On the side of her Mill Valley, California house, Gardenista editor-in-chief Michelle Slatalla has a narrow, brick-lined patch that’s perfect for an edible garden. It’s not within eyesight of the main living space, so it’s left to the last on Michelle’s garden to-do list every year. And then summer produce season starts calling.
But Michelle’s two papillons have the run of the place, and they love the secluded spot. Since they’re quick to run out of her sight, what should Michelle plant to make sure they’re safe?
Above: Michelle’s finished, pet-friendly kitchen garden.
For Michelle, the most important part of a dog-friendly garden is planting edibles that won’t harm the dogs if they take a bite. To be safe, she also wants to avoid synthetic chemicals.
Above: First, Michelle chose dog-friendly edibles that fit within a color palette: green was a given, and she settled on purple to complement. She bought several one-gallon lavender plants at her local Home Depot store.
Above: Next, Michelle chose her produce: purple basil, Japanese eggplant, and spicy globe basil from Bonnie Plants, which are sold in peat pots you can plant directly into the soil; $4.98 each at The Home Depot. She also picked Loran strawberries and some small snap pea plants.
Above: She decided to supplement the garden with seeds of chive, kale, curly parsley, Bibb lettuce, and cilantro. Martha Stewart Living Vegetable and Herb Seeds are one hundred percent organic and $1.99 each at The Home Depot.
Above: For visual interest, Michelle found mixed purple and white alyssum seedlings at her Home Depot nursery.
Above: To feed her plants, Michelle picked an all-natural plant food made of organic material: Alaska Fish Fertilizer adds nutrient-rich fish matter to the soil in a convenient, concentrated form—just mix with water and feed the plants; $7.98 for a 32-ounce bottle.
Above: A compact Ames Hand Trowel ($4.27) and Ames Hoe/Cultivator Combo ($11.57) with attractive steel blades and wood handles were all the tools she needed.
Above: Meet Sticky, Michelle’s 11-year-old papillon, who has a penchant for tasting whatever’s growing in her garden.
Above: Larry, on the other hand, is better behaved.
Above: Before planting, Michelle amended last year’s soil with Nature’s Care Organic Potting Mix; $4.99 for an 8-quart bag at The Home Depot. She then planted each edible in loose bunches; an informal layout means that even if something dies (or Sticky gets to it), nothing will look amiss.
Above: At the very front of the garden patch, Michelle tucked in strawberries, followed by bamboo hoops to support the peas. She stuck the ends of the hoops in quite deep, so they have a fighting chance should a dog run through the garden.
Above: Michelle gently tied each snap pea vine to the base of a bamboo hoop, to get them “thinking” about climbing it.
Above: One of several tiny pea plants, carefully tied to a hoop with twine, next to the patch of deep purple basil.
Above: Chive plants were already established in Michelle’s garden, so she planted the lavender behind them (and the purple basil in front) so they’re bordered by contrasting color.
Above: Naughty dog Sticky wasted no time taste-testing the garden.
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