One concern for our vegetable garden was rabbits. We had noticed rabbits merrily romping about, and there were rabbit droppings ALL over the backyard (when the kids wanted to run through the sprinkler on a hot summer day, it was a challenge to find a place where they wouldn’t get their feet covered with wet bunny poop). Therefore, after we chose a site for our vegetable garden, putting up a rabbit fence to claim that land as off limits to bunnies seemed like a critical first step.Planning to have two 4’x16’ garden beds with 2 feet aisles on the long sides, we decided to fence an area of 14’x16’. This meant the rabbit fence would need to be 60 feet in perimeter. We wanted the fence to be at least 2 feet high and to bury at least 6 inches underground, to prevent rabbits from digging holes under the fence. Therefore, we decided that the total above and below ground fencing should be 3 feet tall.
We found the best deal on fence posts and poultry netting at Menard’s.
*3-feet tall steel fence posts (16 at $1.79 each, green)
*2-feet tall 3/4 inch vinyl-coated poultry netting (4 packages at $13.89 per 25 feet, green)
In order to make the fence 3 feet tall (using 2 feet tall poultry netting), we cut some of the netting in half length-wise. This was easy using a cheap wire cutter. Then we had at least 60 feet of 2 foot tall lengths and at least 60 feet of 1 foot tall lengths which could be connected later.
First, we called Digger’s Hotline and awaited the ok to start digging.
Second, we broke ground on the trench where we would bury the underground netting. Thankfully, my husband proved to be quite good with a shovel. We waited for some rainy days and then began our work when we thought the ground would still be slightly soft but not wet. It was hard work. After carving out chunks of earth about 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep, I used a trowel to chisel away at the ground and get it to be the right size for the netting to fit in. We severed a few large roots, hit some rocks, and ripped a wire from the previous property owner’s invisible dog fence.Third, we used a 4 pound sledge hammer to drive the 16 fence posts into the ground. This was not so difficult, but we measured frequently so that there would be 5 equally spaced on each side. The posts had holes in them so that the netting could be fastened at various lengths.
Next, we inserted the 1 foot of poultry netting that would extend underground. It was positioned so that it went straight down about 4 inches and then outward on a 45 degree angle about 4 inches. Another 4 inches of netting above ground was secured to the fence posts with green floral wire. Then we filled the trench with some manure and top soil and planted grass seed on the outside.Finally, we strung the top section of poultry netting around the perimeter and secured it to the fence posts with green floral wire. Since the poultry netting packages were only 25 feet long, netting needed to be joined to other netting to reach around 60 feet. To do this, I used the green floral wire to weave the ends together. A long slow step was connecting the top 2-foot section to the entrenched 1 foot section below all around the perimeter. We had purchased the 2-foot netting height since it was available and a good price, but a 3-foot height of netting from the beginning would have saved all much time. The fence was now 3 feet tall altogether.
In the end, the total cost was just under $100 for the materials and tools. Our vegetable garden officially became an investment.
(To the rabbits: sorry, the carrots will not be available to you, but go ahead and nibble the rose bushes.)