Hillbilly Farmgirl is no ordinary farm girl. Hillbilly Farmgirl can read. Lately she's read dozens of books in preparation for our latest West Virginia DIY project: a vegetable garden. She's developed a robust to-do list: soil testing, seed ordering, buying tools, row design. The list goes on. It's not until task 15 that we have actual crop yields and somewhere in there, written in the margin as an afterthought, is the action item "build eight foot garden fence."
Eight foot? That's huge. She says it's necessary to keep out the deer. I don't know what books she's been reading but I've never seen a deer with a pole vault. But books trump what I say so we're building an eight foot garden fence.
I learned something. Building a big fence around a quarter-acre garden is no small project. Steep slope. Many, many rocks. The local frost line is 24-inches meaning we need to get the posts two feet underground to prevent them from shifting as the ground freezes. I was going to stick the posts that deep anyway so they didn't tip over but I thought mentioning the frost thing would make me sound smart.
To select the proper post length I applied the following equation: 8 foot deer leap + 2 foot frost depth = 10 foot post. I think 4 by 4s sound about right. Pressure treated buggers. And for good measure I'll dump some concrete in the holes to make sure nothing moves.
Installing the posts got complicated. In about half of the cases we found bedrock between 12 and 24 inches below ground which prevented us from getting the posts to an adequate depth. In cases where we could not dig deep enough we decided to put the posts directly on the bedrock and anchor them with ½-inch rebar into the concrete. For this I got you use my Hilti hammer-drill which performed very well.
Posts alone don't make a fence. You need stuff between the posts to keep out the super-deer. I selected barbed-wire (15.5 gauge, 4 point). I picked barbed-wire because of price ($43 per 1340 foot spool), not because I enjoy barbing myself in the neck, gut and groin, because that's what happened as we ran more than a quarter mile of the stuff. We also added chicken-wire at the bottom of the fence to keep out small critters like rabbits and chipmunks. I suggested we bury the chicken-wire twelve feet underground in case we've got deep tunneling rabbits. She didn't think that was funny and almost made me do it.
In the end we have a nice fence. It might be a bit tall. Yes, it's tall. It's tall like the fence in King Kong or Jurassic Park. I asked the Hillbilly if we were trying to keep out deer or Tyrannosaurus Rex. She said, "The Tyrannosaurus Rex is a carnivore. It doesn't eat veggies."
Hillbilly probably read that in a book too.
Other photos below....
We got some free labor from Hillbilly's Aunt Robin and Aunt Sherry. Maine ladies can hoist timber, that's for sure.
Hauling the 4 by 4s to the worksite.
We secured the barbed-wire with open hooks and eye hooks that are probably too small to hold back a hungry animal.
The rebar in the bedrock.
We trimmed the barbs from a hell of a lot of barbed wire to help thread it through the eye-hooks.
That's Hillbilly in her smartsuit.