Vegetable garden fencing Q's...

mrsmarv(M-H Valley/z 6A)May 6, 2006

I posted this over in "Vegetables", but thought some Hudson Valley'ers would chime in, as well...the more information, the better.

I've been lurking for a while...I'm usually over at the Home Decorating Forum, but we're putting in a "new" garden and need some advice. We live in the Northeast (Dutchess County, NY) and are in the process of filling in a 20'x30' IG pool with un-screened and then screened topsoil. Thank goodness it was filled previously to almost the top (less 18"), or we'd be ready to shoot ourselves LOL. So far we've had 30 tons of soil delivered and there's another 15 tons to come. DH and I are 'debating' about the type of fencing we should use. DH wants to use 6' high hex/chicken wire around the perimeter, and I would like to use 6' high welded wire fencing. The entire perimeter is 100', less a small opening for the gate. We have alot of deer who live nearby, and I'm concerned about them running into the fence and prehaps collapsing it. The four end posts will be constructed of 3" metal pipe, which will be sunk down approx. 3' and then bolted to the cement walls of the existing pool. So the four corner posts will be very sturdy and we will have re-bar between each post all the way around for added strength. DH thinks that the hex/chicken wire will be strong enough to use as fencing. My concern is that the perimeter is so large, the hex/chicken wire won't be strong enough to withstand the deer 'run-ins', and also our Northeast winters with lots of snow. We don't want to disassemble the fencing yearly, so it has to be built to last. We had a 15'x20' garden about 15 years ago and used 4'high hex/chicken wire and had relatively no problems, but in the years since the deer population has been displaced by new construction and increase in their population.

Hopefully some of you will be able to advise and share your wisdom. Thanks in advance.

Nora

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jaybn(z5 NY)

Deer can easily hop over a 6 ft fence. If you don't mind running into it, since it doesn't show up well, slightly uncoiled chicken wire pulled around the perimeter, laying in the yard, seems to discourage them, altho they can easily hop over it if want to. Ground hogs can also climb the stiffer/heavier fencing easily.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 2:15PM
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mrsmarv(M-H Valley/z 6A)

Heavens...it sounds like I'm doomed to policing the area 24/7 ;o) Is there any type of fencing that will solve the majority of my concerns? Help (she cried plaintively).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 4:15PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

For my Ulster County garden, whose perimeter is about 80', I use 6' high welded-wire fencing, the type with 2"Ã4" openings, and haven't had a deer yet enter. It's not quite as inexpensive as the hex/chicken wire but it holds its shape much better, resists rust, and doesn't need to be framed all the way around. Maybe the combination of a fairly high fence and a smallish enclosed space keeps them out. Anyway, I'd start with 6' fencing and replace or extend it if they get in; the welded-wire stuff is stiff enough, I think, to reach to 8' with a standard 7' fencepost (which stand about 5½' high driven into the ground). Your fencepost scheme sounds like it should work just as well.

I was intimidated by the whole fencing thing at first and felt positive deer would be scheming to find their way in. But it ended up being very easy to do and you needn't worry about them storming your fence en masse. They're nimble but basically timid animals who have poor depth perception and don't like to be caught in enclosed spaces, so a reasonable fencing job is likely to be adequate.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 11:31PM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

A friend who has a wonderful vegetable garden near me has gone from 8'rigid fence to 8' with wire above to adding single strand electric fence four feet from the perimeter.
This has evolved over a number of years. I have never fenced my vege garden and most years I have no damage except the deer sometimes come in late fall to taste a few things. The point is, what fencing is required will depend on where your garden is located, just start with the best you can and be prepared to adjust, just like the deer.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 8:39AM
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mrsmarv(M-H Valley/z 6A)

Thank you all for your sage advice. Welded wire fencing is what we'll use. We're getting the 6' with 2"x4" openings, and will use either 7' or 8' T-posts. I figure if I sink the posts 1 1/2' down, it will still leave 5 1/2' to 6 1/2' of T-post on the surface to attach the fencing to. We'll probably sink the fencing in the dirt 6", as well. I hope 5 1/2 feet in height will do. If it turns out it's not high enough, we will adjust (just like the deer), and will perhaps top it with some hex wire...at that point it will probably look like one of our local prisons LOL. We don't mind the deer, since we've basically 'made our own bed' by not allowing hunting on our land. And there are some Rose of Sharon that are close to where the garden is located. They top them off for us every year, so that should keep them occupied ;o)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 8:59AM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

