Saturday, 7 March 2015

... the kitchen garden fence

Hello everyone...

In continuing with the theme of having a plan with regards to your homestead, I though we would just continue along with what we did.

At the beginning of 2011 we already knew that we would not be ready to build that year. However, we did not want to waste our time at the farm so decided that we would use our vacation weeks to start to put in the kitchen garden and the absolutely necessary fence. 

We are hoping in a couple of years that this garden will supply most of our needs with regards to fruit and vegetables. If you have ever grown a fruit tree you know that even if you buy a tree that is several years old (and that is what you will find at a typical garden center), it will still need several more years to reach maturity and really begin to produce some fruit. The time can also be effected by whether the tree is standard or dwarf but that discussion is for another time. :)

A major concern for us here is the deer. The deer pressure, especially in the winter and very early spring can be quite severe. There was absolutely no way that I was going to allow all my lovely little fruit buds to be gobbled up by hungry deer. The only sure-fire way to protect the trees and everything else for that matter was with a fence. Now deer can jump pretty high. The recommended height of a deer fence is 8 feet. We chose to build ours at 9 feet.

We chose to use cedar posts for the uprights and livestock fencing with 1/2" hardware cloth at the bottom. We do have quite a bit of cedar on our farm but it would have taken a lot of time for Frank to cut and peel all those trees. In the end we bought just enough poles from a neighbour. He cut and peeled them and delivered them to our property. Win-win situation. 

The cedar poles were all 12 feet long (approximately) and most were 6" in diameter. The corner posts and the posts for the gate were 8" in diameter for added strength.

We rented a gas powered post hole digger and poor Frank started to dig holes. I mentioned in my last post that we live in the Canadian Shield. That means rocks. I have come to believe that you cannot dig a hole the size of a nickle on this land without hitting a rock. Some rocks were small and easily removed and some were huge and several times we had to move along and re-site the post hole. As Frank dug the holes, we shovelled a bit of gravel into the bottom and I hefted up the poles and dropped them into the holes. We then leveled up the posts and backfilled the holes with screening and packed it well down into the holes. This task took a full week on non stop work. I remember one day we worked in the rain the entire day setting in the posts. Dismal work, I tell you.

The next step was to stretch the fencing. We used heavy duty staples to attach the fence to a corner post and then we wove a piece of rebar through the fence and attached it to a cable on the truck and gently pulled. I got to be pretty good and just feathering the gas enough to pull it taut without distorting the wire fence. For the top portion, Frank rigged up a wooden bracing structure on the back of the truck so we could pull the top portion. When that was finished, we attached 1/2" hardware cloth all around the bottom of the fence, just setting it in the ground slightly. This will keep out the wee beasties. We will still need to lay some fencing flat on the ground on the outside of the fence and cover that over with stone but that will be done this summer. At the time, we were mostly concerned with keeping out the deer.

When the fence was done we began to plant fruit trees. We planted 20 trees in total. All the usual suspects: apples, pear, plum, cherry, peach, nectarine and apricot.

Now, we are in zone 4b here and it was a risk with the peach, nectarine and the sweet cherry. They actually did OK for the first three years but we lost three trees last winter when the temperatures were brutally cold. We will actually replant this year but choose different cultivars.

So that was most of the work for 2011. In addition to the garden, we finalized the design of the house and sent out the design to have the drawings done. More on that next time.

Oh, here is a shot of the garden from my living room window. We are very much in the deep of winter here but you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting. Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment