• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • r ranson
  • Nancy Reading
  • Anne Miller
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Matt McSpadden
  • Rachel Lindsay
  • Jeremy VanGelder

Wanted: Garden Buddy

 
Posts: 102
Location: Dallas, TX area
69
2
cat forest garden greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm hoping someone on here has ideas or experience with this. I would like a pet to keep outside to be my buddy when I garden at our little suburban home. Here are the stipulations:

-Husband is not open to chickens or rabbits at this time but maybe in the future. The city where we live is still very restrictive about keeping them outside anyway.
-I'd like a pet that can stay outside in a small enclosure.
-I'm in zone 8 with hot summers and occasional freezes, usually not more than a couple of days at a time. I could take the pet inside for extreme weather.
-If I got a snake, I could put it on my neck while I garden.
-If I got a tortoise, I could feed it the grubs I find in the garden.
-Could possibly convince the husband to get bees to produce honey. I'm focusing on making more bee-friendly habitat in the yard already.

Any other ideas?
 
master steward
Posts: 14863
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4103
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do some garden chores while I walk the dog by pulling up unwanted plants.  Though when I work on the garden itself my buddies are butterflies, honey bees, and mason bees.

I feel butterflies are a great companion, I love stopping and watching them do some of my garden chores.

Please consider planting some flowers among your vegetables in your garden to bring more butterflies, honey bees, and mason bees to your garden.

You might also consider getting some milkweed to help the beautiful Monarch Butterflies.

https://permies.com/t/59341/shelters-habitat/Monarch-butterflies-caterpillars-Creating-Monarch

Here are some threads that you and others might find interesting:

https://permies.com/t/174143/Pollinators-part-permaculture-design

https://permies.com/t/138194/Edible-Plants-Pollinators-Love

https://permies.com/t/139219/Photos-Pollinators-Beneficials-Plants-Love

https://permies.com/t/61605/Creating-Edible-Medicinal-Garden-Butterflies

Hummingbirds would also make good garden buddies:

https://permies.com/t/69417/shelters-habitat/Create-Habitat-Hummingbirds
 
pollinator
Posts: 143
Location: MD, USA. zone 7
48
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've had reptile pets before. What they won't do is stay put while you focus on anything else!

I encourage you to try what Anne is describing - enrich the space and see who shows up. I've had butterflies, bees, dragonflies, mantises and all sorts of insects, skinks, songbirds, snakes, hummingbirds, feral felines, hawks, a fox, toads, orb spiders, chipmunks, a turtle, some sort of peeper frog the size of my pinky nail.. make the space inviting and they'll come.
 
gardener
Posts: 828
Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
589
forest garden fungi foraging trees urban chicken medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've found that when I'm digging, moving wood chips, brush, etc., the wild birds are more than happy to be my buddies and swoop in on whatever bugs I've uncovered. Also if I just slow down a little and am mindful of their space, they'll often hang out nearby.

I agree with Anne that hummingbirds particularly make good garden buddies. The ones in my yard have virtually no fear of me and will hover very close, sometimes within just a couple feet. They're quite entertaining to watch flitting from flower to flower.

Of course, I like to err on the side of not letting the wildlife get too comfortable with me. I don't want them to lose their very natural and healthy wariness of big creatures who could be dangerous to them. I've had more of an issue with this with mammals than birds. I think it's important not to treat them like pets, though they are excellent garden buddies. I feel like not only are they fun to watch, but they help me learn about working with nature and when I leave space for them, they benefit the garden in lots of interesting ways. Plus it just makes me feel like I must be carrying the good vibes and doing something right when wild creatures are content to hang out in my presence.
 
pollinator
Posts: 766
Location: Western MA, zone 6b
466
cat dog forest garden foraging urban food preservation
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about a guinea pig?   Not sure if that is too much like a rabbit.
 
pollinator
Posts: 11853
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1254
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lizards are excellent wild garden buddies. A young lizard once leapt off a banana plant into my hair and I had a heck of a time getting him out because he wanted to snuggle in to get warm!

For domestic garden buddies I would suggest quail. Small, cute, and very quiet.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2902
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
926
dog forest garden urban cooking bike fiber arts
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My gardening buddies are the birds (blackbird, robin, sparrow) and the insects (bumble bees, butterflies, ladybugs, etc.), who are living in my garden.
 
Anne Miller
master steward
Posts: 14863
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4103
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also like the garden buddy lizards.  Though mine are rather shy and have not learned to trust me as they always scamper off when they see me.

I hope Elizabeth will come back and let us know what she decided to choose as a garden buddy.
 
gardener
Posts: 1035
Location: Zone 6 in the Pacific Northwest
512
2
homeschooling hugelkultur kids forest garden foraging chicken cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I too think quail could be fun. We have wild ones and it is always a delight to see them in the garden.
 
Posts: 5
2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wholeheartedly agree with Anne and the others, the critters who visit the garden are great company. From the tiny bees and birds to squirrels and possums. Just one plant such as fennel can have perhaps 40 pollinators of all shapes and sizes buzzing around it.  Hummingbirds love the bee balm and scarlet runner bean blossoms. A true gift to be present with the lovely creatures whose land we share.
 
gardener
Posts: 3043
Location: Western Slope Colorado.
586
4
goat dog food preservation medical herbs solar greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the suggestions about creating habitat to encourage wild animals (insects and birds) to spend more time in the garden, I also want to mention the possibility of a duck or goose.

We had a Canada goose spend the winter in our neighborhood… small quiet town 6000 feet elevation… origin unknown, personable, independent presence, always a pleasure to see him/her.
 
pioneer
Posts: 485
Location: On the plateau in crab orchard, TN
42
hugelkultur urban books cooking writing ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Plant white clover in the lawn, but before getting into bees, find out where you can extract the honey ($$$) or find a club.
 
gardener
Posts: 653
Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
457
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation building solar greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elizabeth said,

I'd like a pet that can stay outside in a small enclosure.


In addition to the excellent recommendations for plants as wildlife attractors, a water feature attracts many buddies as well. If you want to contain your friends, a small pond with goldfish is a super easy way to keep your companions within view at all times. The pond also attracts toads, which will serenade (okay, scream) in the evenings. Then the snakes stop by and swallow the toads so rest is possible. Recently, a great blue heron decided to visit and spear a few of my goldfish buddies, but this is okay because the young fish will have a chance to grow up without being eaten by the original larger goldfish. Also, powdery dirt around the water feature reveals the constant foot (paw, claw, underbelly...) traffic of many other illicit friends who are living in the supposedly restrictive city: coyote, skunk, raccoon, squirrels, bobcat, maybe even a rabbit or a feral chicken!
 
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know why but I just find the idea of a feral chicken hilarious!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 2902
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
926
dog forest garden urban cooking bike fiber arts
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

N Stephanson wrote:I don't know why but I just find the idea of a feral chicken hilarious!


I found something on the real wild chickens (or 'jungle fowl') for you:
http://brucekekule.com/wild_species_report/red-jungle-fowl-wild-ancestor-of-the-domestic-chicken/
 
Look at the smile on this tiny ad!
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
https://wheaton-labs.com/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic