10 Apr 2015

A whole lot of fencing going on



We've definitely been spoiled this past week - a bank holiday and good weather. The British climate can sometimes spring us a nice surprise. (Pun intended!)  I've even wondered where I left the sun cream. A glance back over my fortnight would show some sorting of plants, a bit of seed sowing and copious amounts of time cobbling together fence barriers around the food garden.

Each raised bed was previously protected with 2ft high netting; even so, I spent a good hour cleaning the empty beds of animal poo (again). Whatever these creatures are, they've managed to get through the defences and leave evidence of their visits. Foxes are allegedly partial to eating worms so that's another reason to keep animals off the soil. It was time to devise a new system of defence.

Using a metal spike to make holes deep into the clay under my soil, I've bashed 6ft canes into the ground around the perimeter of the food garden and tied 3ft high netting or wire mesh to these. Including the height of the surrounding low wall, that will present a 4ft barrier to jump. Hopefully they won't bother, unless we have particularly athletic cats and foxes around our part of town. All that remains is to find a way of letting gardeners get easy access and I'll be ready for a trial run. Then I can start planting.

It will be with some trepidation that I remove the netting from around each bed but, on the plus side, the beds will be much more accessible for weeding and for small fingers to explore and plant. A few of the kids here are keen to help with the garden and even to have a patch of their own. Answering one of their questions during the week, I explained that the people who help in the garden get to share the produce. One of the children immediately volunteered to help with growing strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Funny that. Volunteers for carrots and potatoes were thinner on the ground.  Ho ho, little do they know!

I've used whatever materials I had (apart from buying another 10 tall canes and a piece of expanding willow for the 'gate') and was gifted a 10 metre roll of coated chicken wire from a gardening neighbour. The veg patch island is 26 metres all around (about 86 feet) - that's quite a budget breaker, so the remaining fencing was recycled from around the beds and the gaps filled with some pond netting that I had.  I noticed that bees can fly easily through the mesh but have to find a way over the netting. As you know, I'm very fond of my bees and hoverflies. The fence is currently about 50:50 mesh and netting so, if the fencing works, I'll invest in more coated mesh in the future. (And the netting can go over my brassicas.)





Meanwhile, let's have a look round the garden in early April. The daffs and cowslips are beginning to fade, the tulips planted Dec 2013 are open again (excellent spend of £5 for 50 supermarket bulbs!) and clumps of muscari, primulas, sweet scented violets and honeywort (Cerinthe) are providing a magnet for passing bees. As is the calabrese blossom left to go to seed. As the blossom is out on the plum trees, with other fruit not far behind, I'm hoping these bees will tarry awhile. Winter is definitely behind us and this is a good start to spring but let's not forget it could all still go pear shaped despite the warm sunshine of the past few days.


There's lots happening elsewhere in the garden but that will have to be for another post as the sun is shining, the fencing is finished and it's my day off so proper spade and fork gardening beckons!


Looking at fencing is a tad dull.  Have a bee on calabrese flowers instead.

24 comments:

  1. I always enjoy seeing your photos, it's lovely having children helping with the garden. Their questions & particularly answers always make me laugh. We are planning on fencing off the veg patch to make it Rocky hound proof, as he is a Jack Russell I'm not sure how successful this will be! I do like the sound of your early April description, I'm hoping for a similar effect next year under my edible hedge xx

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    1. Ah, your comment made me smile, Joanne. Thank you. You'll have less problems with Rocky than you would if you kept chickens - my niece had a terrible time trying to keep her chickens off the planted areas in her garden! (Useful for keeping the weeds down though ;) )

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  2. You have been busy. Well done on getting that fencing around the veg patch, animal faeces are not nice in the garden, it's something I have a problem with from time to time. I love the dark red primula, and the violets as well, so delicate. I must have a look at my plum tree next time I'm at the allotment, a couple of people have mentioned blossom now, I'm wondering if mine is in bloom yet. Have a lovely weekend Caro. CJ xx

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    1. The plum blossom was the first out, then the pear blossom came out. Then the winds came at the weekend, CJ! I really want to see some fruit on these trees this year so I hope the wind doesn't blow it all off! Animal poo does seem to be a universal problem - if the foxes don't get your veg, cats or deer will! C xx

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  3. I completely empathise, concerning the animals / netting problem. These days I seldom leave any young plants unprotected, because they would definitely suffer. As the years go by, I acquire more and more defences!

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    1. I'll always remember the butternut squash I grew in a pot - a trial of a small plant called 'Butterbush'. The fruit grew quite well but wasn't so appetising once it had fox teeth marks in the skin! Somehow it doesn't feel right spending more on fencing than plants or seeds but it seems that's the way we have to go to stay organic!

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  4. I have an image of animals absailing down to your fenced off beds, I really hope it works for you. How wonderful that the children want to help you, get them young and hopefully they will make gardeners when they are older. Love all your spring flowers, so many beautiful colours.

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    1. Hahaha! Thanks for making me laugh, Pauline! I noticed yesterday that, although the fences are holding out, there were a few bowl shapes in the soil - I deliberately flattened the soil so I could easily see if any visitors had been. I think this might be birds having a dust bath so abseiling isn't that far off! I better buy some large reels of black cotton! Spring flowers are great, aren't they - such lovely colours to brighten up the garden!

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  5. Lovely images. I regularly think how great it would be just to get on with gardening rather than having to be a construction worker protecting beds and plants. I battled with posts and pea netting this week and need to make more barriers to keep the pigeons off my kale. Still it's gorgeous weather to be working outside.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Pigeon netting is the next thing I have to think about - and support for sweet peas. I have a really cheap arch for my beans but that has to be anchored in - it fell over in the last round of gale force winds! I guess the construction work isn't quite over yet!

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  6. A most enjoyable post and lovely photos. You sure have been making the most of the good weather .
    Happy gardening. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you Flighty! It's certainly no hardship to spend an hour or two outdoors when the sun's shining! I'm almost on top of the weeding! :) Cx

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  7. We sometimes fond holes in the plot where we suspect foxes have been digging for worms It's like being under siege isn't it?

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    1. I totally agree, Sue - foxes are no respecters of nice organic veg and the hours of work that's gone into growing such. You'd think urban foxes would have enough food without raiding the garden - especially the amount of junk food left lying around on the streets here by schoolkids! It's definitely the worms they're digging for here.

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  8. Dealing with pests is such a problem. I think we must spend as much time defending our crops as we do growing them!

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    1. Not to mention the cost, Jessica! I'm already on aphid alert having picked off one or two from my tulips. Still, at least I don't have to fend off pheasants! (And, bizarrely, seldom see any squirrels. Hmm, strange.)

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  9. Lovely photos - your cerinthe is ahead of mine but there is blossom on one of our plum trees... well there was yesterday, today has been cold and windy so things could have changed. Hope the fencing works for you, and your veggies are untroubled by cats and foxes this year.

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    1. As I gardened yesterday, I stood and watched the wind whipping blossom of my pear trees. Luckily the apples and cherries have yet to blossom, much more sensible. Why on earth do fruit trees blossom in April just as the wind and rains come!! #mystery

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  10. we have some lovely sweet violets by us too. This is the first year I've ever smelled them. A gorgeous scent.

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    1. I keep some on my balcony so that I can smell them more easily; the rest are planted in the garden and bulking up nicely although not enough flowers yet for eating.

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  11. We had a problem with foxes on the allotment a few years ago - digging holes and leaving little "gifts" for us - so I can sympathise. I've seen them scale 5ft high boundary fences with ease but hopefully your netting will be a deterrent and they'll go in search of easier places to dig.

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    1. Blimey! - I hope they don't climb up! Fingers crossed the netting is off-puttingly wobbly!

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  12. It is lovely seeing all the flowers in the garden especially the sunlight on those daffodils. I hope your fencing works. We have used CD's and yogurt pots against the pigeons in the past but only with some limited success. We were told that old video tape is a good thing to string across the veg beds as the sound of it blowing in the wind is unpredictable and scares them off. Sarah x

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  13. It seems to be working so fingers crossed! I was a bit concerned when it started swaying in strong winds but I think that's what puts animals off climbing. (Maybe.) I'm not sure where I'd get hold of old video tape now - I ruthlessly gave all my children's videos to charity a while ago (well, my son is now at uni so it was time!!).

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