Intro: Dog-Proof Veggie Loft
Mookie is a chocolate lab, known as "The Destructor" at doggie daycare. He experiences the world by passionately chewing anything within his reach, and when let loose in the small courtyard, this translates to toppled and uprooted plants.
So we turned a pre-fab sleeping loft into a raised veggie garden, but it needed to be treated for the outdoors. The idea of priming and painting it solved weatherproofing problems. We decided to go with eggplant purple and contrast the colors with chartreuse sweet potato vines tangled with orange nasturtium. Baskets of strawberries and chocolate mint hang from the side and herbs are planted alongside salad greens that include spicy mustard greens, tatsoi and baby red and green leafed lettuce. Boxes hold Mediterranean and Mexican vegetables.
Rather than have planter boxes in the corners for the figs and grapes custom made high enough to keep Mookie out, lattice could be added around the rims. These too would be painted bright colors adding a dynamic and patterned element to the area.
Step 1: Planter Boxes
These are wood planter boxes we also painted. Make sure there are holes in the bottom for drainage. Add potting soil to the tops. For the top levels that are sunniest, we planted heat loving herbs like thyme and sage. Nasturtium are edible flowers and the colors are great. The sweet potato vines are mostly decorative, but there will be sweet potatoes.
Lettuces will do well in spring and early summer, but hot mid summer will make them bolt and become bitter.
Water thoroughly after planting.
Step 2: Grow Your Own Fig & Mint Ice Cream
Fig trees grow well in containers. Their leaves a beautiful and fruit delicious. Plant with potting soil and water well.
Mint is basically a weed and will spread and choke out other plants, so keep them in their own container. Here, they are on small hanging pots attached to the steps of the bunk bed.