On fencing

Barbarians at the gate

One of my biggest problems in the garden is not simple weeds taking over the beds. Oh no, as that would be easy to remedy. Nope; my biggest problem is the meadow keeps wanting to reclaim the garden.

Gene Logsdon (whose The Contrary Farmer is a great read for anyone considering an agrarian lifestyle or even just a good read) says that good fences make lazy farmers. I think what he means here is that you shouldn’t take for granted that all fences will hold. I fenced in my vegetable garden a few years back to keep the chickens out: I hadn’t minded their raids until almost all of my Brandywine tomatoes had large peck marks in them. It was a huge irony, that I would have to put up a fence to keep domestic creatures out!

Before, on the south side

This polycarbonate fence has done wonders keeping all manner of creatures out of the garden. But it’s done diddly at keeping that nasty rhizomatous grass out, as that grass’ runners creep under the beds and it is within the beds it goes nuts. And it’s nearly impossible to get all the little runners, and each little runner is a new meadow entire, such is its potential for mayhem. You can’t weed-whip a plastic fence, folks. So yeah, replacing the fence with a metal one is on the list of Must Be Dones.

After, on the east side

In the interim, I undo the fence, till, handweed the runners inside and outside the beds, and put the fence back up. One side at a time. Each side is 50′ long. Ugh. Two more to go!

7 responses to “On fencing

  1. Hope you don’t mind me butting in, but… put some vinegar in a spray bottle, walk your fence line and spray it on the weeds. Careful not to get it on your veggies. This will kill your weeds with out all that extra work.

  2. Are those grape plants in the background of your second picture? And on the right side in the first picture? If so, they are looking good. What variety are they?

  3. En garde!
    Oh, no, wait. *That* kind of fencing.
    Why don’t you hold a summer camp-out for farmer wannabes? We’d sleep in the meadow and spend days weeding for you. Feed us a handful of fresh peas or whatever, and we’d happily scamper away, all wishes fulfilled.

  4. Fences were originally for keeping the livestock out of the gardens, or so I read somewhere. I agree with cookiecrumb, I will work for fresh veggies.

  5. The local high school where I live has an organic farm that the students do their agricultural studies with. They have kikuyu growing as pasture for their lowline cows which they breed in all the pathway yards and the paddocks. It is a horrible rhizomatous (sp?) grass which I dislike intensly for the home garden. They manage it by rototilling a band 2 foot wide around the space where they have garden beds, it’s the only way they can manage it. I personally am hoping to remove my lawn on my small suburban block if not entirely then definately substantially.

  6. Phelan, thanks! I have done that method to weed in the cracks of a sidewalk (that, and boiling water). In this instance I would need gallons. Nothing stops the runners. Nothing except a 2′ wide dead zone. That said, this is the year I start making vinegar. Something you might want to look into, too: you start with a mother yeast culture. Rather fascinating stuff!

    Great eye, Jules. I call the farm “Old Vines” because of the vineyard but Tom thinks I am being snobby. Hmfh. They’re Concords and Niagaras. Very prolific buggers too. They’re about 80-90 year old vines. We missed that killing frost that hit others in the county. Is your brother’s stuff okay?

    Good golly CC what a great idea. Trouble is I feel horrible asking people for help, and would give away my entire pea harvest if someone deigned to pluck one weed. You know though this one side didn’t take me long: about 2 hours, which frankly was half the time I thought it’d take.

    Jack, I read that somewhere too. Especially in Appalachia, they would simply mark the ears of their animals, register the mark with the township, and let the animals free-range until needed. And then they fenced their gardens from their critters. I simply always thought I would have rapacious rabbits and deer to keep out: not true. Chickens instead. But maybe I ought to consider doing a veg-for-weeding exchange!

    Hannah, geez, I want to go to high school there. I think that’s still the way to go: a Maginot line as it were around the danged garden. Good luck removing that lawn! Not all grasses are the same thankfully.

  7. I will be mnaking vinegar this fall with all the apples. Do your recall the 250lbs I brought home last time? Well the same people offered up an invite for us to come out and take all we can. I have done a lot of research on vinegar, so apple vineagr here we come! ( this time I can get even more)

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