Room to Move

Sheeba the smiley dog

I don’t have a very large area to grow vegetables and in winter it doesn’t get much sun. I often thought about digging up some of the lawn for vegies, but I never got around to it (being the lazyst gardener and all). Sheeba the dog likes to run along the front fence barking at dogs that walk past and she’s dug up quite a trench on her side of the fence. (If the dog walking past barks back, sometimes the flowers on the outside get dug up.) Whenever I dig a hole in the lawn to plant something I bury the sod of grass in the trench to try to get it growing, but Sheeba’s running always dig it up before it takes hold. I  considered planting a row of woolly bushes (Adenanthos sericeus) along the fence, but I’d have to put up some kind of Sheeba-barrier while they established and never got around to it.

Recently my dad suggested I put up a wire fence at the edge of the trench and grow vegetables there. It gets more sun than the current spot and Sheeba’s already done the hard work of digging it up. I knew she was good for something! My dad has lots of wood from old picket/paling fences that he’s collected over the years. Some of these made good stakes to attach the wire to. My dad gave me too many stakes, so now I’ll be able to deal with all the vampires I ever encounter, with a few stakes to spare. When I was little we had aviaries and my dad still has the wire from when they were decommissioned. I thought I’d be able to use some of that for my fence, but he’s already found uses for it, so I had to get new wire.

When I had the materials I thought there’d be some hard work ahead. Luckily Michael came to my rescue and pretty much put the fence up by himself. Sheeba and Michael do all the work for me :) Unfortunately I’m going to have to do some work myself now. My new garden is just sand at the moment. I’ll have to turn the compost bin and use the composted bottom layer to improve the soil. And there’s a line of tenacious grass runners that survived next to the outer fence, so I have some weeding to do as well.

The new fence has put a dampener on Sheeba’s territorial running. I don’t think a dog’s eyesight is good enough for strands of wire and I wonder if immediately after installation Sheeba ran into the wire and got a surprise. If this happened, sadly I missed it. (I know I’m cruel to think this funny.) Once she’s used to the position of her new track, her running may dig a new trench in the grass next to the garden bed. Over time I could keep moving the fence until she’s dug up all the lawn and the whole area could be vegies. That would really confuse her!

I’m already planning what to grow. Parsley and marigolds are top of the list because my current parsley is a bit sad and marigolds add colour and ward off caterpillars. Carrots and Pak Choy because they’re yummy. I’ve not had much success with some of my peas this year, although the snow peas are shooting up. I didn’t plant marigolds (I seem to only do this in summer) and there’s been too many caterpillars eating the ordinary peas and neither Bt nor Derris Dust worked like they’re meant to. I’m going to try peas in the new bed. My dad told me it’s too late, but I’ll see what happens.


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