Hi Everyone !
I'm Victoria, and live in Mauritius. I've been looking around and reading this forum for quite some time - so many awesome discussions ! - but only finally decided to create an account a few days ago.
I've always loved questioning the world around and asking 'Can it be done 'better' ? How would that look like ?', this brought me after some time to permaculture and a PDC.
I'm currently in Mauritius, staying with my parents, and took on the challenge of re-designing the garden with permaculture in mind, to get as close as possible to the dream of my mother: to produce as much food as she can from her garden.
We live in Mauritius, in the middle of the island. So it's a sub-tropical-ish climate, but as we're in the center of the island, that is higher in altitude, it's 'colder' [ people from other part of the world would still consider it pretty hot weather most of the time I believe !] and more rainy than the rest of the island.
The house is situated in an urban area, but there's still a garden around the house, with even a few big old trees and such -so it's not as if we're stuck with no spaces as most people in urban area, but we're definitely trying to maximize space.
Now, here's the thing : there are currently 4 dogs. They are mostly in only one half of the garden, as doors were put on each side of the house, so that they can only go in the front yard when we're with them, otherwise they're in the back of the house. Now, in that part we still have two areas that are shaded by trees, and that are for the moment bare-grounded ! Even if it's not big spaces, I absolutely want to grow some kind of ground-cover there [of course], but would also love if it was some kind of productive ground cover [to once again maximize the growing space]. Now, the thing is, the dogs are used to play around in the whole area behind the house, so it would need to be plants that are still quite resistant to probably being walked on/played in by the dogs. One of the spaces does not have much good soil neither. So I was thinking about maybe growing vines ? Some kind of pumpkins or chinese winter melons [as I was given a few seeds by a friends a few days ago] maybe ? I mean, that would be resistant to the dogs I believe ? And them playing in it wouldn't compromise the yield I believe ? But would love if anyone had any others ideas of 'dog-resistant plants' for sub-tropical areas or how to still use these spaces - or at least not leave the ground bare, while also knowing that the dogs would enjoy these spaces too ?
Thank you !
I'm not sure what to say to this. Our dog weighs only 12 lbs and she can, depending on the weather, damage even turf in the places she runs back and forth. In the garden, she's a menace: not only will she trample seedlings, she also samples lots of things, leafy and otherwise. (She figured out that tomatoes on the ground are tasty -- not looking forward to the day she realizes she can pick them off the plant.) I wouldn't expect four dogs too leave much left if they were playing in a small area.
Could you maybe fence off one or more sections? Taking your idea of vining plants, for example: You could fence off an area up against the fence around your yard (or around a trellis if you don't have one) and plant squash or melon. You could then train the vines to grow up. You'd only need to protect the vines to dog height and this method could help maximize space.
The merciless plants that people tear their hair out fighting would probably survive dog traffic because they regrow from every point- things like bermudagrass for example.
I've heard people cite fescues as tough in the face of foot traffic, but also that they are no match for enclosed dogs.
Our dogs have a small yard with a wooden privacy fence that is buried under a mountain of trumpet creeper vines. This vine seeds itself everywhere, so no matter how many seedlings my dogs trample and nitrogen-burn, more always pop up to replace them. They also love lying in the shade of the leaves along the fenceline
I've also seen pampas grass do well with dogs on site- it's probably too big to be bullied.
These seem like the things that work out the best for dogs kept in a smaller area: plants that reseed/regrow and plants too big to be destroyed (trees, bushes, large grasses).
"The highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences."
Well established dutch clover and grasses tend to hold up pretty well to dogs. The hardest part I've found is getting them established, as dogs tend to rip up the baby seedlings when they've got the zoomies. I still have a bare patch at the entry to my yard where the grass died off in the last drought. Everything I plant gets ripped up before it has a chance to put in a deep enough root system. Could you fence/rope off small areas at a time to let them regenerate for a year or so? I think that would be my plan if I wanted to keep the space available to dogs.
If you're interested in generally keeping dogs out of gardens, there's only two things I've found to be effective: training and sturdy fences. Both are highly dependent on the type of dog you have. Mine happens to be pretty respectful, so as long as there's a border (rocks, raised bed, pots) I can keep her out of my garden plants. But, I've also trained her since a puppy to respect these boundaries. Other dogs can be quite resourceful and persistent and require excessive fencing (high enough not to jump over, sturdy enough not to be chewed through, protected underground from digging).
My dog destroyed every new tree she could get at when she was a pup and she had a plenty of space, she would go out of her way haha. She even pulled half grown bananas out of the ground (38kg dog) I built tree guards (a loop of sturdy fence wire) that I put around all newly planted trees to protect them. Once she was a little older and they had been there a while she would get over it and they were semi safe. The key now days is making her think it has always been there haha. Wire guard for a week or so and they are golden. May work for you?
Thank you all for your answers !
I think that the fence while the plants establish themselves will be an idea I'll try ! Surely operating areas by areas, so that while one areas is fenced off the other is available...
Loved hearing all your stories with your own dogs too - pulling out a half grown banana out of the ground, that's one they haven't done yet here haha
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