Thursday, April 28, 2016

Growing Veggies for Your Dog, Part 4: Container Gardening

If you don't have a yard or a suitable planting location in your yard, you can utilize a patio, balcony, or even a sunny window for container gardening. The great thing about container gardening is that it's easy to control the soil conditions, sunlight, and water to provide the ideal growing conditions for your veggie plants.

Some seed companies mark their seed packets for whether they are suitable for growing in containers. I think Burpee seeds are especially great for beginner gardeners because the information on the seed packet is easy to comprehend, and it tells you when to plant in your region. Plus, they are sold at many stores - even in our local supermarket!

The little potted plant checkmark icon on the bottom right of each seed packet indicates suitability for container gardening

Armed with your seeds, grab some containers and potting soil, and you're good to go! Nearly any durable container can be used for gardening, but keep in mind that for a plant to grow nice and big, it needs enough space to spread its roots. Drainage is also important to prevent overwatering, so look for pots with drainage holes, or use materials where you can drill your own. Another alternative is to line the bottom of the pot with a few layers of gravel/pebbles to allow water to collect below the soil, or get those "self-watering planters" that have a reservoir space at the bottom.

There are also special containers for putting on railings, if you want to save floor space.

Railing planters with nasturtiums

And, there are "grow bags" that you can fold up for storage when you don't need them anymore.

Grow bags with young tomato plants
[[Tomato leaves & stems (and unripe tomatoes, to a lesser extent) are poisonous to dogs!!]]

The Big Bag Bed is a giant grow bag that is like an instant raised bed you can place anywhere you want.

Big Bag Bed Jr. with young zucchini plants

In my opinion, parsley, lettuce and spinach are the easiest dog-friendly vegetables/herbs to plant in pots. They are relatively small plants, so they don't require much space, and they don't require a ton of nutrients, either.

Broccoli and kale need more space and fertile soil to grow well, but they can also be great container plants.

Special considerations for container gardening:

Be sure to place potted plants out of reach of your pets, or train your pets to leave the containers alone. Not only is there a potential for a big dirt mess if they knock them over or dig in them, some potting mixes contain substances that should not be ingested. If that is a serious concern, there are "pet-safe" products available, such as the Dr. Earth line of organic soils and fertilizers.

For indoor growing, I would recommend purchasing started plants from a garden center instead of growing from seed. This is because sunlight through a window is typically not enough for a little seedling to develop strongly, resulting in tall, spindly plants that topple over.

Containers tend to dry out faster than the ground because there is less soil volume to retain water, so you may need to water more frequently.

Happy veggie gardening!

Back to advanced vegetables
Back to intermediate vegetables
Back to easy vegetables

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dr. Tim's Kinesis Dog Food 30-Day Challenge, Day 16: Product Review

So far, Chewy is really enjoying his new Dr. Tim's food. The kibbles are a nice, small size: perfect for the dog that hoovers kibble without chewing all that much.

Chewy's morning routine used to be: go out for walkies, go home and run upstairs, solicit pettings from people still in bed, then lurk around at the top of the stairs waiting for breakfast to be served. Now, he skips the soliciting pettings part, because he is SO ready for breakfast! He runs to his bowl the moment he hears those first clickity-clacks of his kibbles hitting the stainless steel.

Dr. Tim's kibble time!

Om nom nom

After he's finished his kibbles, he picks up some water with his tongue and then washes out the empty food bowl. It must be super yummy if he wants to get every bit of flavor!

It was Chewy's birthday yesterday and I used some kibble to top off his frozen yogurt cake, and he ate all the kibbles before digging into the yogurt. Chewy is the type of dog that eats the best stuff first, so that says a lot for this kibble!

On Dr. Tim's Kinesis, Chewy's energy level has been good: playful but not crazy hyper, content to lounge around for a few hours at a time, yet with enough energy for hiking. His poops have been regular and firm, which is a necessity when you have to pick them all up! 

I think it is still too soon to tell if this food has had any effect on his skin/coat, weight and other health aspects, so those updates will have to wait for Day 30.

Disclaimer: We received a 44-lb bag of Dr. Tim's Kinesis All Life Stages Dry Dog Food from to conduct a 30-day food challenge and provide an honest review. We received no monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dr. Tim's Kinesis Dog Food 30-day challenge, Day 1 - Product Review

This month we will be doing a 30-day challenge with Chewy will be eating Dr. Tim's Kinesis All Life Stages Formula Dog Food, and we will share our thoughts and experiences along the way.

Food? I like food...challenge accepted!

The Dr. Tim's line of pet food products are formulated to provide all-natural, quality nutrition. They offer diets for varying degrees of activity, from dogs that compete in sports to those that "prefer to scale the couch," as well as grain-free and weight management formulas. Dr. Tim's dog foods contain probiotics, prebiotics and natural antioxidants for healthy immune systems, are made with mostly animal-derived proteins, and are slow-cooked in small batches in the USA. They are free of corn and soy products.

First ingredient: chicken meal
The Kinesis All Life Stages Formula is min. 26% crude protein, for the average not-super-active dog. While Chewy does like to run around and feel the wind in his fur, he also likes to be a couch potato for most of the day. The protein sources in this kibble are mostly chicken meal, eggs, and various fish meals, suggesting high digestibility. 

Dr. Tim's Kinesis comes in 5-lb, 15-lb, 30-lb, and 44-lb bags. Have you ever seen a 44-lb bag of kibble? It's humongous! But a better value, of course.

Our 44-lb bag ripped a little on its journey to our house. I bet it got thrown around a bit between truck rides. Chewy found it to be a perfect hole for sniff-vestigating the contents, and was also pleasantly surprised to find a few loose kibbles at the bottom of the box. He quickly cleaned those up, of course.

Edit: Because of the ripped packaging, speedily sent us a brand new bag of Dr. Tim's at our request, because their customer service is truly stellar!

Don't mind if I do!

The food looks and smells like regular kibble, with the same stinky oily smell that Chewy is fond of.

Chewy seems to like his new kibble, but only time will tell if it's a good fit for him! We will post an update in another 2 weeks to share how it's going.

Disclaimer: We received a 44-lb bag of Dr. Tim's Kinesis All Life Stages Dry Dog Food from to conduct a 30-day food challenge and provide an honest review. We received no monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.