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How many times have you carefully planted a vegetable garden, only to have the fruits of your labor eaten by wildlife? The only real solution is to erect a fence that keeps the animals out. There are many types of fences to choose from. The ultimate decision comes down to budget, time, and what works best for your particular situation. Whatever you select, try to put up the fencing before animals discover your crops; once they find out how delicious your things taste, they are likely to return for another meal.
Another trick is to avoid stringing the fencing too tightly. Most animals are less likely to scale a floppy, unstable fence than a tight one. Sturdy 2 foot-high mesh may also work for animals like skunks and rabbits, but its not tall enough to prevent animals from climbing over or burrowing under.
Chicken wire isn't suitable for keeping deer out of your garden, unless you nearly triple its height and erect a fence that is 8 to 12 feet tallan expensive prospect that is both difficult to erect as well as to maintain.
Double Fences: One relatively simple (and relatively inexpensive) method to try is to erect two 3 to 4 foot-high fences spaced three feet apart from one another. Deer have an aversion to jumping over a low fence when another fence is visible just on the other side. Any type of three foot tall fencing will work for this, but if youre using single strands of wire, each fence should be made up of at least 3 strings. The fence needs to be easily visible in order for this to work, so you may want to tie white rags along the length of the fence line to make it more defined.
Height: The most effective way to deter deer from your vegetable garden is to build a fence that is too high for them to jump overfor deer, a minimum height of 8 feet. Standard woven wire farm fencing comes 4 feet tall, so it can be stacked to create an 8-foot-high fence. This method isnt inexpensive and it takes a lot of time, but if you plan to invest a lot of time and effort into vegetable gardening, it will be worth it.
Plants and debris that collect against the wire can drain the fences power, so you will need to keep the area around it clean. You should also check the fences charge periodically with a voltage tester to make sure its working correctly. If you have young children or free-roaming pets, you may want to consider another type of fencing altogether.
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If you have gardens in different places and need fencing that is not necessarily permanent, try buying cheap fence and use used canopy poles (from a canopy you no longer use) to erect sturdy but temporary fencing.
I used them successfully to keep our ducks, geese, chickens, and dogs from my gardens, and it will deter wildlife too. They also kept the brambly berry canes from sprawling all over my yard. You can also use bamboo or dowels as posts, cheap is the word here. Chicken-wire or hog fence will also work. Cheap!
In my picture, I show our wild berries being kept off the lawn. Each year, I go in and remove all the weeds and cut down the old brambles, it doesn't look like it now though.
By Katy from Dowagiac, MI
Great tip, but you just blew my DH's (the guy with the green thumb around here) bubble. He figured no one else had that brainstorm; looks just like our garden, LOL!
Our dog knows enough to respect the boundary, ours is chicken wire.
Now, if I could only keep those darned iguanas down here in South Florida outta there. (06/02/2010)
I did this a couple of months ago, using a roll of flimsy plastic chicken wire and bamboo sticks from my yard. The fence sags a bit but the dogs haven't tried to get past it. It's great to be able to have little gardens scattered around without spending much money. (06/02/2010)