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Dogs in the garden, & Dog Poop

Kylie Harper

Joined: May 04, 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Zone 6, Kentucky, high water table

I recently moved into a home on half an acre. I planted a veggie garden and fenced it in to keep my dogs out. Now, however, I am learning more about permaculture and when I look out at the backyard, I see wasted space! I need to plant, plant, plant!

I have 5 dogs who are up to no good most of the time.

I can think of 3 reasons why I should keep the dogs out of the garden:
1) Dog poop
2) Dogs running full speed through my kale!!!
3) Dogs attempting to eat my kale!!!

But... I would like to plant things in the rest of my yard, too. What are some hardy - but edible - plants that you think could stand up against being run-through by a horde of wrasslin' dogs, probably wouldn't seem tasty to those dogs, and which preferably would stick around each year so that I don't have fragile seedlings out there each spring? I'm thinking berry bushes and some dwarf apple trees, but would like to know what you all think.

And finally, some questions about dog poop:

1) For those of you that poop-scoop, do you have a separate compost pile for your dog's poop like, I guess, the humanure piles I've seen mentioned on here? How's that working out?
2) How terrible would it be if dog poop was raked up with the grass clippings and accidentally made it into the regular compost pile? I'd like your opinions on that because I'm wary of raking leaves & grass clippings because I KNOW there will be dog poop somewhere in there. Everything I've read about composting says NO dog poop.

Megan Wantoch

Joined: Apr 03, 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Northern England
Whereabouts are you? That'll make a big difference to what perennials are suitable. Fruit trees definitely a good idea, also nuts. Don't know how big the space is but you could maybe grow things to provide a yield other than food, like fuel and/or weaving/building materials.

You could also grow things for biomass/compost, eg. Comfrey, so it wouldn't matter if the dogs shred it you can rake up the leaves and use them (and comfrey will survive that).

Don't know if this would work, but you could maybe grow some vining crops, like squash, by making a sturdy pyramid/teepee shaped trellis structure. The seeds/seedlings could be planted inside the structure where they'd be safe from dogs, and the plants would grow up out of harms way. Just a thought
Leila Rich

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
I haven't had a dog for ages, but my dog used to use the garden as a racetrack...(greyhound)
I agree with looking at using the unfenced area to grow trees, berries etc. I can't envision dogs enjoying my raspberry patch I'd probably fence the young trees to keep mulch in place, stop digging and general doggy hijinks.
Is your current vege garden big enough for you?
As for poo, I know some dog parasites affect humans, but hot compost should kill them. I'd have a separate 'poo compost' for the prennials and try reasonably hard to get most of it on there.
Kylie Harper

Joined: May 04, 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Zone 6, Kentucky, high water table
Thanks for the input and suggestions! Comfrey as biomass is a great idea. I really appreciate the help.
subject: Dogs in the garden, & Dog Poop