Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Protect the Vegetable Garden from the Groundhog, Part 2: Adding Chicken Wire and Gates to an Open Post and Rail Fence

When originally conceived, the Children's Garden was going to be a place to grow creative things with the children, like a tee pee made of vines, which we did the first year, and other beds planted and maintained by the children. Thus, the original fencing around the garden was a post and rail fence with three open entryways without gates, which you can see here. The only part of the garden remaining from that original conception is my older daughter's flower garden in the upper left hand corner. Over time, the children's interest in growing vegetables increased, so we replaced the short raised beds with extra-tall raised beds, which you can see and read about here. The extra-tall raised beds improved our vegetable production significantly, but as a result, we also attracted more pests, particularly those hungry, no-good rabbits and groundhogs.

At the end of last year, after seeing some of my hard-earned vegetables stolen before we could enjoy them, I resolved to improve the situation for this year. The first step, early this season, was asking my husband to create a chicken wire cover for one of the raised vegetable beds, which you can see and read about here. That has worked great, but it unfortunately does not work for tall vegetables, such as tomatoes.
Thus, the second step, completed last month, was asking my husband to pest-proof the fence around the Children's Garden. We thought of replacing the open post and rail fence, but after considering the expense, decided to work with what we had. We covered the post and rail fence with chicken wire and added built-to-fit gates to the former openings. Below are some of the "after" pictures.
On the left hand side, you can see some of the asparagus and grape vines that had to be removed from the fence to install the chicken wire. On the bottom, the chicken wire rests on the ground approximately 6+ inches to discourage any attempts to dig under the fence.
In the middle, you can see the simple wooden gate built to fit the space between the two posts. It is built with the same one by two's left-over from building the chicken wire raised bed cover. Because I wanted to keep pests from crawling under the gate, it is actually resting on the ground. Instead of hinges, it has long, easy, on-and-off ties on the top and bottom attached to each of the side posts.
On the right hand side, the chicken wire runs from post to post, covering the rails, just like on the left hand side.
This enclosure was repeated on the left and top sides of the garden. The right side of the garden is enclosed by a proper fence.
While it is still early in the season, we have not yet had any break-ins.


SNJGardener said...

I had to do something similar two years ago to keep out rabbits. I already had a regular fence with 2" x 3" openings. I then used plastic wire ties and installed a chicken wire fence to the inside of the regular fence. It did the trick for the rabbits but not the squirrels or chipmunks. - Dave


lynn'sgarden said...

Thanks for the great post...alot of work involved but it will certainly do the trick!

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