The other day was a wonderful warm sunny spring day, and I was lucky enough to have the afternoon off, and spent it working in my garden, with all my birdies watching me and enjoying the sunshine too. I think on days like this even people who don’t consider themselves gardeners long to plant something in the ground.
For those of us with parrots, growing fresh food for them can be very beneficial for their overall health. You can grow your own all organic produce by choosing organic soils and fertilizers at a much less expensive price than buying organic food in the stores. Because all produce starts the decomposition process and rapid loss of nutritional content from the moment it is harvested, that which you grow yourself and can offer your parrot freshly picked, has more of the vitamins, enzymes and nutrients still intact. Growing your own means that you have access to the whole plant as well, often the most nutritious parts of are ones never seen in the grocery store; for example, did you know the most nutritious part of the broccoli plant are the leaves? The garden centers and seed companies offer an unimaginable array of varieties of veggies, herbs, far greater than anything you could find in a grocery store, or even most farmers markets. Did you know that you can grow your own carrots, for example, from seed in a rainbow of colors from white, yellow, the common orange, red, purple, and even black.
Sounds great, but you don’t have time or space for a whole garden, or you live in a community whose homeowners association does not allow vegetable gardens? Well, try planting a small container garden filled with a variety of textures and shades of healthy greens, mixing in a few vegetables, berries, herbs and some edible flowers for an arrangement that is as beautiful as it is nutritious.
Choose a container, my personal favorite are the new lightweight polypropylene containers that look like heavy ceramics, but containers made from plastics, powder coated steel frames with coconut fiber liners or unglazed terracotta are good choices too; avoid glazed terracotta, as many glazes contain heavy metals and other toxic substances. Use Organic potting soil made specifically for containers (NOT garden soil or topsoil) and Organic fertilizers such as those made from seaweed. Whenever possible choose organically grown seeds or plants. Gently remove the soil from the roots of non organic plants, and replant in organic soil, wait at least 30 days before offering to your parrot. Avoid plants that have been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Dark Leafy Greens & Veggies are rich in Vitamin A, critical to Parrot’s heath and lacking in most diets; Omega 3s support brain, heart and immune system; calcium for bone strength, and a variety of other vitamins, minerals & nutrients. Try Kale, Cabbages, Collard greens, Mustard greens, Turnip Greens, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabb, Arugula, Celery, Beets, and Carrots.
Herbs add wonderful fragrance to your home, when chewed on by your parrot, making for a safe and healthy alternative to dangerous chemical air fresheners. Many herbs are known to have medical benefits as well. Try Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Basil, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Peppermint and it’s different flavored mint cousins.
Edible Flowers not only add visual appeal to any garden, but are greatly relished by most parrots. Many edible flowers contain nutritional and medicinal properties. Try Calendula, Chamomile, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Violets, Carnations, Daylilies, Petunias. Remember that the flowers of your dark leafy greens and herbs are edible too.
Note: NEVER give your parrots flowers from a florist, these have been treated with preservatives and pesticides that can be toxic if eaten!