Adventures in gardening: One hungry Labrador retriever

Published on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:36 - Written by Casey Murphy cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

When I was growing up, my grandparents had a big garden, and we often benefited from their bounty of summer crops.

Homegrown vegetables always taste the best, so this spring I thought I would try my hand at growing a few.

Although I don’t have room in my back yard for a garden, I found enough space for four plants each of tomatoes, squash, jalapenos and bell peppers.

I knew it might be difficult to keep them going in the looming summer heat.

What I didn’t anticipate is that within about 20 minutes of planting, my blind Lab Lucy ate all of the squash, jalapeno and bell pepper plants — not even leaving the roots behind.

I guess the only reason my tomatoes survived is because they had cages around them.

The good news is that my tomatoes came in beautifully.

Although they might not look as good as store-bought tomatoes, they sure do taste better when they come straight out of the ground.

We have been eating a lot of BLT sandwiches and caprese salads at home and given some away to friends and family.

With all the rain this year, the tomato plants went crazy and grew so big that the cages couldn’t handle it. They look terrible and I can’t tell where one of the four tomato plants begins and ends because they are all mashed together.

Next year, I know I will have to buy larger, sturdier cages and build something around all of the plants so Lucy can’t get to them — when they are first planted and when the fruits and vegetables come in.

For the past couple of weeks, I have gone outside several times to find that she has half eaten more than a dozen green and red tomatoes.

It makes me so mad but how can you punish a blind dog for something you didn’t catch her in the act doing?

I am hoping our tomato season is not quite up — there are still plenty of small green tomatoes left on the plants.

I just hope I can get to them before Lucy does.