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Posted on Mar 12, 2015

Dog-proofing the garden

Spring is in the air which means I have one thing on my mind: the garden.

The dogs have two things on their mind.

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1. Sunbathing

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2. The garden

You see, the thing about hounds is that they eat everything and will help themselves to your rhubarb, tomatoes and even kale without the slightest bit of guilt. (Yes, our dogs like kale. Yes, I know that’s weird.) We realized long, long ago that any garden we have must be dog-proof because our dogs cannot keep their grubby little paws off the produce. This means an external barrier that Sawyer can’t jump over, Sasha can’t nose open and Ella can’t weasel under.

When we lived in State College, we went to the lengths of building an actual permanent wooden fence around the garden, lined with chicken wire several feet tall.

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The red fence lined with chicken wire kept our dogs out but somehow, mysteriously, rabbits still found a way in so we resorted to lining these two beds (which were their favorite) with more chicken wire.

Granted, our garden in State College was much bigger and had far more plants requiring protection. Not to mention, we owned the house and didn’t mind making such a permanent addition to the garden.

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Man, I miss that garden! Some of my favorite memories are working in the garden, weeding away under the warm summer sun while listening to a captivating audiobook.

Our rental house here has two good-sized garden beds on the side of the house and I’ve been patiently waiting all winter to work on them. Now that the warmth and sunshine are returning, we’ve been working to clear and prep the beds and get the first plantings in.

Here’s the obligatory ‘before’ shot, with last year’s dried out tomato plants and plenty of weeds. There were also a few pleasant surprises: rhubarb, leeks and green onions springing up.

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After weeding the beds, we set up some metal fencing that we hauled with us all the way from North Carolina – the kind that you simple stake to the ground and hook together. This fencing is so multipurpose and has served several helpful functions for us in the time we’ve had it. It’s tall enough to keep Sawyer out and when staked in, sturdy enough to withstand nosy, persistent hounds. And being completely portable, we can easily take it with us whenever we move out of this house.

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Once we got the fencing up, I was itching to get some plants in so we picked up a few hardy kale and chard plants from the local nursery and popped them in.

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See that nosy hound trying his best to break in?? And then he tries to act like he’s a perfect saint, striking this angelic pose as if he’s far too superior to ever sink to the level of garden burglary.

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So far, the fence has kept all the dogs out and no other animals are brave enough to enter our yard and risk Wally sounding his deafening hound alarm. Now, to patiently wait while our indoor seeds grow into little transplants. The dogs have yet to realize that there are trays of tempting soil sitting by the window of my office – fingers crossed they never will.

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Are you prepping your garden yet? Are your dogs also little garden thieves?

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