What are Critter Secure Vegetable Gardens?
Critter secure vegetable gardens consists of the use of various fencing materials configured to prevent entrance into the garden area except through a gate. Many wild animals enjoy fresh veggies, as much as we do. Deer and rabbits come to mind. The Cape is not over-run with deer, but if one finds your garden he or she will return daily to eat the new growth on your vegetable plants.
Seeing a vegetable garden that has been hosting meals for deer is amazing, one day the plants are plush and vibrant and the next they are stripped of new growth (deer can be picky when the living is easy). Rabbits of course love all types of vegetation, and can do tremendous damage to a garden in short time. Of course chip monks can go over any fence, and are the one critter that cannot be kept out of a garden, lucky for us they are small.
Creating an enclosure that protects your garden requires a dual defense. One for deer and one for smaller animals like rabbits. An important component of a garden fence is a means of attaching the bottom of the fence to prevent tunneling under.
Using 4 X 4’s between posts with the bulk of the 4X4 below ground works well. So, using 5’ fence with large mesh and posts extending to 6’ where a single wire can be used to hang flags (torn sheets, or rags) to warn the deer that the barrier is there. Although deer can jump very high it is unlikely as a deer would need to be moving very fast to exceed 6’, and remember, the living is easy.
Next those pesky rabbits: a very small mesh secondary fence attached at the bottom and again to the first fence at the top, we usually use 1/2” mesh makes the will stop any rabbit.
The final consideration is the gate, it must just clear a solid object at the bottom, a 2” gap is far too much. Take all of these components and put them together in an aesthetically pleasing way and you have protected your garden and created a feature that can be enjoyed for many years. Add a drip system and control the weeds and, well we can’t give away everything!