Let me introduce you to two of my biggest garden nemeses: Lexi and Chase.
While I adore these monsters, they can be horribly destructive in the garden. Here's some evidence:
|These were onions....|
We've tried a lot of approaches to working this out. We've scolded, which works well when we're there but not so well when the dogs are unattended.
We've tried some vertical gardening (remember the strawberry experiment?). Alas, Chase pulled these strawberry pockets down the first chance he had. They also didn't work because they required a lot (a LOT) of regular watering, something we couldn't be bothered with in July and August.
We've tried fences around our beds, which keeps Lexi out. Chase, however, has no problem hopping over the fence into the bed to inflict damage. Often, he poops in the bed for good measure.
Our methods have evolved to a barrier between the dogs and the dirt they would love to dig in. By physically covering the dirt with a barrier that is not that fun for doggie paws to dig through, we've had quite a bit more success.
We started with plastic mesh fencing. This worked pretty well, although the small size of the squares makes it pain to move as the plants grow up through the holes. You can cut holes to size, but the plastic is just a little flimsy. If you want to provide protection to very young plants, you have to string something rigid, like bamboo, through the holes to keep the plastic up off of the dirt and add a little extra protection for the plants. Finally, the plastic needs to be screwed down, and it is a pain to store it when it's not in use. Also, I think it just looks a little messy.
The best solution we've come up with so far involves galvanized panels, generally used for concrete reinforcement, which can be had at McLendon's or Home Depot under $10 a pop.
These are sturdy, relatively affordable, and they are more or less the same dimensions as our beds. When rested across the edges of the bed, they create a nice safe space underneath for seedlings to get established without any threat from digging dog paws.
The panels make great trellises as well- we add a little rigidity to the edges with some 1" cedar strips, plunk them in the ground and call it good. It's a super easy solution, and I think they look nice.