Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Public enemy no. 1

We have been warned by experienced gardeners to die-hard urbanists alike that we are going to have to do something about the deer.

According to our farm plan, installing a deer fence around the entire perimeter of our garden is our first priority. We have been digging fence post holes, ordering fencing, guidewire, ground staples and cable ties, and making a deer-fence-stretcher. People wise in repelling deer have advised us to dig our fence posts into the ground at least 2 feet, install posts a minimum of 15 feet apart, utilize sturdy trees as posts whenever possible, install deer fencing at least 7 feet high, allow at least 6 inches of fencing to lay on the ground, run a guidewire along the top of the fencing to prevent sagging, reinforce corner posts with angled beams, among other tidbits. These are the basics, but that doesn't mean there aren't a thousand websites dedicated to helping you learn about, purchase and install deer fencing. But even with so many choices, we are really sticking to advice we've heard face-to-face from a few trusted sources.

For example, we are going to make use of the stone wall surrounding the garden. By installing the deer fence about 2 feet behind the stone wall, we give our plants and vegetables a boost of protection, because deer are deterred by the prospects of clearing a 7 foot fence only to land on an unstable stone wall with a 4 foot drop to the ground.

Another example: give yourself some insurance by placing an egg/vinegar mixture around the perimeter of the garden. Mix 2 eggs with 1/2 a gallon of white vinegar and place it in bowls in strategic locations. This apparently wards off deer up to 300 feet.

With the fence and the egg/vinegar concoction going on at the same time, we might never know which provides the best protection. But after hearing the horror stories of whole crops of vegetables wiped out in one night, we are not going to risk it.

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