Fencing the Garden

A little over 30 years ago, I lived in a poor house with a rich garden. The soil had been worked for years with many natural additives from the small farmyard animals the former owners kept.

I rolled up my sleeves and worked the garden with gusto and energy. With the Captain away commercial fishing all summer, I built my own greenhouse (it does look a bit like a woman built it, but it was functional). I even had a little cold frame that you can see beside it on the left, and an old-fashioned compost bin at the back of the garden area. I had a great garden.

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Later that summer, everything had grown like crazy in that richly composted soil.

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Then we moved to a rich(er) house with poor soil. The place had no fence and deer were always around. I grew a deerproof herb garden, but couldn’t grow much else.  In time, the area became a popular dog walking destination  and people from the subdivisions would let their dogs off leash as soon as they saw a tree.

It was no longer possible to have an unfenced garden. Trying to grow anything in the poor soil was hard enough, but adding to my frustration, were many of these “born free” dogs coming from other neighbourhoods tearing through my garden. Their owners sauntered along the road and had no care where Fido had gone.

I gave up on my garden. But the dog situation got so bad that we couldn’t let our own dogs out for fear of confrontations with visiting “stray” dogs. We built a fence around the yard. The pheasants and quail that used to wander through were long gone anyway, and it was time to reclaim our privacy.

I tried to rebuild the garden, but we had new pests. It seems that one year, undeterred by the wide meshed fence around the yard, the Easter bunny came here (presumably with Mrs. Bunny in tow), and after he whispered sweet nothings in her ear, they “went forth and multiplied.”

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, ” the Easter bunny said to Mrs. Bunny, ” ’tis a veritable garden of Eden here.” (He must have gotten the wrong idea when he saw the name plate of the Captain’s fishing troller tacked on the workshop.)003a

A bit of lavender and rosemary still survive. But my garden was dismal. What I really wanted was a garden that would grow decent vegetables. Disheartened by the obstacles over the years, I had almost given up. Even without deer, stray dogs, and rabbits, I still had little more than pure sand to work with.  A waste of time and effort!

But then, the Captain came to the rescue. He built four raised beds and brought a load of garden mix soil from the composting yard. And see the promising-looking gate! He would build me a rabbit-proof fence.

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Corner posts went in and were braced.

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Three of the raised beds already had better soil in them.

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A narrow meshed wire was strung and pulled tight with the help of a come-along winch.

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Fencing done, now it was my turn to get the last bit of sod turned over and my garden planted.

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I have a few squash seeds already growing. Once they came up, they grew so fast, I had to put them into bigger pots (which I didn’t have).

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These “Lean Cuts” dogfood cans are all I had handy to use for temporary plants pots. I hope the squashes don’t end up tasting like dogfood. I’ll let you know.

37 thoughts on “Fencing the Garden

  1. Great job with the fencing! The dogs running loose has got to be a village/township ordinance violation right? This would seriously tick me off. Some people have never been taught respect for others property and rights.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve tried to question the dog by-laws and was told that because we’re in the Regional District (and not the Town) the leash law says that dogs must be under the owner’s control at all times. Highly interpretive, I would say. I get a lot of this kind of mindset: “Sure I had control of my dog as he ran through your yard. I knew where he was the whole time and he would have come any time I called.” Or, after the fact: “Well he’s never done THAT before!” As if it must be my fault he’s behaving strangely. We (the neighbours and us) try to remind people politely that their dog should be on a leash, and many apologize and comply, but then they let them off again as soon as they are past our property. Hopeless, really.

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      • Cripe, that law is apparently constructed to be dismissed. The fence is the best you can do I suppose without taking the local jurisdiction to court to attempt to force enforcement.

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  2. It looks lovely! Great fencing. My husband had a garden while we lived in the house in QC. He’s very much into gardening. The first year here, he had a lot at the public gardens, but it wasn’t the same.

    I don’t get it, why people are so keen on letting their dogs off leash?! It pees me off …

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  3. My, you have a great start already! Here we are at least a month away from planting anything, although I may start a few things in the little greenhouse. Flowers and rhubarb are starting up, but frost tender plants wouldn’t make it yet.

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    • We probably won’t have any more frost, but it’s still chilly at night. There are only a few things that I can plant right now without a greenhouse. But it will be fun to get started soon. The advantage you have is that once it gets hot, it really gets hot! Here we often still have that marine cooling effect. Not freezing, but damp and cool for quite a while into spring.

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  4. Your new fenced garden with the raised boxes looks great! Let’s hope the weather cooperates and you end up with a wonderful crop of everything.

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  5. Glad you were able to fence things in, but then, a fence is a fence. We’re very happy here that, as quite a few in the neighbourhood, our property is not fenced in. Even if that results in the deer treating it as their home, and us, by trial and error, finding out what they don’t eat. More error, I’d say! 😉 And we aren’t in the mood for a vegetable or herbs garden anyway. More flowers would be nice, though.
    Luckily, dogs nearly always are on a leash when they are walked. Maybe because we’re within the city limits?
    So, we’re very happy with the situation here.

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    • For years we swore we’d never have a fence. I planted things the deer didn’t like to eat and I bought a small fortune’s worth of cracked corn to feed them. But when we started having 23 deer in the yard, sitting at the edge of the trees and shrubs, watching and waiting for the door to open, we realized we weren’t helping them get on with life. So we gradually stopped one summer. I think inside city limits the dog problem isn’t as bad.

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      • So far we’ve had “only” up to about 15 deer in the garden at a time. But even if they did some damage, we can’t have a fence around the property, I think. And we wouldn’t like the looks anyway. So, we’ll put up with the deer. And attract them by feeding them corn.

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        • I agree with you that fences are not particularly nice. We’ve put a hedge on the inside of the fence so we don’t see the wire anymore (on the fence around the yard, that is. The influx of walkers and dogs has been overwhelming and left us no choice with dogs of our own. But life is much better now, with the fence and the hedge looks better every year. You do what you have to do. If you can get away without a fence, good for you. Much nicer that way.

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  6. I love the photos of your Early jungle garden! I had one just like it in our early days too, it was fertile! Now,…. i have hot desert sands.no garden.
    your post was like an echo.
    and those darn dogs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really wish good soil and gardens could move when we do! 🙂 you really did an amazing job on your first good soul garden example, Anneli.
    I like that even though he is busy, your husband helps out in this garden engineering and constructing project.
    How creative and resourceful in using the dog food cans! This made me smile a lot!
    Sorry for bunnies and loose dogs. I will cross my fingers and hope for the Best!

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  8. Pingback: Fencing the Garden | wordsfromanneli – WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  9. You live in a beautiful place and made it more beautiful with a proper garden! As to the dogs. They, or their owners actually, have been a problem everywhere we have lived. Laws and regulations notwithstanding. We volunteer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every summer, which revealed to me this maxim: “You can tell a man his kids are stupid and his wife his ugly, but you’d better not tell him he can’t take his dog on the trail.”

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