Thursday, 29 May 2014


Another way of growing starwberries
out of the reach of dogs ...
Preferring to stay indoors
out of the rain
Oh dear! This week's post has crept up on me and caught me napping ... it has been pretty much wall-to-wall rain since I last blogged, so during the few dry spells I have grabbed a shovel and zoomed up to the allotment to try and finish digging over what will be the pumpkin patch. Nearly there ... just a little bit more to go, and three pumpkins are out already. In the meantime I try not to look at the fruit bush area as the weeds are loving the warm, wet conditions and are threatening to smother them. The one good thing about them is that it seems to make it more difficult for the pigeons to scoff all the fruit - they normally don't even wait for it to ripen - as I haven't yet got my net curtains out and draped round them. (The bushes that is. The pigeons will just have to dress themselves.) The pigeons aren't the only fruit lovers round here - the  alpine strawberries growing by the back door are already producing luscious red berries. But no picture I'm afraid, as Archie and Angel already harvested them before I could reach for the camera!
Lots of blossom on the apple trees this year.
Which brings me once again to the subject of bargains - if you have fruit bushes, old net curtains will not only keep greedy pigeons off, but greedy dogs too, provided you net carefully and don't just throw them over the top. I usually stick three or four garden canes in the ground and then wind a length of net curtain around them to form a barrier. Where to get the net curtains if you have no old ones lying handily around? Try your local market. I found a stall there several years ago selling nothing but nets. When I explained that I wanted something really cheap and what it was for, the stall holder produced yards and yards of stained or slightly damaged 'seconds'. I bought a tenner's worth off him and came home with five bulging carrier bags. It lasts well and is less likely to tangle up the feet of wildlife than netting, so has been something of a bargain. It is also much less fiddly than faffing around with netting which I'm not fond of ever since I found a blackbird snarled hopelessly in its meshes on a neighbour's allotment. Luckily I was able to set it free, but if I hadn't gone up that day it might not have been so fortunate. Hedgehogs and other animals can also get ravelled up in its snares.
Of course, net curtains may not be enough to keep really determined dogs at bay, so you may need to fence fruit growing areas off completely, or supervise your dog when he is out in the garden. Teaching a good 'Leave it' command will mean you don't have to be breathing down his neck the whole time.

Finally, watch out for some exciting guest blogs coming up soon! If you would like to contribute one yourself, let me know - you can get in touch with me via the contact page of the Dog Friendly Gardening website HERE

Read more HERE

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