So I don’t mind our dogs digging. They’re doing us a great favour with this unmanageable soil and are inspiring in their determination to keep on digging.
However, out of all the places in our garden, the dogs choose the one corner they’re not allowed to dig: Where our paving meets the clay ground. – In order for the pavers to stay in place, we need the clay ground to stay put.
How to explain to dogs they’re allowed to dig over there, but not over here?
So I put up a DIY Dog Digging Defence:
Every time the dogs started digging too close to the pavers, I’d plonk down a concrete brick.
Needless to say: Our dogs would just start digging right beside it next time they got a chance.
So I’d plonk down another concrete brick.
Now we have a row of concrete bricks forming a small divider wall between pavers and clay ground.
Turns out this has additional benefits:
With the ground becoming loose in times of drought and Cape Town wind, we have dust everywhere. This small barrier helps keep the sand at bay.
It also works as a little jump in the obstacle course that our garden turns into when our dogs get the zoomies. They love any reason to jump, which seems to more than make up for the lost digging opportunity. 😉
The more surprising when it’s still intact and traceable: I’m always amazed that it is still possible to excavate entirely intact bottles. After removing the garden soil with a digger back to ground level, hacking at the clay earth to loosen it up, and dogs digging up the rest:
How amazing that this vial didn’t break. And it’s sealed! With something inside! 😮
It is even possible to read the pressed imprint of the manufacturer’s signature: Heynes Mathew Ltd.
Now, there’s something to research! And it comes up with results, even with dates:
Extract from The Cape Town Guide (1897) p139:
“Heynes, Mathew & Co. – This firm so widely know throughout South Africa was established in Cape Town at the beginning of the century. Their operations increased so rapidly that they found it necessary a year or two ago to construct new premises, and these are now amongst the most attractive in Cape Town. Heynes Mathew & Co.’ Building is six stories high, and is situated at the corner of Adderly and Longmarket Streets. The first floor is let to various tenants, but the remainder of the building is devoted to the requirements of their large business. They manufacture numerous specialities for their trade, and are agents also for many remedies which have a world-wide reputation.”
Progress in our garden is slow: There’s still so much fixing going on around the house, that our backyard is mostly abused as a storage facility.
So when finally the east wall got done, we had some extra space freed up to move the concrete blocks.
And the rest was left to play:
Like tending to a zen garden, an empty space is quite inviting to be reflective and creative.
The first time the concrete blocks turned into an interactive group seating area:
Now the concrete blocks form a centre piece, as the garden work will continue along the garden wall. They cover quite a bit of ground, which will prevent dust being blown around. And they stretch out like a giant sofa, an outdoor lair, complete with backrest and bird bath. And of course, the braai at the back:
With water restrictions plans for our garden are changing, so let’s see what the next giant lego reshuffle will look like. 🙂
This was odd: I didn’t realise at first these seed packets were #MoopSwoop finds, because my husband had just been given some by his brother and I thought the Woodstock wind had somehow gotten hold of and dispersed them.
But when I showed my husband the salvaged seed packets, he said they were not his.
So, whoever lost or dumped these seed packets: They made it safe and sound into our courtyard and will surely be of good use in our urban garden.
And thanks to the Woodstock wind for bringing them to us. 🙂
Renovating a heritage house in Woodstock comes with lots of surprises. Turns out our garden is full of them too!
Loving urban gardening we can’t wait to grow our own herbs and veggies.
But the ground in our garden is not what the lush grass field might have indicated.
Instead of digging up rich soil, we have to tackle the solid surface with pick axes.
Beneath lies one jaw-dropping curiosity after another:
From dishes and pots and pans, to tools and screws and metal plates, to clothing, in particular shoes, also lots and lots of buttons, to entire intact bottles and lots and lots of glass shards, many many stompies,
to tiles that can be puzzled together from the broken pieces, metal roof sheeting, wooden floors, to entire bricks and even four matching columns,
to old light bulbs, coins from the 1950s, to lots and lots of bones, teeth, hair clips, marbles and other toys,
we’ve probably dug up an entire house by now, together with its contents.
So what happened here?
Neighbours tell me there once stood a house called “The Broken Palace”.
