Sunday, June 6, 2010

Garden Remodel - Phase Two

Once we got the chicken coop moved, the next step was to move the garden fence farther out both to the north and south. Moving it south meant taking out a big rabbitbrush outside the fence by the truck gate, and taking down the little fence around the old, failing, asparagus patch outside that end of the garden. There were only about four plants left in there, and if they survive I might move them to a new patch inside. Then again, I might just start all over with new all-male plants next spring instead.

The old chicken wire fencing and wooden fence posts were taken out all the way around, replaced with the heavier wire fencing and t-posts reclaimed when our neighbor put up a board fence along half our shared lotline. We decided to run one long piece of fencing along the lower, eastern garden edge, and get rid of the wire gate down there.

On the north side, moving the fence out meant it no longer would connect to the old arbor there. I want the new garden beds to stretch almost to the new fence and if outside the fence it would block the way to the chicken coop. So the arbor had to go. But I like that old arbor. I didn't want to lose it completely. So I got Aries to move it to the western side of the garden, the side closest to the house. The photo above shows how much extra space we gained by moving the coop, that arbor, and then the fence - the raspberries in the foreground and the walking onions beyond were just inside the old fence, the arbor in between.

We did still want a gate in that section though, so Aries built a new one using an old wooden picket fence section someone gave us a couple of years ago. A bit of scrounging through the scrap pile produced a couple of gate posts; the hardware bin provided a couple of hinges, and a couple of pipe clamps to hold a sliding rod for a latch. Lined inside with chicken wire, a board sweep blocking the very bottom, and a buried wooden threshold, gave us a lovely critter-proof gate.

Ground squirrels, jack rabbits, and cottontail bunnies abound here (only the occasional skunk, vole, or raccoon). All would probably love to feast in my garden. So we dug a trench all the way around the outside of the new fence, and then buried 1" chicken wire fencing 6 inches down with another 8-10" bent out into an "L" at the bottom of the trench. Animals trying to dig under a fence will dig down right next to it, but they almost never start their digging a foot away from the fence. This left about 18" of chicken wire above ground around the bottom of the fence - enough to keep everybody that doesn't fly out of the garden (and so far, none of the chickens have gone over the new fence either).

Moving the arbor up to the west side closed up the last gap in the new fence. About 15 years ago, I drug that arbor home when an old house to the south of us was torn down (I asked for the arbor - that lot is still empty but for a few piles of metal and wood rubbish, a couple of ratty old elm trees, and a beautiful stone retaining wall). That arbor was ancient then. But I liked the way it looked (the lattice on the sides and top isn't the stapled together, pre-built stuff - this thing was completely made from scratch). I got Aries to patch it up and put it up in my garden. This time, the bottoms of the support posts had rotted a bit over the years, so Aries cut them off level and then put the arbor up on cement blocks to make it tall enough to still walk under. Some leveling, and brackets on the bottom to hold onto metal posts driven into the ground to make sure the whole thing won't blow over, and the same treatment to critter-proof the gate. And the Aries spent an entire day scraping and then repainting the whole thing. He's such a sweetheart!


Melynda said...

Very nice, it will be interesting to see the garden in production. It sure is bigger now.

Nancy M. said...

It looks great!

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