Fencing the Expansion

Now that our new rows are built we are finding deer and coyote tracks through walking through them. It’s time to fence the new plot. Since it is an expansion of an existing plot we need to build it prior to opening it up to the old section. It needs to happen quickly, but after completing so much fencing since we moved onto the property it’s becoming second nature.

While our first fence posts were put in using a post hole digger, we now have a tractor with an auger to dig the holes for us. We use 10 foot wooden posts at the corners and 1 or 2 in between corners depending on the overall length. They are buried 3 feet down and with the clay soil there is no need to use concrete. The soil hardens enough to keep it steady and if we need to remove a post, it’s much easier to do. T-Posts are used between the wooden posts to keep the fence flat and steady. We use 6 foot field fence with 2×4 inch openings. This leaves 1 foot at the top of the posts to string wire if needed. Luckily the deer haven’t attempted to jump the fence so we haven’t had to add the wire, but if we did we would add pieces of orange nylon marking tape as visible flags to deter them.

Next we add 3 foot tall 1/2 inch wire cloth, AKA rabbit fence, to the bottom of fence on the outside. We use a very sharp bamboo shovel to dig a thin trench right at the base of the fence to bury it a couple inches down. Zip ties are used to attach it to the field fence. This also prevents most squirrels and rodents from getting in.

The wind is a problem on our property due to the small valley going through it. A small price to pay for the extra beauty of the land. Unfortunately that means we need to create a wind break. Shrubs and trees take years to grow so we need an immediate resolution. Bamboo screens are attached to the outside of the fence at the windiest points. It works like a charm.

The fence is finally done and the total area is now 2/3 bigger than it was. We have a lot of work to do!

Watch us using a tractor for post hole digging on the farm’s YouTube channel:

 

A Fence in the Shrubs

Fence removal

The backyard fence is so old that the lilac hedge grew up around it. Unfortunately there is also a lot of barbed wired in there too. We are replacing the backyard fence and moving it out past the shrubs so it will eventually hold our future dogs in and keep out the deer and eventually our future goats.

First we spent hours pruning back the lilacs to access the fence, and now using a wire cutter and saw to extract the rest of it. The poor lilacs were already overgrown and will now look very sad for the next year. Oh…..I’m sure they will bounce back but it’s going to be an ugly hedge year!

A Prickly Prescription

Bunny

In August, a tiny baby rabbit found a weak spot in the garden fence where it pulled away from the dirt due to erosion. He dug underneath the fence and built himself a home under the shed that is contained inside. It had been 2 weeks of enjoying the lettuce and tasting the bell peppers when he started to sniff around the carrots. We finally caught him at a moment when he was far enough away from his hole.  We blocked the opening and chased him out the main gate.  To fix this new issue permanently I dug up prickly pear cactus from the property and planted it all along the outside base of the fence and lined the inside with more bricks. Let’s see him try to dig under now!

Oh Deer!

Deer in Garden

When our first spring came, I was so excited to start up the vegetable test plot. The bed was 30 X 50 feet and had not been managed in 4-5 years. The fence and gate were in desperate need of mending. There were a lot of deer and rabbit in the area so I made a point of adding the following:

  • Regular farm fence with 2×3 inch holes rather than large holes or chicken wire.
  • Built the fence 8 feet tall to prevent deer from jumping it.
  • Added a 3 feet of rabbit fence (1/2 inch wire cloth) at the bottom, burying it 4-6 inches underground.
  • Added bricks flush under the gate to prevent anything from sneaking underneath the gap.

Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough! A deer still made it in to the garden! It got stuck between the fence and an adjacent hedge, panicked and climbed over! It had a heck of a time getting back out, bouncing off the fence multiple times leaving it warped. Deer don’t see well and sometimes can’t see this type of fence.  I’m adding random orange flags across the top to keep them from attempting to jump. Its high enough they usually don’t even try. There is easier food to get on the property.