Getting Ready For Spring: How to Protect Your Vegetable Garden From Digging Dogs

by Gayla on February 19, 2015

For most gardeners this is a season focused on the planning and preparation of our landscaping projects for spring. From starting seedlings indoors to selecting the cultivars that we will display in our prized flowerbeds. If you are like most gardeners and share a passion for pets just as much as you love your plot you have probably experienced the heartaches and frustrations associated with critters destroying your raised beds, and sometimes finding the way to destroy even container gardens.  With just a few weeks left of winter it is time to start putting together a plan to contain your dog and protect your gardening projects.   Depending on the size of your backyard, farm or homestead you can take multiple approaches to protecting your crops from the moment you begin to sprout seeds. I remember last year having a tray-full of tomato seedlings under the grow-lamp fully destroyed by my sneaky German Shepherd who found her way into my greenhouse. It All Begins with Training When it comes to keeping your garden safe from dog damage the key element is training. It does not matter what physical barriers you place if you are not in control of your dog; your dog is in control of its surroundings. Teaching your dog boundaries and obedience is essential. Begin early in life resorting to technology such a wireless dog fences and e-collars simply as a means of reinforcing proper training and not with a mentality focused exclusively in negative reinforcement. Give Your Dogs an Area to Call Theirs The best way for a beautiful garden project to coexist with your pets is by setting a space aside where your dogs can romp and play freely. This is very important for the physical and emotional health of your pet. Having a dedicated space will give your dog a sense of freedom and safety. Encourage participatory play by engaging with your dog and giving positive reinforcement in the area you have assigned for its enjoyment. If Your Space Permits Use Clear Physical Barriers For those of you with larger properties consider cross-fencing to allow your garden to have a visual separation from the dog areas. If your dog insists in wreaking havoc a perimeter wireless or wired fence can help in setting clear boundaries and protecting your crops. A Wired Electric Fence Can Give You a First Class Unobstructed View If your garden and landscape design is mainly focused on the visual enjoyment of your botanical specimens a wired underground fence solution can help you keep your dogs contained while providing a view with absolutely no obstructions. Late winter and early spring while the grass is still dormant is a great time to do a self-installation and planning of an underground dog fence. By making an early season installation of your fence you will ensure visual continuity and allow sufficient time for your turf to heal.   The Dangers of the Compost Pile I can't tell you how many times our dogs have become ill from exploring the many treasures of the compost pile. Our solution was to keep the compost pile within the perimeter of the wireless dog fence we installed in our vegetable garden. Dealing with Other Critters We gardeners have many enemies when it comes to protecting our flowers & vegetables. If you have been struggling with squirrels and bunnies an electric fence won't help you. After all it is not realistic to expect wild critters to be open to collar-based training. Last season we used liquid fence on our crops and in the perimeter of our greenhouse with great success. Give it a try.

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