Happy St. Patrick's Day! One year ago today I spotted a cougar in the woods behind my house. Still so thrilling to remember! You can read that blog post HERE.
The wildlife in Brown County is both a thrill and a frustration. While I love the graceful, gentle, beauty of the deer, I grow aggravated when my gardens are devoured! So, I have been very busy driving posts, hanging gates, and hanging nearly 400' of deer fencing. The early, warm spring days meant things are coming up fast and I needed to replace the fencing I had ripped out a couple years ago when it got mushed down too much to be any good anymore.
Last year I tried the "fish line" fencing which did not work at all! I have also used the Liquid Fence that is effective as long as it doesn't rain. If it rains, forget it. The deer are chomping down my garden goodies before the sun comes out. I tried the coyote urine which worked for about two months (slightly less time than advertised) but I had two big problems with using that. 1. Collecting coyote urine has got to mean animals are suffering terribly. 2. Too expensive to effectively protect all my beds and gardens. The cruelty to animals was ultimately the reason I would never use it again and am very sorry I tried it at all(guess I was desperate but that is no excuse).
I have heard of other methods like a strobe light but not sure I want a strobe flashing all night long when I value the dark of night, the light of the moon, and the subtle wink of the stars. Not to mention an occasional falling star! Besides, I have seen deer in my yard and gardens in the middle of the day so the strobe won't work.
So, I was all ready to build a 4' double fence, one inside another, spaced 3'-4' apart, that is supposed to work. I figured I could use the inner fence for trellising. But when I got to Menards, I found a deer fencing kit with 100' of pretty strong, 7' polypropylene deer fence. NOT deer netting which can tear and would simply not be strong enough. The kit came with some pretty flimsy posts but I paired them up with the heavy duty, steel posts and they worked just fine. The flimsy posts provided the height while the heavy steel posts provided the strength and stability. I zipped tied the posts together. I also bought the 8" long zip ties - the ones in the kits were too short to use.
I got some 10' conduit thinking I could drive those to get even more height but found out why 8' posts are the tallest they make. HA! Try lifting the post hole driver up and off the post after pounding it in, 8'-10' up in the air, tottering up on a ladder!
So...I fenced in three gardens with four of the deer fencing kits augmenting with both 8' and 5 1/2' steel posts. One nifty thing included in the kit was some holographic, sparkling, reflective tape. So I topped the posts with the tape so it blows and sparkles in the wind. Since putting up the fence with the sparkly tape, I am not even seeing deer prints around the gardens or in the yard at all. So I set a couple posts in a couple different, unfenced lily beds to see if that will help keep the deer from devouring my lilies. So far so good!
I already have several rows of greens coming up and cannot wait for the fresh garden goodies! A variety of lettuces, kale, cauliflower, and spinach are already well on their way to the harvest! I am also looking forward to having gardens of flowers to paint again! Keeping my fingers crossed that this new fence does the trick.
UPDATE: May 16, 2016. I am happy to report that the deer fencing is working just great! I think the reflective, sparkling tape is helping tremendously in the unfenced flower beds as well. I am not seeing any evidence of deer in the yard or around the gardens at all. However, just this week, I have noticed a wascally wabbit in the garden and found where he had chewed a hole through the bottom of the fence so I may need to reinforce with wiring along the bottom.
Well, back to painting!