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Garden of the Dogs

June 15, 2012

First TomatoThis is the summer to tackle the backyard!  When we moved here, the yard was a mixture of grass and weeds, with no plants or trees on the property.  I was elated with such a blank canvas…and a tinge overwhelmed as well. 

The weeds this year have been fierce, and Jasper’s long coat is like a magnet for the accompanying stickers.  Delilah’s coat is so short, she fortunately doesn’t have issues with this.  After about a million times of picking off those little tiny velcro-ish stickers from Jasper’s coat (just in the last couple months!), I’ve decided that enough is enough!

I want my dogs to live in a delightful playland, where there are no worries about dreadful stickers or toxic plants.  So I did a little research at the ASPCA Toxic/Non-Toxic Plant Guide section of their site to find out which plants were dog-friendly, with no potential harmful effects no matter what they did to them.  And then I headed off to the local garden center.  I purchased lavender, sage (salvia coccinea, which was the only one listed that was definitely okay for dogs…don’t know for sure about other salvias), star jasmine, and alyssum.  These have all been favorites of mine for as long as I can remember.  The only one missing is the Shasta Daisy, which I haven’t been able to determine whether or not is dog-worthy (if anyone knows for sure whether this particular daisy is safe for dogs, please drop me a note in the comments section…it would be most appreciated!). 

I also planted mint, which has a reputation for being invasive, so I planted it in an area that has more weeds than I can defeat without chemicals, which I won’t use, so I am hoping the mint will smother out the weeds in a takeover.  Apparently, from what I’ve read, mint can also be good for discouraging pests, including fleas.  Every little bit helps!

Then for the big project!  Without having built a single thing in my life, I decided to add raised beds to the yard.  These would do double duty, both covering yet another area prone to weeds, and creating an organic growing area (our soil is hard clay…not so conducive to vegetable cultivation).  I recruited my Dad to join me on a trip to the local lumber store, and gasped as I saw the price of redwood, which was one of the longer lasting woods recommended for raised bed gardening.  Back at the house, my Dad gave me pointers, like pre-drilling boards before actually attaching them to the corner posts.  I had no idea.  His directions turned out to be invaluable, and when he left, I dove into the project!  Here’s some of the materials I started with, and two of the three boxes.  I still have one to build.  But I’ll tell you, I was walking a little taller with pride after finishing that first box!

Garden Materials

Garden Boxes

These boxes are both the same size, but the magic of photography implies that I am the worst carpenter ever.  Anyway, I mowed the area at the lowest setting on the mower, then moved the boxes into place.  Next, I’ll add layers of newspaper to block out and kill what’s left of the grass/weeds.  I found great websites about building raised garden beds, preparing soil, and all kinds of stuff!  Earth Easy and Plant Native were both really helpful!  Now back to work for me!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2012 6:24 pm

    It’s looking good! 🙂

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