Tomato Gardening and Dogs by da-AL

This dog is a natural gardener.

What do dogs (namely larger ones like mine) have to do with tomato plants? My wonder doggies help chase away vermin. They scare off rats, possums, raccoons, and coyotes! Plus they make it impossible for birds to alight on my luscious fruit.

Screens keep the good in and the bad out.
Screens keep the good in and the bad out.

Since our furriness happened to my family, even the crowds of snails have dwindled, as have the legions of tea cup sized grasshoppers.

At the same time, they kept our pollinating non-aggressive bees and wasps intact!

For years, I pitied the oil slick green beetles that bump around blindly in my garden. The dogs often lunge and chomp at the pretty things, toying with what I mistook for ‘JUNE bugs.’ A few days ago I learned that the reason why our insects arrive much after June. They’re fig beetles, which explains why they buzz around my eyes when I balance from the high branches of our fig tree.

Along with dogs, window screen and clothes pins protect plants.
Along with dogs, window screen and clothes pins protect plants.

Unfortunately, they can’t fight spiders, the ones that stunted a couple of my most promising seedlings with their webs of red powder.

My gardening skills lie somewhere between the green-to-black thumb spectrum. Our doggies greet fertilizer as candy, so I rarely use it. Nor do I use pesticides for myriad reasons. The tomatoes are watered only at the roots, to stave off mold and thirsty bugs.
4CageBase 31Past years, I didn’t much mind sharing our bounty with local ‘wildlife.’ Last summer, however, birds and rats took everything! I considered nets, but envisioned baby birds snarled within them. Only a few weeks ago, it occurred to me to use some leftover window screen material.

Wasps and bees are garden helpers too.
Wasps and bees are garden helpers too.

It’s  light enough to cut with scissors, and malleable enough to be anchored with clothes pins at the base of each cage. Voila!

Look at my new cages! Too bad I didn’t think of them sooner than just a few weeks ago! In tandem with the dogs, they work royally to deter greedy pests. At the same time they let in sunlight and air. Don’t bee fooled by this wasp – them and the bees get under the mesh when they feel like working pollinating magic.

Gardening goodness, screen guardian underneath.
Gardening goodness, screen guardian underneath.

The loveliness of planting tomatoes surpasses how they make my mouth ecstatic. They’ve taught me to be resourceful and optimistic. One plant barely grew, hardly leafed out, I almost pulled it up. As if in defiance or gratitude, it rendered eight succulent orbs!

How do your pets garden?

19 thoughts on “Tomato Gardening and Dogs by da-AL

  1. Patty September 5, 2016 / 11:35 pm

    Lovely post Daal! Great idea indeed, the use of window screen protection thingy.
    Over here I have to protect the tomato plants from the rain too, since the rain brings an ugly disease over the last couple of years. So I’m very happy with my little green house. Also very handy to keep my Joy from stealing and/or destroying my vegetables 😛 Especially tomatoes, since they can cause an allergic reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daal September 9, 2016 / 12:24 am

      I didn’t know about the allergic reaction. Here we are all desperate for rain, so what to one is a bother is to another a gift…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt September 5, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    The screen protection is BRILLIANT! Absolutely brilliant!

    I’ve refused to even try growing a home garden because we have so many rats, opossum, raccoons, skunks, as well as crows the size of cows, even coyotes, which aren’t interested in the veggies, but in the critters who like the veggies. The screens might be a solution.

    Of course, my son always says when he spots a new plant in my house: another innocent victim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daal September 5, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Too funny! I often feel sorry for my plants. Would be nice if our coyotes ate our rats instead of attacking small pets.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. voulaah September 5, 2016 / 12:28 am

    These tomatoes are very nice as well protected
    My father also grows in the garden, there are no tomatoes , but cassava , sweet potatoes
    have a nice week

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daal September 9, 2016 / 12:33 am

      I tried sweet potatoes & had no luck. A Chinese herbalist/acupuncturist told me that in China they sautee the leaves, that they are more nutritious than the potatoes. I tried it & they are delicious!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Daal September 4, 2016 / 9:49 pm

      Small, but crammed. American houses (as opposed to condominiums and apartments) typically feature a front yard without a fence around it, & a private back yard. In front we have roses & kumquats. In back yard we have a beautiful fig tree, some grapes, a few herbs like rosemary & sage, & the tomato plants that I put in each spring for the summer. Before the dogs, I tried more things, but now the dogs are often too eager to sample young plants. Do you have a garden?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shipra's space September 5, 2016 / 8:47 pm

        aww..lovely..i wud very much love to have a garden.. ur so lucky..i have always lived in an apartment. i have some potted flowers..jasmine, roses fact its my dream to have an organic veg farm one day with lots of veg, fruits, flowers

        Liked by 1 person

        • Daal September 5, 2016 / 9:12 pm

          Before this house, I always lived in apartments. There is something to be said for both. I love not sharing walls with neighbors most, though.


    • Daal September 4, 2016 / 3:50 pm

      Would not have embarked upon were it not for a friend who, years ago, visited with all the plantings for a first crop. Am grateful to her, as while it can be work, its quite rewarding as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sunith September 5, 2016 / 1:12 am

        True. The rewards are worth the good efforts. Also, there is this joy that one has during the cultivation process and that is unbeatable..

        Liked by 1 person

  4. leggypeggy September 3, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Clever idea for the window screening. Thanks. Our Indi keeps out the cats and possums, but isn’t much good with the birds. Her predecessor, Aggie, was brilliant with the birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daal September 4, 2016 / 3:51 pm

      Somewhere I heard that there are cats of old England that continue to be revered for their mousing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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