I’d like to introduce Fort Mayo. This is our way of stopping the deer, rabbits and maybe even the chipmunks from eating more of our vegetable garden than we do.
I put 2×4’s into the ground and strung a top and bottom stringer between them.
These stringers support a 24-inch tall length of hardware cloth that completely surrounds the garden with the exception of the two entrances.
Hardware cloth is a metal fence with one-half inch spaces in a grid. It prevents anything – including chipmunks – from just walking into the garden.
Around the entire garden (again with the exception of the entrances) I strung an electric fence.
For the curious. This electric fence delivers a shock in the 1-milliamp range so it does not injure any animal or person. As I can attest – having backed into it more than once by accident – you don’t want to do it twice.
It’s my old farm unit and my kids used to dare each other to touch it (as did every farm kid everywhere) 😉
If you’ve never experienced one of these, the closest comparison would be to a static electricity shock you get from walking across a wool rug with leather soles and then touching someone. It’s not pleasant but it’s not harmful either.
And that’s the point. We don’t want to harm the animals but we need to make it unpleasant for them to try eating our food.
It will not harm the deer and rabbits and animals learn to avoid it once they’ve been shocked once.
I started with three beds with two aisles but we’ve already decided the beds are too wide so I’ll be redoing it this fall for four narrower beds and three aisles.
This picture was taken before the doors had been installed and finishing touches done (as it is at the end of May.) In another week, it will be fully functional and (hopefully) allowing the animals to eat the shrubs and grasses out in the rest of our 8-acre property while leaving us a few hundred square feet to feed ourselves.
As of the end of May
- I’ve got most of the transplants into the bed.
- Most of the early crop of seeds is in
I had planted horseradish in another bed and when that bed was eliminated and the soil moved to this area for a vegetable garden, the horseradish came along for the ride.
I’m currently digging it out and if you’ve ever done this, you know how much fun it can be. I’ll let you know next month how that turns out.
We had to construct all of our vegetable and flower beds with imported soil because this property had about 2-4 inches of clay over shale rock.
Landscaping this garden
I haven’t considered how I’m going to landscape the edges of this bed yet. I had paving bricks on the old one but … I think I might like a new look so I’ll have to get back to you.
Like everything else in my garden, it’s a work in progress.
But as I write at the end of May, the planting is almost finished and I’ll be working on the final details and getting the irrigation set up over the next week. I’ll let you know how it all works in another post next month.