I use Home Depot deer netting attached to posts and have never had a problem so far.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 4:16PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Attach chicken wire to the bottom foot of fence and then angle it out another foot along the ground outside of the fence. This will help prevent burrowing animals like groundhogs and rabbits from getting in. The voles and chipmunks are another story. I have a five foot high fenced-in area and no deer have jumped it in 10 years. I have poles and trellises inside, here and there to discourage them from jumping inside and spearing themselves.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 9:01PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

That fencing material makes excellent tomato cages, by the way. Make a cylinder about 2½' across and attach it to a sturdy stake.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 10:27PM
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dadgardens

Deer will easily jump over a six foot fence (if they can see what's on the other side), but 2" by 4" wire mesh fencing deters most of them, the jumpers don't like narrow or cluttered (lots of pole bean pyramids) landing zones.

Groundhogs(woodchucks) will either tunnel under a fence or climb over it. Two simple solutions: for climbing over you need to bend about one foot of the fencing at the top to create a horizontal overhang - g-hogs aren't rock climbers (they can't cope with overhangs); for the tunnel builders - burying a foot of fencing underground might work (but, I had to lay a horizontal fence under the entire veggie garden, g'hogs are as stubborn as I am - they tunneled deeper than the foot of fencing).
Dad

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 11:46PM
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mrsmarv(M-H Valley/z 6A)

We're almost done with the fencing...we've been having so much rain the past week that at this point we're 'stalled'. Hopefully, we can complete it within the next week. Keep your fingers crossed. Since it's much needed, I only wish it would stop for just a few days! Good point about the woodchucks...but I believe we'll have them foiled. Our garden is going on the inside perimeter of a filled in cement walled pool. The depth of the cement is between 3 and 6 feet, with the walls being approximately 2' thick. We have filled the entire pool with dirt/soil to the top over the years, and are using the walls as a guide for the fencing, and also as a barrier for any burrowers. We used treated 4x4's for the end posts, and also for the gate posts. The fencing is 6' welded wire (2"x4") with T-bars(?)spaced 5' apart between the posts as interim support. We actually bolted the 4x4's into the cement walls at each corner (and also the posts used for the gate) for added strength. DH thought that was overkill, but I figured that we have the added advantage of the walls so why not use them. We sank the fencing about 8" all around and placed bricks up against the wire to hold it flush against the walls before we back-filled it with soil. Burrowers beware! As far as the deer go, we'll be setting up 'teepees' for our pole climbing vegetables and flowers, such as beans, peas, clematis and morning glory. I'm hoping that if we have at least six of them throughout the area, we should be okay. If it turns out that we need an added deterrent, we can always add a layer of chicken wire across the top of the fencing, bent inward. And then on to planting. It's a good thing that the spring has been rather chilly here, so even if I can't get my plants in until the first week of June, we should be okay. I'll post pics of the completed fencing/garden once we're done. Thank you all again for the input.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 9:00AM
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dadgardens

mrsmary,

I'm envious of your vegetable garden site, my old pool is also filled with dirt/soil and is a perennial garden (protected from the deer by a privet hedge with a fence inside it).

Woodchucks are a pain - but outward facing horizontal overhangs of about 12" will stop them in your case!

It still feels strange to discuss garden defenses that are analogous to medieval castle defenses

Dad

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 11:36PM
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oldroser(z5)

I've used 7.5' deer netting on steel poles and found it works fine. No defense against a woodchuck but a have-a-hart trap took care of him. Now if I could only catch those pesky rabbits! We put chicken wire along the bottom of the vegetable garden fence and so far, so good.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 8:00PM
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mrsmarv(M-H Valley/z 6A)

The fence is up and the garden is in! The first week after planting, I came home to find my lettuce decimated....and we soon found out who the culprit was. A baby groundhog made his way right through the wire welded fencing. Hey, they *look* fat, but they're mostly fur. Then DH caught him making his way towards our swiss chard, and that was the last straw. So this past weekend, I purchased 100' (2' high) of 1" chicken wire fencing, spent most of Saturday wrapping the entire perimeter with it. Now we're Fort Knox...nothing like a little overkill. Our veggies and flowers are doing nicely...I'll post pics soon. Again, thank you to all who contributed their thoughts and time.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 10:32AM
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