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I'm getting approval from my wife to build a raised vegetable garden in our front yard which gets full sun from mid morning throughout the evening. She'd prefer it to be near the sidewalk (spot #1) but we're both concerned with the number of dogs in our neighborhood and of them relieving themselves on our veggies!

Question 1: How detrimental is doggie pee-pee to our tomatoes and to us? Or what can I do to prevent that?

Question 2: Does anyone else with a sidewalk veggie garden have problems with passerby helping themselves?

We're also considering spot #2. And spot #3 I'm already planting veggies in, but it's in the shade most of the day due to the fence.

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edit:

We live in the pacific nw, winters are pretty mild, our street doesn't get treated/plowed at all. That's our drive way on the left. A little worried about theft, and dog pee.

** update **

I ended up building the raised garden right next to the side walk. Has been working out great, if anything, a bit too much sun, and some of the plants on the west side get a little burnt. A few people have stopped by and asked if they could pick from it :D

Built from 1"x5"x6' ceder fencing boards, it's holding up well, only going into it's second season.

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    Do you get lots of snow in winter and does the sidewalk get treated with grit/salt? – Bamboo Apr 10 '14 at 12:29
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    Are you worried at all about children stepping in it? How about theft? And is that a driveway to the left of spot #2, or just a walkway? Finally, how much sun does spot 3 get? – michelle Apr 10 '14 at 13:45
  • Preventing theft by offering: in the UK and France more and more of incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk are created. Be the first one in your neighborhood! – Patrick B. Apr 11 '14 at 10:34
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Dog pee once in a while on the ground won't hurt anything, especially with the amount of rain you likely get - but if it's happening a lot then it can "burn" your plants with the excess nitrogen and alkalinity. And, if you have low hanging fruit and the dog pees on that, well, I think none of us would find that appetizing, even if it wasn't necessarily toxic!

If you make the raised beds with wooden or brick walls that are high enough (18 inches, perhaps) and add a "lip" to the top of it that sticks out a few inches around the edge, the dogs probably won't be able to get their legs high enough to actually get their urine stream into the bed or onto the plants. I would do that whether you choose site #1 or site #2, as both look pretty accessible to wandering dogs, to me.

I can't speak to the issue of theft, as I've never had an exposed vegetable garden. I would expect that whether it is a problem or not depends to some degree upon the general attitude and safety of your neighborhood, and how many kids might be walking past your house. Have you had things stolen from your front yard in the past, or had someone vandalize your car or yard? If not, that may mean you won't have a huge problem with it, but then again, I've noticed that people in general seem to not equate things like tomatoes on a vine with "personal property" so that may or may not indicate whether you are in danger of losing your garden produce.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. I think what I'll do is try to make the raised garden higher (was originally planning 8" or 10") and I like the idea of the "lip" around the top to provide a boundary. – Dave Baghdanov Apr 10 '14 at 22:35

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