Monday, July 19, 2010

garden fence

I live in the middle of a field. Until this house was built 10 years ago, the land was part of the tree farm that surrounds it on 3 sides. The lawn has been seeded with grass, but in all honesty it is simply a uniformly trimmed selection of field weeds, which is fine with me!
Gardening in the middle of a tree field is a challenge. It is a wonderland for deer, rabbits, groundhogs, possums, skunks, and even foxes (and apparently now coyotes). From my hilltop deck, I can watch literal herds of rabbits running together through the rows of trees, and goofy groundhogs carelessly scooting along from weed to weed.
After years of frustration and disappointment, we put a fence up last year. What a difference it made!Instead of finding my heirloom beans nibbled down to pathetic nubs, they grow up the sides of the fence. The cucumbers are producing madly, also climbing the fence. Tomatoes use the fence for support, and most importantly, the holy basil is safe and sound.
I think we got it at Lowe's, and it was something like $150 with some stakes left over (15' x 40'). The corner stakes are metal and need to be driven in with a sledge-hammer. The side stakes are plastic, and have sharp spikes on the bottom that you just heel in. On the inside of the stakes, they have tabs that hold the grid of the fence snugly. Three of us got it up in a couple of hours.
I thought we'd have to take it down to roto-till this spring, but it wasn't necessary. Since there are some perennials planted along the sides, I just marked them carefully before setting my nephew loose with the machine.
This fall, I'll probably look for something similar but taller - like 6' - to go around the blueberry and currant patch. Then we could just drap it with bird netting.
Baby bunnies probably wouldn't have had much trouble getting in, but if they did they didn't cause much trouble.This has been a great solution to our garden nuisance problem. Although some of these animals can climb, I think the fencing doesn't feel sturdy enough to them.
Now, if I could just find a better solution for whatever makes the groundhogs want to build condos under my front porch steps, everything would be great.

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