One anecdote goes that, as the naughty boys ran away from the police, they’d take a shortcut into the alleyways behind The Broken Palace. A fishing net would catch the police, as only the boys knew where to slip through.
As we’re uncovering more objects from the depths of our garden, we can only imagine the stories that took place here.
Do you remember The Broken Palace? Does any of the items we found in our garden jog some memories? If so, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂
“One of the primary components in dog urine that affects shrubs and other plants is urea, a type of nitrogen waste that is produced as the body metabolizes protein. Because dogs have a large protein requirement in their diets, a significant amount of urea can be produced by a healthy dog. When a dog pees on your shrubs, the urea in the urine acts as a source of nitrogen for the plant and the surrounding soil.
Nitrogen is an essential element for plant development, and in small amounts the nitrogen provided by dog urine can actually benefit your shrubs.
While shrubs need nitrogen for proper growth and development, too much nitrogen can be detrimental; it can stunt or potentially even kill the shrub.” – Will Dog Pee Kill Shrubs?
How to prevent dog pee from damaging your plants
– Protect your plants
While fencing your garden off is a bit of a harsh way to keep your dog out, raised flower beds are just as effective and have other practical benefits.
– Train your dog not to pee on the grass
“Provide an area in your yard, away from your garden, consisting of sand and soil covered in mulch or pebbles, where your dog can urinate without harming any of your plants or lawn. Plant salt-resistant greenery and grasses near this potty spot, in case it has any accidents. These plants are typically found along the coast and are more urine-resistant than other flora.” – Does Dog Pee Hurt Plants?
– Steer away from (distressed looking) plants and trees
“Of course, a dog’s gotta go when a dog’s gotta go. But when you have the option, steer Fido to a lamppost rather than a tree and a bark covered area rather than a stressed-looking lawn. You can spot stressed trees by bark that is discolored or even peeling off around the base. And trees that are under six inches in diameter or have thin bark are at higher risk.” – Why Does Dog Pee Kill Plants?
– Keep the pH in balance
“For the health of both your dog and your lawn, you should strive to keep your pet’s urine pH right around 6.5, and no higher than 7.
I recommend buying pH strips from your vet or at the local drug store to check your pet’s urine pH at home so you know when it’s in or outside the desired range. In the morning prior to feeding your dog is when you should collect the urine sample. You can either hold the pH tape in the stream of urine while your dog is voiding, or you can catch a urine sample in a container and dip the tape into the sample to check the pH.” – 3 Reasons Your Dog’s Urine Kills Your Grass
How to help your plants recover from dog pee
– Neutralise the soil
“You will need to neutralize the acid fairly quickly or your vegetables will not survive – my father’s trick was to use a few tablespoons of baking soda in a watering can and water the area.” – Is Dog Urine Bad for My Vegetable Garden?
“After your dog urinates on any plants in your yard, douse the area with water from your garden hose. A thorough rinsing of the area within eight hours of urination dilutes the urine enough to prevent damage to the plant, according to VeterinaryPartner.com. Don’t wait more than 12 hours to rinse the plants because this could actually increase the damage to the plant. Provide your dog with plenty of water to drink, which dilutes the urine even before it winds up in your garden.” – Does Dog Pee Hurt Plants?
– Treat dog urine as fertiliser
If you fertilise your lawn, take into account the overfertilisation your dog can provide and avoid fertilising these areas on top of it.
– Consider plants that like dog wee
“Selecting plants that can survive getting drenched in dog urine is a good idea around your property perimeter. Violas, columbine, lilac, ornamental grasses and a host of other plants are virtually urine proof. Make sure the border plants are not poisonous to dogs.” – How to Stop Dogs From Urinating on Plants
“With a little planning, you can easily grow small “turf repair” pots in your back garden. All you need is a small plastic flower pot (3 inch is fine), fill it with some soil, either compost or garden soil, then sow a few grass seeds in the top. Give it a good water and leave it outside somewhere keeping it moist over the next week or so. When your dog has burnt a section of lawn, simply dig out the circle, drop your lawn repair pot grass into the hole and hey presto … fixed! You can set up a number of these pots next to your shed and the grass will sit happily in the pot until needed.” – Dog urine patches killing your lawn?