas.

Build a barrier.

The best way to prevent your pets from eating your plants is to limit their access with a barrier.

I’ve seen Tower Gardeners use chicken wire and fencing to achieve this. But anything that keeps your pets out should work.

Grow plants that pets don’t like.

If you’re growing indoors and can’t set up a barrier, try planting crops that your pets don’t like in the bottom of your Tower Garden.

My dog used to “harvest” from my garden freely when I wasn’t looking. But when I noticed she ignored mustard, bok choy, and other peppery greens, I planted these in the bottom of my Tower Garden.

Now that the plants she doesn’t enjoy are the only ones she can reach, she leaves my garden alone.

Other plants that may drive animals away include pungent herbs, such as sage and rosemary, and the edible flower marigold. (Bonus: These plants will help repel bad bugs, too.)

Startle with motion-activated sprinklers.

Most cats and dogs detest being sprayed with water. So for particularly troublesome pets, consider installing motion-activated sprinklers near your Tower Garden.

This is also an effective method for scaring off other animals (e.g., deer, raccoons).

Do you grow your own dog treats?

25 Plants Your Pets Can Eat (in Moderation)

Not all plants are dangerous. Of the more than 150 crops you can grow with Tower Garden, many are non-toxic (and even healthy) for dogs and cats.

The following plants have been deemed “pet-friendly.” But moderation is key. Too much plant material may cause digestive upset (i.e., a mess on your living room rug).

  • Basil
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Hibiscus
  • Impatiens
  • Leafy greens (e.g., chard, lettuce, kale)
  • Lemon balm
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Peas
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Salad burnet
  • Savory
  • Snapdragon
  • Squash (all types)
  • Strawberries
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes (ripe fruit only)
  • Watermelon
  • Zinnia

As with any other new food, it’s best to add fresh produce to your pet’s diet gradually.

“I can haz garden snack?”

Over to You

Do you have a produce-loving pet? Or do you know of a clever way to keep animals out of the garden?

I’d love to hear from you. Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.

Pet health safety information sourced from:
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The American Kennel Club


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