Getting Ready to Garden! How to Build a Fence and Gate for Your Garden

Primary Tools for putting in the fence postsEnter into these Gates with Thanksgiving 
Our gardens during our years of PCS after PCS, overseas, deployments and lengthy TDYs etc. were small and mostly flowers. After retirement we settled in Michigan and focused on a vegetable garden in addition to the flower beds. We live in deer country – and rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks and more critters that love our garden too.

So we upgraded our garden fence this year! It was a good improvement and allowed us to hope for less damage from those lettuce loving animals.

Our first step was planning over the winter as we took down the previous metal pole and chicken wire fence that had served us well for a number of years but had become a bit worn and porous. We were looking for something easier to maintain and that required little expertise. We decided on treated 4 by 4 X 8 posts so we could staple a 7 foot high deer netting (plastic) to it. No tie wires, no zip ties, etc were going to be needed with the staples and wood combination.

MilAve_Deborah loves to gardenAfter measuring out the garden and how far apart the posts needed to be we came up with an estimate for the number of posts and an accurate number of feet for the netting. The gate entry for us was a new idea as the previous gate was not wide enough. We wanted one for the small garden tractor for spreading fertilizer, pulling in the trailer with bags of material or other chores. So we doubled the gate size by placing two taller posts (4 X 4 X 10) into 22 inch holes that I dug with a post hole digger > thank you for sandy soil. After leveling the posts we poured dry quick setting concrete into the holes and let “mother nature” take over by adding her own moisture. They set pretty quickly in about two days and we had posts to hang our gates from but first we put up the rest of the fence posts.

We put in the corner posts first and hung a plumber line (string) from the corners to have a reasonably straight line. The digging was not hard with our wonderful soil except for two holes with rocks that I had dig out wider with a shovel. By keeping the holes small and tight we could place the posts in about 20 inches deep with no concrete. After placing the soil back in the hole, I tamped it with my foot and then the shovel handle while Deb held the level and made sure we kept them straight.

We slid the chicken wire under the gate board before anchoring screws
Leveling the gate was challengingThe gates were made of 2 X 4 X 8s and we cut them to fit the hole and it worked great with a 96 inch board cut at 40 and 56 inches. We had no waste and no need for more boards. We took some of the old chicken wire fencing and cut it to fit the gate size and then partially drilled the wood screws into make a frame.

The second gate was better because we figured out how avoid a double cut on the wire and slid it under the boards before tightening the screws down. We used the same staples to finish up the gates and then went to hang them with some hefty hinges.   The hardware store had been very helpful and the hinges were great but aligning the gates and keeping them level required several re-tries.  Finally satisfied with the end product I drove the screws into the support posts for the last time and we had a new garden fence done.

The fencing material was easy to work with and we stretched it after stapling it on the first post. We got better taking out the waves created between poles as we went along and the staple gun needed a lot of pressure to get staples into the hard wood. But overall it was a simple operation.

Author MilAve_Col_K with new gateIt took us about a week of on and off effort for the fence and Our Garden is ready to plant!  Our spinach went in the next day and we are getting ready for the rest of the seeds and plants when the freeze concerns are gone which is about May 15th.  For us gardening is therapeutic and as one breast cancer survivor and one currently in treatment for sarcoma the garden is healthy, physically and mentally.  We are really looking forward to all the fresh vegetables and canning and freezing for next winter. 

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byColonel KonThursday, May 02, 2013Military Life:,,,

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