Half a fence

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As I have reported on previously, I’m doing a vegetable garden for the first time in several years. Everything was in the ground by the end of May, and it’s clear that I’ll be battling weeds all season. This is normal and especially expected this season since it’s the first time the soil has been tilled in a long time.

Like many gardeners, I get to share what I plant with the local wildlife. I wasn’t sure what measures would be necessary to prevent this, though I now the extent to which they consider my tomatoes the basis for a midnight snack. The first photo is Exhibit A.

Mostly eaten tomato plant

While it could have been a deer that did this, I suspect it is more likely a rabbit or the new groundhog that has moved into the backyard after he heard about my garden (I suspect he saw it on Craigslist somehow). A couple of other tomatoes were munched, but neither to this extreme. I’ll be replacing this plant with a new one, a grape tomato, that I picked up this morning.

I was hoping not to do this, but I’ve opted for putting a fence around the garden. Yesterday I bought 150 feet of vinyl coated steel fencing (20 gauge) and some fence posts. Since I already had eight posts in the garage, I just needed six more. Unfortunately, the ones I had were seven feet long and I bought some that were six feet long. Nevertheless, it sort of works. Last night my son and I (great worker, that William) installed the fence around the left side of the garden and temporarily put a section up to completely enclose that section. Tonight or tomorrow night we’ll take down the temporary run and wrap the fencing all the way around the right side.

New fence, partially installed

For a door I will either use a short section of fencing or, more likely, a large wooden screen from the basement. The latter is sturdier and will be easier to move around over the course of the gardening season.

How did I attach the fencing to the posts? I started by using the metal tabs on the posts, banging them in with a hammer. The problem with this is that the tabs rarely line up exactly with the wires in the fencing. I first put up the older posts, all of which had tabs. When I got to put up the interior, new posts I discovered, horror, that they didn’t even have tabs, just metal bumpouts to help keep the fencing in place. This was my second mistake with purchasing these posts, which suggests that making buying decisions quickly during lunch isn’t always smart.

It then occurred to me that a much better way of attaching the fencing would be to use plastic cable ties, the ones that zip up and lock in place. They are cheap and strong, and worked marvelously well. Once William and I started use them, the job sped up considerably.

You can find cable ties in the electrical section of your local home center. Alternatively, you can get them online. I was surprised to find a retail site dedicated to them. There’s a website for everything, evidently.


Finally, the irises are now in bloom here in northwestern New York State. Here are some near the driveway next to the porch I built a couple of years ago.


  1. Plastic cable ties are the best….1,000s of uses. Also, try crushed egg shells to repel slugs (or beer in a cup works wonders); crushed red pepper flakes (from Asian supermarket) work well for keeping deer away.

  2. Yes I put up the plastic barrier fence on my garden, and it worked for two year I was so pleased. But one year I started to see nibbles on my tomato plants, and then the next morning my garden was a total wreck. The bunnies had dug under the fence and where getting into the garden at night… ohh I was ticked. Over all I am pleased with the fence, and it looks like it did you a good job as well.

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