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The Good Dog's Guide to Gardening

10/10/2015 7:53 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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Autumn and my dog.

So, we've spoken about sleeping in the human bed and travelling in the car, but being a super little companion dog, something else I really like doing with my person is garden.

And I think I'm pretty ace at it. At least that's what she tells me. She's always saying 'good dog'. Admittedly, prefaced with the words, 'Now why don't you be a...'? But I distinctly heard the words 'good dog' in there, which must mean I'm awesome. So to help all the canine conservationists out there, here are my top tips on gardening:

Weeding: I love weeding. It's where we pull stuff out of the dirt and put it in a pile so new edible stuff can go into the dirt. (I'll get to manure in a bit. You didn't think I meant vegetables, did you?). My person stacks her weeds up in a pile. I find she leaves some patches of the yard a bit bare, so my advice is pull a few weeds off the pile and drag them around the yard, leaving them where it's more aesthetically pleasing to you.

Digging: It's instinct, okay! And I see my person doing it. Especially on those nice raised veggie plots she made. Which, incidentally, are great for hiding toys in, not for keeping dogs out. Why would you even do that? The lettuce looked cold, which I why I jumped up and lay on it. Body heat. You're always worried about frost. What is squash anyway? Isn't that like a zucchini? Anyway, I digress. If you gave me a little more guidance on your preferred digging locations we wouldn't have any issues.

Mulching: It keeps the moisture in the soil to make it easier for digging. Also great fun. My preference is for sugar-cane mulch. Being a black and white dog, when I roll in it I look kind of like a coconut-covered Lamington. Hilarious! This is an outside game though because it takes ages to get all the pieces out of the carpet, apparently.

Fertilizer: Moo-poo. Or chicken. I'm not fussy. Great for the soil, the veggies and it must be good for my coat. Nutrient rich! (It says it right there on the bag.) And I am happy to help sort through the compost from the bin to find things that haven't broken down and need a bit more chewing, such as egg shells. Seasol and any fish-based emulsion is the nectar of the gods. Make sure you get some of that -- either by drinking straight from the watering can or rolling on the freshly watered plants. Oh yeah. If you drink it -- try to kiss your person to share the joy.

Pruning and Picking: I can help with this! With my teeth. Who amongst your friends wouldn't want spinach with delicate little dog-bite shaped edges. It's pretty. You don't need negative people like that in your life -- and dogs are an excellent judge of character. Also, I'm great at picking cherry tomatoes, cherries, blackberries and strawberries. Sometimes they accidentally fall into my stomach... but the object is just to get them off the tree, right?

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Leaf Piles: In a word... pounce! Oh yeah. He jumps, he lands, the leaves go wild! And so will your human if they've just spent ages raking them up. If you do a good jump they'll be so excited they'll likely shake the rake to the heavens as they admire your athleticism and yell your name. Then, they'll rake the leaves up for you again so you can repeat the fun!

The Hose: In the situation of bath-time it is my natural-born enemy. I much prefer a temperate wash with luxury shampoo in the laundry tub. But in the heat of summer, the hose is like the doggy equivalent of a champagne fountain. I also like to chase the water. Dogs, if you get wet doing this, you should race your human into the house to get a towel. Apparently it's pretty urgent to dry you off. Help them out by wiping yourself on the rug a little. They love that.

Wheelbarrow: Evil. Like a really big dog but doesn't do dog things like eat and poop. Has wheels, not paws. Bark at it. Tell it who's boss.

Birds: Yes I see them eating your fruit, and I will bark and chase them away. Except when I'm asleep in the newly maintained garden beds, which to be honest is a lot of the time. So maybe there's a gap in this plan. Maybe get the bird-nets. The end result will be the same.

So, furry friends, as you can see, we are pretty much indispensable in the garden. Look at all the garden shows on TV -- they all have dogs. Because humans would get this wrong without us.

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