By Kimberly Park
When you hear someone bark, "Who let the dogs out?", it’s more than likely a gardener. Even the most ardent animal lover has a bone to pick with a dog who poops, pees, and digs in the garden. Instead of getting angry, learn how to keep your dog out of your garden.
Dogs hate chili peppers, lemongrass, citrus trees, garlic, and onions -- veggies that people love to eat. Just the smell of these plants is enough to keep your dog at bay. The herb, rue, is also a great repellent for dogs and cats, but use it cautiously. Rue can be toxic to people, so while it's OK to plant around your rose bushes, it isn't the right choice for your vegetable garden.
An extra bonus: Many of these same plants, like rue, garlic, and citronella, also repel mosquitoes.
Raise the garden
Raised garden beds don’t just look cool, they also serve as a physical barrier to your dog. Fido is unlikely to exert the extra energy to climb up onto raised garden beds to raise a ruckus.
These beds also deter those other pet peeves: garden pests like slugs and snails. You'll also have fewer weeds to deal with, and better drainage for your plants.
Raised beds can make it easier to maintain your landscape. Another option? Contract out for all your yard work. LawnStarter estimates the cost to hire someone in San Jose for monthly landscape maintenance averages $174 a month.
Stake it out
Don't want to redesign your garden to keep out your Ruff-ian? Keeping your dog out can be as simple as placing some short stakes throughout your vegetable plot. You can also place some prickly branches on the ground or cover the plot with a roll of chicken wire. (This is also great for keeping out the squirrels and bunnies.)
None of these methods will harm your garden nor your dog, and they don’t cost much. Fifty feet of chicken wire might cost you about $40.
Train your dog to stay out
Teach your dog to respect your garden boundaries -- and that alone could protect your seedlings and tender plants.
Depending on how receptive your dog is, you can teach him that the garden is no place for canines. It may be as easy as finding a good series of dog training videos on YouTube or consulting a local dog trainer.
You won’t be able to hear it, but your dog sure can. A literal dog whistle -- an ultrasonic dog repellent -- will cost you less than $100 and keeps dogs and other animals out of your yard.
There are solar-powered gadgets on the market that don’t need a source of electricity or a battery, and it can be a low-maintenance, chemical-free way to keep your four-legged gardener out of the cucumbers and prize roses.
Keeping your dog out of the garden can be frustrating, especially if you discover holes that have been dug, or dog waste next to vegetables you planned to put on the dinner table. But one or a combination of these tips can help keep Sam and your fruits and vegetables apart -- and that’s one way to make gardening even more of a pleasure.
Kimberly Park grew up on a farm, where she learned to love animals and the great outdoors. As an environmental activist, she has dedicated her life to educating people about gardening and eco-friendly living. She has two beagles and a Siberian husky who know better than to mess with her garden.