TERRE HAUTE —
This is the time of year to be thinking about what type of plants you are going to plant in your garden. If you have pets, it’s important to consider their safety when deciding on which plants to put in the ground. People (and pets) are naturally attracted to the appearance and fragrance of various plants. Often, pets are drawn to eat the foliage and flowers, which can lead to life threatening side effects. Be sure to select non-toxic plants when planning your garden.
If your garden location gets four or more hours of direct sunlight a day, consider annuals, such as zinnia’s, snapdragons, cosmos, calendula, and petunia’s or perennials, such as, bee balm, phlox, roses, catmint/catnip and coneflowers. If your garden spot receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, consider annuals like primroses, butterfly flower, spider flower, and nasturtium. Perennials include columbine, coral bells, turf lily, and goat’s beard. If your garden receives little to no direct sunlight each day, consider annuals such as, begonias, impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, violets, or coleus. Perennials also include hosta, bugbane, yellow corydalis, astilbe and queen of the meadow.
Some plants to avoid due to their toxicity are: castor bean, oleander, morning glory, Japanese yew, Jerusalem cherry, foxglove, nightshade, lily of the valley, precatory beans and the trumpet vine.
If you want to plant a vegetable garden, you will need four or more hours of full sun each day for most plants. Keeping your pet out of your garden may be a difficult task but fencing may help. Stay away from hardware cloth as your pet can become entangled. An effective and safe way to keep pets and wildlife out of newly planted gardens is to use motion detector sprinkler systems. Except for onions, chives, and garlic (and pets like these!), most vegetables are non-toxic. The potato plant leaf and the green section of the potato skin are toxic if eaten in sufficient quantities. Fruits have toxic chemicals in their seeds. Apple, plum, cherry, apricot, and peach seeds contain cyanide that can cause fatal seizures.
Use safe alternatives when planning to use chemical pesticides, fertilizers or fungicides. Poisoning of pets is all too common; read all manufacturers’ instructions when applying any chemical to the lawn or garden. A pet can be exposed days or even weeks after the initial application of a chemical. Damaging insects such as, aphids, spider mites, or thrips can be eliminated by spraying water. It may take one or two days but an infestation can be cleared with a shower.
If you have a more serious insect problem, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. Soap is an irritant and it helps to break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. Commercial insecticidal soaps are available that are less toxic than many chemical alternatives.
Recycled kitchen and yard waste combined makes the best garden fertilizer. Applied to the lawn and garden twice yearly can replace the essential nutrients necessary.
And don’t forget to put your pet inside while you’re mowing the lawn or applying any chemicals. A lawn mower can project a rock or stick that can injure pets. Painting garden tools a bright color will enable you or your pet to see them out in the yard. Store any chemicals in their original containers and out of reach of children and pets. If your pet consumes any chemicals or is exposed, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label.
Cookie is a 3-year-old spayed female weighing 53 pounds. She is great with cats and dogs and sleeps on the bed. She is very smart, and all the foster family has to do is point to where she wants her to go. She is housebroken and ready to go home with an approved applicant. Call the Terre Haute Humane Shelter at (812) 232-0293 and ask how you can meet Cookie.