For my birthday this past spring, Mr. Plaid promised me raised beds. Super exciting stuff, folks! But it was going to be the start of my nice weather hobby – gardening. I had bought seeds and starts from The Cook’s Garden before and had an electronic shopping cart full and at the ready! I had plans. In a twist of fortune, Shannon and I stumbled onto a plant farm/stand on the side of the road while we were “antiquing” one weekend and discovered another wonderful seed source, High Mowing Seeds. There I found the best Mesculin Mix seed packet ever as well as carrots and French Breakfast Radishes.
With beds built, filled and plotted, I planted away and sat back and waited. I think the waiting is the hardest part, but I did my best to not hover or fret when sprouts weren’t showing up yet.
Knowing Ellie was the curious dog she is, I built chicken wire screens to sit on top of the beds, to allow for optimal light and watering, but minimal dog-destruction.
At some point, however, these little screens were outgrown and I needed a more semi-permanent fix. I needed something that I could easily open/shut or at least climb over, but wasn’t ugly. Being the inventor I fancy myself to be, I used remnants of chicken wire and stakes and made a make-shift barrier. This whole time thinking, Ellie isn’t bold enough to seek out things to destroy… she just likes to destroy that which is right in front of her. Like Lemon Plants or Pillows or all the flip-flops ever.
Then came the day when I had to thin my carrots and radishes. It was a terrible day for Shannon and I, or really a series of days. We couldn’t muster the guts to really thin everything all at once. If you’ve looked into Square Foot Gardening at all (SFG for those in the know), there are ‘optimal’ planting spacing in which you should follow, and for carrots and radishes, that really means only 16 seeds per square. Well, at first glance, I had WAY more than 16. So thinned I did. Note: waiting longer – only made it worse.
BABY CARROTS! So, I tossed a few to the dogs, because they were too small to really be worthy of human consumption, right? Rookie move. I gave them a taste of the forbidden fruit. I also harvested my first square of mesculin and Mr. Plaid praised my growing talents and we had salad and joy for days. Until…
My cheapness and haphazard fence failed me.
If I could show you the messages that were sent during the week of The Garden Massacre, you’d understand. There wasn’t a day that didn’t go by that GUNNAR, not Ellie but quiet, sneaky GUNNAR didn’t shimmy under the fence, or straight-up Bull-doze over the fence in order to get his fix of salad, radishes and even a few potatoes leaves and stems.
I would fix the fence, re-stake it here and there. Tighten the weak spots. Eventually I even used the square screens and made, what I thought to be, a more sturdy barrier.
Nothing was keeping this dog away from his treats. He knew where the good stuff was, and he would get it. He had ALL day to plan his moves and take what he wanted.
The last straw for my
cheapness economical solutions was when I came home from work, went to release Ellie from jail and saw that… all of my carrots… every last precious and thoughtfully-thinned carrot… was GONE! Dug up and destroyed. No tops remained, no flecks of orange.. nothing. And Gunnar? He was no where to be seen. He knew. He had to know. He was busted!!
I turned around, got back in the car, went to the box improvement store, and got an actual garden/landscape fence. I spent the next two hours wrestling with it, and thanks to Mr. Plaid for coming out and helping (once he was done laughing at how my garden had been violated).
The idea of a dog-friendly garden? Just be careful what you wish for. Me? I wish for a non-dog toxic garden? And that’s about it. My garden is for me. For my stomach to enjoy and if I’m feeling generous, Mr. Plaid’s as well.
Since the new fence went up (and stakes held it down), there have no other garden-based massacres or events to report. Gunnar still walks the border… checking for points of weakness… but so far, it’s been holding strong.
At lest my garden is growing, and from what
I’ve been reading Shannon told me, I still have time to plant new carrots. Not all is lost.
Hope you find time to be outside this weekend and enjoy yourself!