A blog about eating locally, healthier living and discovering more sustainable practices... Join me on my journey as I explore new and healthier ways of living, while supporting those in my community who do the same.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
This weekend was a sunny one, so we spent a good portion of it outside, preparing for the impending gardening season. The property we live on is full of wildlife, wildlife that will inevitably try to get into our garden. In particular, there is a family of deer who roam the property freely. We are lucky enough to see them everyday. I have seen rabbits, a wild turkey, and even a red fox. We hear the coyotes yipping every night and although I have never seen them, I have heard of the damage caused by moles. Building a garden without a fence would be a hand-delivered invitation to an all-you-can-eat buffet open 24/7. This was not the message that we wanted to send and so we began the search for the perfect fence.
My garden's dimensions are 30' x 16', so we needed approximately 100 ft of fencing. The first place we went to quoted $400 for a 100 ft. fence. Fencing is not cheap but there had to be a more cost-efficient way to do this. After checking out a few places, we found something called Deer Barrier made by Easy Gardener. Here is the link to the product, if you are interested: http://www.easygardener.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=98
Deer Barrier is a strong, but lightweight black mesh 'fence'. It blends into the background and is UV protected, so it will last for years. Perhaps its strongest selling point is that it does not have any sharp edges and, therefore, will not hurt animals. Deer Barrier sells for approximately $50 (for 7' x 100'), a small price to pay for garden protection.
Constructing the fence was easier than it would have been if it were made of metal. We measured out the space and hammered metal stakes into the corners and along the walls. The stakes were set deep so that they will withstand strong winds, as well as any accidental run-ins with deer. Since the barrier was 7' high and we had planned for a fence of about 5', there was extra mesh to play with. We stretched the barrier across the posts and fastened it securely with plastic ties. Then we dug a trench approximately 6-8 inches deep all around the edge of the barrier. The excess mesh was rolled tightly and pushed into the trenches where it was buried and tightly packed. When all was said and done, the fence was secure and tight to the ground. For extra security, we will be reinforcing the bottom with a couple of feet of chicken wire. This will stop any animals from chewing their way in, namely those pesky rabbits. The only critter this fence will not keep out is the mole. I have, however, read of some organic deterrents that I will be testing out this summer.
We completed only 3 sides of the fence this weekend since there needed to be room for a gate. Alex built me a gate made of lightweight wood and chicken wire. It will be hinged to a sturdy post and securely hooked at both the bottom and the top. Since the mesh fence is hard to see, it will be necessary to wrap something around the top. If I can't see it with my naked eye, chances are neither can the deer.
All in all, the fence cost approximately $75, gate included. If you don't mind a little manual labour you'll find the work fairly easy. It took us a couple of hours in total and we had a lot of fun doing it. I'm going to attempt to add a slideshow here so that you can see our progress for yourself.
Pictures of the gate to come....